A few years ago, Piers Morgan suggested that celebrity-driven journalism was no longer the way to sell newspapers. Three years ago, a survey found that 60 per cent of adults were bored with celebrity and yet Neilson TV ratings and book sales suggest otherwise. Why is it that we are so fascinated with celebrities?
We all love a good rag-to-riches story, we all love hearing about the guy or gal who come from so and so with little cash flow, but dreamed big and persisted enough to make it happen. Make no mistake about it, celebrities are the mythical figures of the modern time, and that they are human makes them all the more appealing and identifiable. As such, it’s only natural for us to find inspiration in them.
We love hearing about college drop-outs who felt whatever line of business they were set up for wasn’t their true calling, and they laid it all down on the line to pursue something even bigger. And obviously we love hearing this stuff, because a majority of us are rather dissatisfied with our own careers and we look elsewhere for that inspiration or change.
It is a common philosophical principle that we find it easier to project or attribute our own values to an outside model or person and follow through with finding out and modeling that person or entity. We may not be completely happy with our own lives, but we can feel a certain sense of well-being by being associated with the brands that they endorse or the kind of lifestyle choices that they make.
Many A-List celebrities endorse charitable causes because it’s fashionable to be an activist, but we may not have the time, money or desire to do so. Given this, we will always admire those who perpetrate the change that we wish for in this world.
Celebrities are fun. We love to watch them. That’s why they’re celebrities in the first place. We like to forget our own troubles and we like to project it outside, and in so doing, we attribute these feelings of good times and fun to the people involved with making these activities, and this also leads to the above-mentioned inspiration, good or bad.
“I believed in you and you let me down.” No one likes knowing that those on the top of the ladder can be just as imperfect as those on the bottom, and the more cynical of us will take pleasure in that fact. Nothing generates headlines faster than a fallen celebrity. It’s that fascination with what it’s like to be up there on the edge that interests so many people, considering that many believe that such folks have reached a certain peak of human achievement, even if you were to point out that no such ladder exists in the first place.
Dating-gurus point out these days, that women love Brad Pitt, not primarily for his looks but for the characters he plays on-screen. I am not, though, saying that these celebrities are void of talent; their talent is a big part of who they are; their ability to make us laugh or cry isn’t something that can only be attributed to their created personas, but their real personas. It had to have come from somewhere after all. That’s why it’s often suggested that people emulate these characteristics and talents. Jack Black may not top the most handsome men’s list, but he is often voted as ‘ideal long-term partner’ material.
80% the big decisions we make in our lives are driven by emotion. Only 20% are rational. We often make a decision with our heart and then try to justify it with our heads. The fact that celebrities make us laugh, cry, scream and shout associates them with many of the same emotions that decide our big decisions in life. Who you want to marry, where you want to go on holiday, what car you want to drive, where you want to work, who you want to sleep with. Consciously or sub-consciously, this mutual association is often at the root of our fascination with celebrity.
Why do YOU think celebrities play such a big part in our lives?