What explains our fascination with celebrity?

Gossip is a social glue, Fuller says.
  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Question: What explains our fascination with celebrity?

Fuller: You know it’s like a real life, ongoing soap opera that you can tune into every single day. I mean the lives of these people are . . . they’re just . . . they’re much . . . They’re more dramatic than anything that you can see pretty much going on in their own life. They’re more . . . They’re richer. They’re more beautiful. They’re more glamorous. They’re having romantic relationships, making . . . making up, breaking up; making new relationships with other rich, glamorous people. They’re . . . They’re just kind of endlessly fascinating and we don’t . . . All of . . . Through all of history, even pre-recorded history of people, of human beings, people have always been interested in the leaders and the rich, glamorous, famous people in their society. So I mean I’m sure back in caveman days, you know cavewomen were gossiping about the leader of the pack and which woman was gonna be his woman. And you know they were fascinated by royalty in their societies. And we don’t have royalty. We’re not . . . I mean you see in Britain still that obsession with the royal family. And I think for most of history it’s been the aristocracy and the royalty of society that are like our Hollywood. But we don’t have that, so we have to have a substitute, and our substitute is Hollywood and celebrities for us to be fascinated about. And also we all share these people. We don’t go . . . I mean our workplaces don’t give us enough people that we all know in common to gossip about. And gossip, I think, is in our genes. So we . . . If we sit down at a dinner party, you know you can’t say, “Well, you know, Joe Schmo from work, can you believe what he did?” You can’t say that to the person sitting next to you. But you can say, “Can you believe that Britney . . . that Britney is even rejecting this latest intervention by her parents? And that she’s got this paparazzi boyfriend who is selling photos of her and yet she’s still going out with him?” I mean you can say that to anybody you can sit down with. You have that in common. It’s like instantly bonding because everybody is gonna have an opinion about it. So they really serve a very useful community purpose. (Chuckles) Recorded On: 1/30/08