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Celebrity Culture

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Andra Groza

on 25 April 2013

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Transcript of Celebrity Culture

Religion and the decline of magic the beginning of decline 17th century scientific and
philosophical revolution "Magic is dominant when control of the environment in weak."
(Wilson 1945: 95) belief in magic: completely vanished? Shamanism Middle Ages ecstatic and healing powers widely attributed to
sorcerers, witches and wizards belief in magic as explanation of events religious answers as universal truth The reasons behind people's devotion to celebrities grounded and affirming quality fantasy replacement of significant other Vermorel & Vermorel (1985) Vermorel & Vermorel (1990) the celebrity as a guardian angel "In these pictures it’s like he’s looking
at you. And that’s how I imagine it
usually- that he’s there and he’s looking
at me and he can see me and hear me
through the magazine…When I stare at one picture for a long time…he’s come alive and he’s watching me, and he can see and he can move. So I imagine he’s here with me all the time and he’s watching me all the time. So if I do something I’m careful, because Nick Rhodes is watching me.” (138) similar to Christian devotion? para-social attachment validation from celebrities, compensation
for incompleteness Celebrity culture & religion: parallels Reliquaries diminishes the distance between the fans and celebrities "the collection of relics and experiences (...) are necessary as a rubber stamp of authenticity" (Giles 2000: 138) "soap, lipstick tissues, a chewed piece of gum, (...) a cigarette butt" (Tudor 1974: 83) similar to shamanism Christianity Shrines Hard Rock Cafe rock memorabilia celebrity homes preserved as shrines, added price value through celebrity association eg: Heath Ledger's death (2008) common rituals of death and grieving expressions of the 'sacred' in celebrity
worship Pilgrimages visits to Graceland, Elvis
Presley's Tennessee home Christian pilgrimages Jim Morrison's grave one of Paris' most visited
tourist places Celebrity ceremonies:
Ascent & Descent ascent descent "Celebrity culture has developed a variety of ceremonies of ascent and descent to symbolize honorific status and the
loss of it." (Rojek 2001: 75) elevation magic immortality Ascent elevation magic raising the celebrity
above the public the performance of magical acts on screen immortality honorific status outlives physical death Descent & falling "Celebrities take themselves and their fans higher. They are ambassadors of the celestial sphere. But they can also descend to the underworld, and drag their fans down with them." (Rojek 2001: 78) elevation as source of envy honorific status + wealth = downfall as matter of public speculation contribution of celebrities
to their own descent Opposing views Ward (2011) & Duffet (2003) significant problems with the hypothesis of celebrity culture as religion no references to a 'transcendent other' no customary gatherings or "community of celebrity worshipers" (Ward: 5) celebrity culture too trivial to be a religion religious elements only valid at the level of visual representation & solely persisting "as an analogy that articulates theological themes" (Ward: 6) Football as religion Maradona's Church "Our Diego
Who art on Earth
Hallowed by thy left foot
Thy magic come,
Thy goals be remembered." own version of Lord's Prayer: "Our religion is football and, like all religions, it must have a god. We will never forget the miracles he showed on the pitch and the spirit he awoke in us, the fanatics." (Alejandro & Hernan Veron) ceremonies of baptism 'mano del Dios' goal sacred dates their own version of Christmas
(Maradona's birthday) Maradona- embodiment of the Argentinian national character the church has its own 10 commandments Maradona- perfect illustration of the rituals of ascent, descent and redemption ascent descent redemption Michael the Great (1558-1601) canonised in Romanian Orthodox church Conclusion social integrating function of celebrity clear relationship and similarities between celebrity culture and religion celebrity culture as a partial replacement strategy celebrity culture- not a total substitute, but at times as strong as a religion Overview The decline of religion and magic Shamanism Reasons behind people's devotion Parallels between celebrity culture and religion Opposing views Football as religion (case study: Maradona's church) Is celebrity culture a secularized society's response
to the decline of religion and magic? Andra Groza Bibliography Conclusion Gorer (1955): “about a quarter of the population (…) holds a view of the universe which can most properly be designated as magical” (269) the shaman ('religious ecstasy'- Eliade) operates within the spiritual world celebrities-part of the signifying system of popular culture DUFFET, M. 2003. "False Faith or False Comparison? A Critique of the Religious Interpretation of Elvis Fan Culture". Popular Music and Society, 26(4), pp. 513-522.

DURKHEIM, E. 1915. "The Elementary Forms of Religious Life". London: Oxford University Press.

DYER, R. 2004. "Heavenly Bodies: Film Stars and Society". New York: Routledge.

ELIADE, M. 1964. "Shamanism. Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy". London: Princeton University Press.

FRANKLIN, J. 2008. "He was sent from above". [online]. The Guardian. Available from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2008/nov/12/diego-maradona-argentina [Accessed 15 March 2013].

GABLER, N. 1998. "Life: The Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality". USA: Random House, Inc.

GILES, D. 2000. "Illusions of Immortality. A Psychology of Fame and Celebrity". London: Macmillan Press Ltd.

GORER, G. 1955. "Exploring English Character". London: Cresset Press.

LADERMAN, G. 2009. "Sacred Matter: Celebrity Worship, Sexed Ecstasies, The Living Dead, And Other Signs of Religious Life in the United States". New York: The New Press.

McCANN, G. 1988. "Marilyn Monroe: The Body in the Library". London: Rutgers University Press.

ROJEK, C. 2001. "Celebrity". London: Reaktion Books Ltd.

THOMAS, K. 1971. "Religion and the Decline of Magic. Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth-and Seventeenth-Century England". London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Bibliography TUDOR, A. 1974. "Image and Influence: Studies in the Sociology of Film". London: Baylor University Press.

VILLARREAL, C. 2010. "The psychological impact of being in the spotlight: the emotional struggle of celebrities". [online] Dr. Christina Villarreal’s Blog. Available from: http://drchristinavillarreal.com/2010/03/26/the-psychological-impact-of-being-in-the-spotlight-the-emotional-struggle-of-celebrities/ [Accessed 1 April 2013].

WARD, P. 2011. "Gods Behaving Badly: Media, Religion and Celebrity Culture". USA: Baylor University Press.

WILSON, G. & M. 1945. "The Analysis of Social Change". Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

XIFRA, J. 2008. "Soccer, civil religion and public relations: Devotional-promotional communication and Barcelona Football Club". Public Relations Review. 34(2), pp.192-198. whether fandom is a religion or not depends "upon the speaker's authority", being "nothing more than an arbitrary decision" (Duffet: 515) celebrity culture roots in Christianity SUCCESS FAILURE celebrity culture and religion not mutually exclusive celebrity culture and religion not mutually
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