What’s the Latest Development?
Nobody should fault you for ruminating on celebrity news. Evolutionary psychologists say our attraction toward successful people is a subconscious strategy for passing on our genes. But there was a time, says Simon Doonan, when accomplished celebrities held our attention. Perhaps you’ve read somewhere that Marilyn Monroe married Arthur Miller? Unless it’s all a clever ruse, we associate many celebrities of our day with an inability to demonstrate even a mediocre level of intelligence or a modicum of moral sensibility. The central figures of our pop culture are ‘audacious women with impressive racks’.
What’s the Big Idea?
Why have we shunned the likes of Rudolph Nureyev, Mahalia Jackson and Bertrand Russell? Blame it on our soft society, says Doonan, where everyone is special and nobody is a loser. “We are fearful of accomplished people because they can do stuff that we cannot do, and giving them the spotlight would un-level the playing field. We are, as a result, much more comfortable with the famous-for-nothing paradigm, because then, we, the great unexceptional masses, still have shot at celebrity.” Are we just engaging in celebrity bashing, which is its own form of devotion, or can we earnestly demand more enlightened cultural figures?
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