running from the glare of lights

Pop culture as a religion of poses, mimicking the empty religion that has normatively been disseminated to the common denominator. The counter empty gesture harking back to the pre-religious paganism, the sense of wonder in the grove at Alba and the hustle and tussle over the Golden Bough. The creative destruction of capitalism, our trade-off with the disconnect and dissolving of the always ambiguous social solidarity, community fibre and other moral pretenses to the dust heap requires some form of imagery to connect the various  fragmented pieces that attempt to glue together that fragile entity known as identity. Celebrities are such a spiritual response to image reproduction; these mass produced, almost generic categorizable faces disseminated for the pleasure of our communal lives. It appears to be the most significant way we understand the world, perhaps the result of  the loneliness and isolation that our particular adopted brand of freedom has engendered.

---This off-season will long be remembered for producing some of the biggest contracts in baseball history. And by "big" we're not just referring to the dollars involved. We're talking about a group of players that might be mistaken for subzero refrigerators. In signing CC Sabathia, Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels and Detroit Tigers have committed $590 million to 825 pounds of ballplayer.--- Read More:

Stephen Marche: To people who knew her, Marlene Dietrich was the living embodiment of a German hausfrau—completely lacking in glamor or even the desire for glamor. Those who saw her only on the screen worshipped her transcendental beauty; she just wanted a quiet cup of tea. Greta Garbo was the first movie star intelligent enough to run away from the cameras, and her flight only increased her celebrity. The basis of our intimacy with celebrity is exactly their retreating when we try to see them. Their very resistance is why we can’t stop looking. “Who are these people really?” is the question that we can’t answer but can’t stop asking. The icon retreats behind the screen. Smoke and mirrors hide the fire and reflection. None of the romantic poets lived “in society”; none were associated with London or New York; they all had to flee either to the Lake District or the Continent. Walt Whitman could stay in the city when he was unknown, writing and self-publishing Leaves of Grass, but by the time he became a true celebrity—and he lived into the era when he actually received the title—he had moved to the country.

---In the largest annual Aztec festival, the feast of Toxcatl, a young man, selected by the king, was given complete freedom for a year. He was treated like a god, decorated in white eagle feathers, and given four beautiful wives, but at the ceremony at year’s end, he himself, of his own will, climbed the steps of the temple and willingly suffered his heart to be cut out of his body. Celebrity implies its own destruction. The bigger the celebrity the more glamorous the destruction.-Marche Image:

… In the twentieth century, aristocracy by image emerged from aristocracy by talent. The invention of film took the magic of brand-name people and gave it world dominance. Film is celebrity, a something-nothing, a cloudy and vague gloss over reality. The earliest audiences were entranced not by the plots of her films but by Greta Garbo’s face, maybe the purest form of ecstasy the modern world has produced. The experience is both plural and singular, the transmission of an image that spreads everywhere but seems directed at each individual viewer. The illusion of mass intimacy changes celebrities into works of art felt so deeply that they are no longer art—Greta Garbo becomes more interesting than any movie in which her face appears.

…The rise of more intense, and briefer, celebrity over the past century is a side effect of the movement from silent film to the camera phone. Andy Warhol’s dictum that everyone in the future will have fifteen minutes of fame was probably overstating the duration. Viral videos have given the briefest, most superficial fame to a boy doing light-saber tricks, a man attempting to knock down the Oasis frontman, a baby laughing maniacally for a couple of minutes.

---Why is it that the modern public revels in a demonstrably false portrait of primitive life? Hollywood grinds out stories of wise and worthy native Americans, African tribesmen, Brazilian rainforest people and Australian Aborigines, not because Hollywood studio executives hired the wrong sort of anthropologist, but because the public pays for them, the same public whose middle-brow contingent reads Jared Diamond. Nonetheless the overwhelming consensus in popular culture holds that primitive peoples enjoy a quality - call it authenticity - that moderns lack, and that by rolling in their muck, some of this authenticity will stick to us.--- Read More: image:

…Within the maelstrom of image, however, certain celebrity types return to the public consciousness again and again. Gwyneth Paltrow is not just Gwyneth. Without Greta Garbo, there is no Grace Kelly; without Grace Kelly, there is no Gwyneth. The power of this particular trope—the blond princess—is huge; Great Garbo was the most charismatic actress in history. Avenue Princess Grace in Monaco is the most expensive stretch of real estate in the world, over twice the per-square-foot value of an average Fifth Avenue apartment. Each manifestation of the Gwyneth/Grace/Garbo figure wears the skin of the previous manifestation. For women, along with the blond princess, we have the blond whore (Mae West, Tallulah Bankhead, Marilyn Monroe, Madonna), the exotic (Sophia Loren, Penélope Cruz), the independent (Katherine Hepburn, Barbara Strei­sand, Ellen Burstyn)…

---“I absolutely loathe hydrangeas,” Madonna said, a little too loudly and in her signature vaguely British accent. Unfortunately, her microphone was still on. The press had a field day, and so did Madonna. She fired back amid the media maelstrom, with a hilarious video in which she apologizes to the hydrangea for offending it. Madonna has always displayed a subversive sense of humor. At the Golden Globes earlier this month, host Ricky Gervais joked that she was “just like a virgin” and smirked, before she presented an award. Taking the stage, she delivered a zinger, telling him that if she is in fact a virgin, he ought to do something about it before calling his masculinity into question: “I haven’t kissed a girl in a few years…on TV,” she said, a reference to her makeout session with Britney Spears at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2003.--- Read More:

…Among men, the tough guy, the consummate gentleman, the upstanding fellow, the outsider, the shlub, the permanent child, the destroyed adolescent, the man who consumes himself to death, have all been constantly reinvented. As in any other form of polytheism, gods appear and disappear, built to fit time and occasion and place. No matter what social change is under way on the playing field of history, the gods above remain; they hover over the changing world without moving. There has always been a James Dean, there will always be a James Dean…. Read More:

Related Posts

This entry was posted in Feature Article, Ideas/Opinion, Marketing/Advertising/Media and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>