Monday, April 27, 2009

Instant Celebrity

A new type of celebrity has been introduced to us recently. This is known was the "instant celebrity" the person who is suddenly cast into the limelight and is generally famous just for being famous. We can classify several people as being part of this category. If we look at Paris Hilton or Nicole Ritchie and ask what they are actually famous for I think it would be hard to say. Is it because they're such good actresses? Not exactly, what about Lauren Conrad or Spencer Pratt, do these people deserve the attention they get? This also extends to people who are on reality shows and even people who are on game shows. Kids who were on MTV's "The Real World" get paid to make appearances places and to be seen at bars and clubs. These people didn't even do anything. They didn't work hard to produce an album or put on 30 pounds to play someone in a film. They're simply famous for being famous.
People who are on shows like "Survivor" and nearly every single show on VH1 now have a certain celebrity status. These shows such as "Rock of Love" with Bret Michaels or "Flavor of Love" with Flava Flav or "A Shot at Love" with Tila Tequila are all based on the same premise but once these shows had run their course, and even had sequals there were spin offs that were now starring contestants that were on these other shows. We were subjected to "I Love New York" then "A Double Shot At Love". The list goes on.

On a different page from this shameful sort of reality television we have the sort of "working class" reality show. This includes shows like "Ax Men", "Ice Road Truckers" and "Deadliest Catch". Again, these people don't really do anything, they just happen to be living a different type of life than most people and have a camera documenting it. People in turn transform these people into a sort of celebrity. These people would probably get recognized in public, maybe not as often as someone who is on MTV but still they have achieved some sort of celebrity status.

This brings me back to the question of why? Why do we give these people so much of our attention. Why do millions of people pay attention to what is happening in the "lives" of these "normal" people? The concept of instant celebrity is sort of new but if television continues down this same path then this will be much more of this phenomenon to go around.

Reality TV star Jade Goody is very notable because she was one of these nobodies who was catapulted into the spotlight and because famous somewhat overnight. She was on the UK Reality show "Big Brother" and was kicked off but subsequently had her own TV spinoffs and product line, which included fragrances. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer and the whole ordeal leading up to her death was more of less completely publicized.

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