It fascinates me how recent rock music and the whole pop music phenomena is. There's so much that intersects it's ontological status: technology, politics, morality, civil rights, populism, etc. Chris talked about how it's only recently possible to even achieve the status of celebrity that is available to contemporary celebrities because of technological formats that have recently come into existence: movies, television, the internet and the ability for these formats to actually reach people has only been around so shortly . The fascination with celebrities and their lives that Chris criticizes is understandable and I share many of his sentiments, but I think there might be something human in the fascination. (just because it is human isn't a good argument that it's okay. That would be like saying xenophobia is human and therefore endearing. (My problem with "humanism"?)) But maybe we can uncover something about what it means to be human by looking at these fascinations we have with celebrities, develop some empathy and compassion for the human race. (we can go into nihilism pretty simply by saying well isn't human as well to not be compassionate and understanding and why be moralistic about it? What can you tie the ultimate value of compassion to? What's the point of all this understanding? A short answer might be to read up on evolutionary advantages of cooperation and morality.)
I think it's in Seduction that Baudrillard talks of the fitting name we have given celebrities, Stars and more recently superstars. Read it for his musings. We've always been fascinated by shiny things, bright flickery flames, and the life and death of stars. I think we have been more fascinated by stories and the characters in the stories. We can't help but see our relation to the stories we hear, putting our selves in them, living them out, being told through them, our identity evolving out of them, through them. ( i've been thinking of how the internet tells the story of us. how the internet can create us, facilitate our identities, through blogs and youtubes, forums, how we can post our music online, indulge in the things that relate us to celebrities.) I'm sure we develop a sense of self worth through the fulfillment of roles we play in the types of stories we our told. We focus mostly on the characters in the stories, the role players/models. We don't like to be reminded that there is someone behind things telling the characters what to do, that's too outdated to our sense of self created free will. I've always been attracted to storytellers that tend to interupt this veil between the audience and the story. But it's fun to indulge in a movie, a song, a good book, to get carried away by the medium.
Celebrities are the closest thing to an omnipresent being we can imagine now. The allure of them being everywhere, on the same televisions worldwide is unprecedented. It has it's own outcome. It must have been a challenge of faith to the christians who discovered there were people who never heard of jesus.
My main criticism of Chris' entry is the presumption that the enitity of the contemporary celebrity is not of much value because of it's impermanence, that they won't be remembered because the format of their performance will be obselete. But many stories from the past have become obsolete and the characters have been forgotten because the format of word of mouth storytelling has been lost or the language can't be translated, but that doesn't mean the roles that these characters played had less importance to the audience of their day. If the characters are real or just actors in a story becomes less significant through out time...? maybe the illusion of reality is important to some. Whether Christ was real or a character is important to some Christians and not others, but he's definitely a celebrity. His role and the significance of reinacting it to create a selfworth is what's important to people.
I understand that Chris is not simply attacking celebrities but what famous people do or even what they don't do that is exgeratedly important to people without due credit. I agree. I'm just playing off of him as usual. the straight man in the cosmic joke.
Film stars as a focus point in a meditation of possible roles you can play out in your life(breathless/bogart/belmondo)fulfilling those roles. satisfaction.
I'll return to talk about pop music and roles and stories, ways of existing through, because of music. music/identity, short lived life of pop. technology and music, recorded music, celebrities, the internet.