quinta-feira, setembro 17, 2009

Cultura de Celebridades nos EUA


The origin of the term fame remounts to the name of the ancient Greek mythological female figure named Pheme, who was a divine personification of the phenomena of public renown for the actions of an individual. Pheme had the power to attribute either honorable notability or generate scandalous depreciative rumors relatively to such actions. Pheme generated the Heroes and Villains of ancient Greek society. How important is fame today in America for the common citizen relatively to what it was in the times of ancient Greece? Why is fame nowadays centralized in the shallow life of media elected celebrities? Is fame nowadays expressed though the Hero/Villain dichotomy? Can a famous individual be characterized consensually throughout the society?
In my opinion, answering this sequence of questions can shed light on the central question - Why does celebrity culture dominate American culture? Production and consumption of culture within the US is higher in the urban centers of the east and west coasts. Consequent to America’s social diversity within cities like NYC or LA, where good and bad are not consensually attributed to characterize many aspects of human behavior, the American idols of today are not flawless human beings, but contain an amalgam of subjectively defined qualities and defects as any other common US citizen. Due to their ethereal curriculum, politians and intellectuals do not fit in this prerequisite of humanity in order to become famous and dominate the firmament of American culture, but celebrities do. A divorced, atheist or adulterer individual would never be elected for any political office. A scholar involved in sexual harassment or drug consumption would promptly be excluded of any American academic system. Celebrities can do all of these things.
During to the times of ancient Greece and all the periods that have globally passed until the contemporary age, only a minority of women and men were treated according to the premises defined in the declaration of rights of man and of the citizen of the French Revolution. The twentieth century is usually characterized as the century of the masses, of the people. In the last century, the access to information and products, that were once the privilege of the few, gradually became the daily life of the many due to globalization, industrialization, scientific and technological advances, associated to the dependence of politics from the seduction and motivation of the masses in the development of both democratic and autocratic regimes. With a sequence of events that ended in the abolition of racial segregation and the implementation of a culture where ethnical, racial and religious diversities are treated as value to society, today everyone is a citizen in the US, every women and men are humans with the same rights. Consequently, the culture of constant gossip and manipulation of the narcissistic egos of public figures, which used to be the essence of social activity in the courts of European monarchies, are now the essence of social activity in a way that is transversal to all social and economical classes in the US. Through the Internet today, anyone can throw any kind of information into the public space without passing through any kind of public or private regulative agent. Contrarily to what used to occur in the days when the State or upper class mass media owners, influenced by the cultural and political elite of their times, had the power to dictate what was turned public or not, today anyone can manipulate the public space. Considering that the American economy is directed according to capitalist standards, where also cultural production, together with many aspects of social activity, is generally motivated to generate profit, mass culture today is highly dependent on the interaction between the incognitos Youtube publishers / consumers and the traditional generators and vehicles of culture, information and entertainment.

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