Sacred Matters: celebrity

Celebrity worship is something that is so embedded in our culture, that I think we’ve become so desensitized to it, we engage in it without realizing it. Surely celebrity worship isn’t a new cultural phenomenon. I imagine there was some celebrity worship of Moses, before and after his death. And what about ancient emperor cults? Institutionalized (even legally mandated) celebrity worship.

But there’s a new way that this ancient behavior has functioned in the modern world. Before, legends were passed, monuments and statues were erected and the mythos of the celebrity was more ethereal, intangible and perhaps even more epic. But now, in the modern world, it’s more personal. And for the modern mind, personal is what counts. The introduction of radio, film, television, podcasts and other technological advances have brought the celebrities we wish to worship into our presence in a more personal way. People now speak of having connections with the famous people they adore. They feel that they can relate to this person or that person. They also feel more entitled to judge them as well.

And our modern celebrity worship is also more sneaky. I can enter into the online fan-page-temple of my favorite pop-culture icon in the privacy of my own home. And only my internet browser’s history is the wiser. I can lie to you about my idols, and so I can lie to myself too.

*as part of an assignment/educational experiment, I am blogging my way through the required reading for one of my courses this quarter. If you wish to read all the posts that I write for this class click on the label TC 500, below. I will also be tweeting some thoughts as well. Check them out at @nickybarger, they’re labeled with #tc500

**I failed to mention this previously, the book I am currently blogging in response to is Sacred Matters by Gary Laderman

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