Critically discuss the celebrity phenomenon in an era of mass communication, with reference to relevant literature

Essay by JohnShep86 March 2009

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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...