Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Does Celebrity Still Rule?

The 20th century gave us mass media: magazines that featured stories aimed at a national readership; feature films and newsreels distributed coast-to-coast; radio and television networks; the Internet – all of which gave us entertainment and useful information. As a byproduct, the mass media also gave us celebrities. Not just the accomplished people who tend to earn fame, but also the narcissistic self-promoters we're accustomed to seeing, as they parade about trying to create gossip. 

The minting of those early batches of talented and not-so-talented celebrities in the first quarter of the 1900s quickly spawned celebrity-worshipers. I'm told print cartoonists were treated like little kings in Manhattan saloons in the 1920s. (Ah, those were the days.) Anyway, with celebrity-worshipers came baseball cards, movie magazines, fan clubs, celebrity endorsements, etc.  

Since we know lots of people want like hell to be worshiped by legions of groupies the 21st century has given us social media, so wannabe celebrities can beam their make-me-a-celebrity auditions to a potentially unlimited following. Meanwhile, they go on dreaming of being catapulted out of their mundane existence, onto the lofty perch of those who are worshiped. 

That's a whole lot of wannabe-ism. It's a lot of damn worshiping, too. Our sitting president saw both factors and thought he knew a bunch of chumps when he saw it. He was right. Also feeling emboldened by the nasty level of racism he sensed was growing, Trump threw his red MAGA cap into the ring. Then it seemed enough voters didn't want to vote for his opponent to make it possible to elect the celebrity whose star burned brighter.

So far, Trump the Compulsive Tweeter has cashed in on America's addiction to consuming folderol about celebrities better than any other politician. In polls he has seemed to consistently have about a third of voters on his side, no matter what he says or does. In fact, the more loutish he is, the more they seem to like him.

Question: Does his loyal base – the aforementioned chumps – actually agree with him, with all the lying, the cruelty and such?

Answer: Doesn't matter. As the ultimate celebrity, they worship Trump ... so far.

Looking ahead, with 2018 all but done, could celebrity worship have passed its zenith? Have we the people finally seen enough weaselly scamming in the White House to start wising up? Or, in 2020, do the Democrats need to nominate their best celebrity?  

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