The end of celebrity?

I believe that we are at the apogee, the zenith, the plateau, the top of the market. After 30 years, this cycle of American celebrity mania has peaked. I think. I hope.

Of course, at the newsstand and on TV, the unprecedented frenzy seems to be proceeding apace. The dozen women appearing on the big women’s magazines in any recent month (Lindsay Lohan, Hilary Duff, Madonna, Keira Knightley, Ashlee Simpson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kate Beckinsale, Natalie Portman, etcetera) will be pretty much the same ones next month, unless Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie deigns to make herself available.

Celebrity Death Watch: Could the country’s insane fame fixation maybe, finally–fingers crossed–be coming to an end? One hopeful sign: Paris Hilton,” by Kurt Andersen, New York Magazine, April 3, 2006

I know that I’m more celebrity-phobic than the rest of the world. I really don’t get excited about seeing Bo Derek or Martin Sheen, and I wouldn’t get out of bed two minutes early to hear about Paul McCartney’s wedding.

I don’t care at all what Charlton Heston has to say about guns or Rosie O’Donnell has to say about gay rights. But at least they’re speaking from some personal knowledge with their issues, so I’m willing to cut them a break.

My own view is this: Celebrities don’t have any particular standing on matters of public policy. If they have a very personal connection to an issue, they can help focus attention on it, but that’s about it. I don’t think their public-policy views should carry any more weight than those of anyone else who isn’t an expert.

“Backstreet Boycott: An Argument For A Celebrity-Free D.C.” by Stuart Rothenberg, Roll Call, June 13, 2002

Contemporary stars are well-paid but impotent puppets.

Tyler Cowen in his study of celebrity, What Price Fame? (Word document)

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