Sample Communications Paper on Cult of Personality
In the early years of the 19th century, the public focused more on military heroes, writers, scientists, scholars, prominent political leaders, and leaders who personified ideals virtue and astute role models. For example, George Washington stood tall and achieved fame as a celebrity for the personification of the nation’s worthiness and goodness. Heroes of the early 19th century were representatives of basic traditional institutions such as the church, military, and state. However, towards mid 20th century, the pedestal changed to not to political figures, generals, businesspersons, to baseball players, musicians, movie stars, and football players. This shift, attributed to the fast changing communication revolution between the 19th and 20th century, in addition to the rise in urbanization and migration reflects the deep need of the society to embrace self-definition, fame, and cultural icons. The chronicle towards this transformation is evident as the society and individuals change their preferences to accommodate “celebrity personalities.” The term celebrity has found a new expression in the will to “well known. The rise and growth of “celebrity madness” is a phenomenon that is attributed to the society’s high appetite for consumption and not a producer (Rosen 45).
The term and rise of the celebrity culture are attributed to the explosion of capitalistic commodity tendency and the revolution of the mass media. It dates back to the nineteenth century, especially during the 1910s. It became a birth of a new lifestyle in which influential members of the society suddenly sprung to fame and the status of idols. Ebert (9) maintains that celebrities are worshiped, adored, followed by scores of fans, and to cap it all, they set the trend of what people consume, watch, eat, partake in, and practice. There is no other way to put it, as the new way of life of the 21st century, the celebrity culture has taken everyone by storm, in which children, the youth, adults, and even older members of the society subscribe to its values and trends (Ebert 12). According to Daniel Boorstin, celebrities become famous simply because they are famous. According to psychologists, aligning and adoring a specific star makes an individual feel good, as it is the trend, which everyone is consuming (Epstein 45). They cover the local dailies, the news headlines, mainstream media, and more so the social media.
Rosen (7) maintains that celebrities become packed products meant for a given sector of the society. Due to the capitalistic nature of the community, industry players align their products with particular celebrity person to influence the culture in buying into the product. They have become ambassadors for universal products sold globally and in essence, control what the society consume and partake in ranging from food, drinks, motors, fashion, and news. Analysis by psychologists reveals that the rise of celebrity culture is prompted by the need to conform to a given lifestyle of consumption and living.
From an anthropological point of view, individuals often feel obliged to take on the rise in celebrity culture not as what we think it is, but what the players make it be by aligning it to a given part of the society. Epstein (15) argues that the growing need to have someone to look up to exposes society members to the need to identify with a particular person who is a public figure and is admired and revered. In most cases, these celebrity individuals such as movie stars, musicians, and social superstars serve just that; the much-needed euphoria to identify with a standard figure. People need different models of self-expression, a new version of personality, and an icon who is talented, funny, tragic, charming, and apparently, out there amongst the most revered members of the society lies a media personality groomed and prepared to satisfy just that. For example, the rise most baseball and Spanish football players such as Christiano Ronaldo are attributed to the need for football promoters and sponsors to market their products and companies. When D’Marie’s posted Malik and Hadid’s relationship, their earning and post generated over 1446 percent increase from previous postings. According to Epstein (23), companies such as Nike, Emirates Air, Barclays, and Sportpesa have invested large sums of money on celebrities catapulting their social status to very high levels. For example, David Beckham has his line of branded products such as Pepsi, Toys, Dolls, and skin care products.
Critics and analysts argue that the need to build a celebrity status may not be in need of companionship, but for making on a particular level of status that defines an individual’s lifestyle. On the other hand, it aims at improving on one’s individuality and uniqueness.
According to psychologists, the social status tag and celebrity lifestyle helps one improve their social standing instead of developing the individual behind the need. Egocentric platforms such as YouTube and reality TV shows (such as Big Brother) has built the notion in people that achieving celebrity status is the only way to wealth and elevated social standing. Many have therefore been led to rely on the institutional character with lots of emotional atmospheres that earns less but only admired from a virtual sea of people.
Ebert, Roger. “Death to the Film Critics! Hail the CelebCult!” The Contemporary Reader. Ed. Gary J Goshgarian. 10th edition. Longman, 2011. Print.
Epstein, Joseph. “The Culture of Celebrity.” The Contemporary Reader. Ed. Gary J Goshgarian. 10th edition. Longman, 2011. Print.
Rosen, Christine. “Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism.” The Contemporary Reader. Ed. Gary J Goshgarian. 10th edition. Longman, 2011. Print.