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The Cult of Celebrity.

Emma Costello explores the evolution of celebrity culture throughout history.

Whether it’s Kim K’s rear on your Facebook; Kylie Jenner’s plump lips clogging up your Instagram feed, here or Paris Hilton’s latest “investments” on your Twitter feed – it’s become pretty apparent that we have become obsessed with following the lives of celebrities we love, as well as those we love to hate. When did this obsession start? Is this a recent trend?

The simple answer is no. Think back to the fame of Marilyn Monroe, Betty Page, and even Oscar Wilde and the amount of interest his personal life sparked. We can also look to the lives of John Lennon, Bill Clinton, and even Countess Markievicz; a home grown celebrity. They were real celebrities. They were known for not only the hype their private lives created, but also for their professions and passion. Those really were the days!

Now, to become a celebrity, all you need to do is fill out a form online, and create a dynamic, obnoxious alter ego for yourself. This “fake fame” originated with the introduction of a TV show that changed our nights; Big Brother. The show was created by John de Mol in 1997. The show followed the lives of a group of eccentric nobodies as they were confined to a temporary home and filmed 24/7 – allowing a hungry audience to watch their every move as they tried to perform a series of mostly complicated tasks thought up by the show’s producers.

Now, the TV shows of choice are ones where we watch groups of young adults consume vast amounts of alcohol as they stumble in and out of clubs, stopping along the way for a romantic chat over a kebab. Why do we watch this nonsense? It’s certainly something we can relate to, as we’ve all been there, staggering out of Coppers in the early hours of the morning, looking for garlic and cheese chips. What makes these shows even better? It’s not us it’s happening to! A prime example would be Geordie Shore, a spin-off of the popular American Jersey Shore.

Over the course of a TV show, we grow an attachment to these people, thinking we know them – enter the Kardashians! You cannot talk about reality celebrities without mentioning the Kardashians. Once their show hit our airwaves, we were hooked! Who knew there could be a stranger family than our own? They gave a whole new meaning to the term “dysfunctional”!  We feel better about ourselves watching these shows, mainly because we haven’t got an ugly crying face anywhere near as bad as Kim’s, and I seriously doubt our mother’s would use a “home movie” of ours to better our social reputation.

As well as their TV show, the Kardashians have gathered a hoard of followers on every possible social media outlet you can think of, even having a game released! These ladies have created a global brand of their lives, something many other reality celebrities have tried to follow suite. These celebrities may try, but they won’t match the champions of reality, the Kardashian clan!

We are addicted to the lives of celebrities of all kinds these days, though we hate to admit it. They may have endless talents, such as Donald Glover for his music, acting, and comedy, or they may have no talent at all. Nonetheless, the more bizarre their lives, the more we are interested.

 

-Emma Costello

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