Critically Discuss The Celebrity Phenomenon In An Era Of Mass Communication, With Reference To Relevant Literature

2366 words - 9 pages

BO8383Word Count 2403Critically discuss the celebrity phenomenon in an era of mass communication, with reference to relevant literatureIn modern times the public have become more and more concerned with the life of the celebrity. Endless newspaper headlines, magazine column inches and television documentaries detail celebrity ‘private’ life in order to fulfil public demand with an insight into the celebrity world. This essay will attempt to discuss the reasons behind the celebrity phenomenon.Derakhshani (2007) states, “We've become junkies - craving more and more news about a growing cadre of celebrities, ranging from accomplished artists to do-nothing heiresses and know-nothing reality-show stars.” The public feel the need to know the bra size of their favourite actress, the ‘kiss and tell’ stories about their favourite footballer, or whether America’s next top model has cellulite.Historically, the need to gaze at people can be traced as far back as Victorian times. The British Library Board state, “Freak shows were a particularly popular form of entertainment during the Victorian period, when people from all classes flocked to gawp at these unusual examples of human life.” In modern times the public are entertained by the celebrity just as Victorians were entertained by the freak shows, the same ‘unusual examples of modern life’ subjects both to the publics gaze.Gervais (2007) states, “The Victorian Freak Show never went away, now its called Big Brother or American Idol, where in the preliminary rounds we wheel out the bewildered to be sniggered at by multi millionaires.”In these reality TV shows, participants are the 21st Century freak show. Burrel (2006) commenting on the Big Brother line up in 2006 states, “The 14 contestants range from a sixth-former from North Wales who wants to "show off my sexy body to millions" to a 37-year-old Glaswegian who describes himself as a "wacky Paki poof without a corner shop" and a Canadian who believes in Native Indian spirituality but admits to being offended by quiet people, nice people….This kind of reality television is no longer real in the way it was initially. Reality is now seen as boring and mundane. In Big Brother what they clearly want are people who are going to indulge in behaviours which cut across taboos. That's why there's a preponderance of lesbians, bisexuals and gay men on the programme.”Big Brother is a ‘reality’ show however it has to be questioned whether the people on Big Brother do actually represent real life. It could be said that the reason the public are watching this kind of programme is that the show doesn’t represent real life at all, it is because it is so far away from real life that makes it so entertaining. The public find it amusing that Jade Goody thinks East Anglia is abroad, and that Rio de Janeiro is a person. The same way they found it amusing to look at the abnormal head...

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