Routledge – 2006 – 314 pages
In this fascinating and topical beginners guide, Ellis Cashmore explores the intriguing issue of celebrity culture: its origins, its meaning and its global influence. Covering such varied perspectives as fame addiction, the ‘celebrification’ of politics and celebrity fatigue, Cashmore analyzes the relationship celebrity has with commodification and the consumer society, and investigates the new media and the quest for self-perfection.
Cashmore takes readers on a quest that visits the Hollywood film industry of the early twentieth century, the film set of Cleopatra in the 1970s, the dressing room of Madonna in the 1980s, the burial of Diana in the 1990s, and the Big Brother house of the early 2000s. Author of Beckham and Tyson, Cashmore collects research, theory, and case studies en route as he explores the intriguing issue of celebrity culture: its origins, its meaning, and its global influence.
Including reviews of existing literature, and an outline of key contemporary topics, this absorbing book skilfully explains why we have become so captivated by the lives and loves of the celebrity and, in so doing, presents the clearest, most comprehensive, wide-ranging, and accessible account of celebrity culture to date.
'There's an insatiable hunger to remain in the public arena resulting in a woman, "grotesquely ill-equipped", releasing music without rhyme or reason.' – Prof Cashmore, on Paris Hilton's recent decision to bring out a CD.
'Fame is the new currency.' – Prof Cashmore, on the fascination with all things celebrity.
'Madonna dissolved the barrier between personal and private life. It became one and the same.' – Prof Cashmore, on how Madonna started the trend of Celebrities in the public eye.
1. Desiring the Good Life: What Parts did the Media and Consumer Society Play in Turning Us in Celebrity Doters? 2. Making New Rules: When did the Paparazzi Appear and How did they Make Private Lives Public? 3. Giving it All: How did Madonna and Diana become Global Icons and Change History? 4. Fabricating Fame: When and Why did Hollywood Build an Image-Building Machine that Conquered All? 5. Worshipping from Afar: What do Fans Think, Feel and Do … and with what Effects on the Objects of their Adoration? 6. Consuming Beauty: How has Celebrity Culture Sparked Body Dissatisfaction and a Boom in Cosmetic Surgery? 7. Commodifying Race: Why Have Black Celebrities become Living Proof of the End of Racism? 8. Thriving on Scandal: How Have Disgrace, Shame and Humiliation Helped Some Celebrities Climb onto the A-List? 9. Buying Sales: Why do Advertisers Assume we will Buy Products Endorsed by People we Suspect Never use those Products? 10. Televising Reality: When Did Ordinary People Become so Fascinating that we will Watch Entire Programs about them Doing Nothing in Particular? 11. Blurring the Line: Why are More and More Celebrities Turning to Politics and Politics Turning to Celebrities? 12. Creating Legends: What Happened to Sport when Athletes Stopped being Praised for their Achievements and Start being Acclaimed for their Images? 13. Answering the Big Question: How Have Scholars Tried to Explain the Seemingly Irresistible Rise of the Celebrity Culture?