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Celebrity obsession Essay

Celebrity obsession syndrome is a serious concern for the society in modern times. In this paper we will describe celebrity syndrome is not good thing for individuals and as a whole for the society. Media plays a big role in our everyday lives. There are televisions [as well as magazines, movies, ads, billboards, newspapers. etc.] everywhere and media regulates every action of the public through the use of these. The idea at play is that media enters our everyday lives of to the degrees of defying who we are, what we do, how we do it, who are heroes and role models are, etc. The focus of media shapes our routines and it regulates individuals’ thoughts and opinions. (Maltby 1157-72)People that are celebrity obsessions are overly involved with an individual in the media. This study examined the relationship between individuals’ cognitive flexibility and their tendency to obsession celebrities. There appears to be a growing interest in celebrities in terms of fans and media coverage.

There is also growing evidence to suggest that celebrity obsession may be of interest to social scientists. Recent research suggests that it occurs more in adolescents or young adults than older persons; celebrity obsessions are more likely to value a “game-laying” love style, and celebrity obsession is negatively associated with some aspects of religiosity. (Larson 535-50) Celebrity obsessions report lower psychological well-being than non-obsessions, particularly problems with social dysfunction, depression, and anxiety. However, celebrity obsession is at best only very weakly associated with shyness and loneliness. (Martin 58-67)So now Michael Jackson is a social scientist. Here we see demonstrated one of the most baffling of American cultural mysteries. Someone strokes 30 home runs or makes a movie that earns the ultra-bucks, or, in Jackson’s case, achieves legendary status as a high-tech troubadour, and that person naturally assumes he is a philosopher king.

Fans quickly toot the cornets. Long live fame! Long live celebrity! No one respects artists or writers or teachers or the clergy any more. (Fujii 110-16) They are relics from another era–linear holdouts in a digital time. It is difficult to see exactly what has been accomplished. If Jackson was sincere about his desire to relieve group tensions in the United States, and if he thinks the original lyrics somehow succeeded in doing that–well, the singer should have stood his ground. By backtracking, Jackson seems to be either acknowledging an ugly racist streak or confessing that he is an amateur. In statements, Jackson gives the impression he views himself as neither bad guy nor boob. Mainly, he seems like a fellow who wants to get off the hook and get on with business. (Stever 68-76)The problem is we just can’t leave it at that.

Americans have this thing about adoration. We insist upon making stars part of the family. We want them to speak to us directly and, by all means, have something important to say. Elevating celebrities to such heights, we leave them giddy and inclined to boldness. Next thing you know, they say stupid things and we act betrayed. (Huffman 1-9) Maybe Michael Jackson has learned a lesson. Listening to the wrong voices has become a national pastime. Otherwise we would not have cared what Michael thinks about Jews, blacks, whites or anything else. Nor would we pay heed to Barbra Streisand on politics or Charles Barkley on the subject of role models. Jane Fonda’s only sin during the Vietnam War was sounding like a schoolgirl when she inveighed against the war. Sure, celebrities occasionally are politically astute. (Martin 531-40)Michael Jackson? Since being a child star, Jackson has devoted himself to the accumulation of great wealth. He lives in a mansion removed from the world. He may be a nice man, or he may not. Such people are available, of course.

The poet Maya Angelou, say, or the novelist John Updike, or the educator and priest Theodore Hesburgh of Notre Dame University, or the violinist Itzhak Perlman, or the painter Jacob Lawrence, who chronicled the movement of black Americans from south to north in the 1940s. (Jason 4-6) There was a comedian by the name of Lenny Bruce who made a significant contribution, albeit in impolite fashion. In one of his most provocative bits, Bruce, now deceased, repeated the word “nigger” over and over. By the time he finished, Bruce had disarmed that hideous term, atomized it, left it dead and deflated, useless. If someone had ordered Lenny Bruce to recant, he would have told them to get lost–or worse. (Maltby 444-52)Substance is missing from public discourse these days that is the problem. Around the same time as the Jackson flap, another well-publicized episode occurred in the upscale suburban town of Greenwich, Conn. Five high-school seniors were banned from graduation because they wrote an encrypted message in the yearbook that said: “Kill all niggers.” The prank plunged the community into a spasm of self-examination.

How could something so uncouth happen in a decent place like Greenwich? Where did things go wrong? Let’s take a guess. Decent places like Greenwich get in trouble the way all of America does–by mistaking success for substance and allowing nonsense to masquerade as truth. The triumph of trivia is nigh upon us. (Martin 1-9)So what is gained by sending Michael Jackson back to the studio or reprinting the Greenwich yearbook–which in fact is what the school has done? Enlightenment rarely comes so easily. Maybe Jackson intended to make a useful statement with his song but lacked the sophistication. Remember, this is a guy who once started a fuss by energetically grabbing his crotch in a music video, the Greenwich seniors? Let’s say they were playing for cheap laughs in a mostly white community and got snagged by their own absurdity. The kids could use counselling and a summer without movies or television–and, like Michael Jackson, a lengthy introduction to the work of Lenny Bruce. (Levy 69-80)This is evident in all the shows, television networks and magazines dedicated to the lives of celebrities.

Television shows like “A&E Biography”, “Behind the Music”, “Entertainment Tonight”, and networks like the all-the-stars, all-the-time E! Network, and People Magazine – all dedicated to giving celebrity news, Michael Jackson for example Jackson is both a beneficiary and a victim of the celebrity culture that now profits from his latest scandal. But what about the celebrities themselves? Does the money, fame, and power go to there heads? One example of fame going to there heads was reported in the British tabloid the London Sun that Avril demanded ten different types of orange juice and water stored at different temperatures for her appearance on Australian TV. She also asked for “a fruit tray with cheese (not just oranges and bananas . . . be creative please).” Hey, at least she said please. (Maltby 14-19)When people become popular there whole outlook on life changes, most go along with it, enjoying all the attention they get from media and fans.

Others enjoy it so much they become narcissistic; having an excessive love or admiration of oneself. Celebrities have power and we want it so the constant source of admiration, adoration, approval, awe, etc. boasts their ego. Given the situation of power, money, and fame, they begin having grandiose fantasies and start seeking opportunities to become even more famous. (Maltby 441-52)”There are clearly people who are only doing it to be famous,” says Director Adam Goldberg in an interview with the Globe and Mail. “That’s painfully obvious and that’s a large percentage of people in movies. I just don’t believe the people who say they’re doing it for ‘the work.’ Why wouldn’t you do stage if that were the case?” actress Christina Ricci asks in the same interview. “I’ve met people when they were just starting to become famous and they were pretty normal,” Ricci adds. “A few years later, they were a shell of themselves — completely paranoid.

They’re always looking around asking, ‘Is that person looking at me?’ “(McCutcheon 67-87)When they are in periods of lack of attention, publicity, or exposure they start feeling empty, neglected, etc. And soon does whatever is necessary to regain the lost publicity; the more they fail to get attention, the more daring they become. Its not the attention they like; its the reaction to their fame. People watch them, notice them, talk about them, debate their actions, etc., and therefore in their mind’s eye they exist. (Dietz 185-209)When people pay attention to them they try to act flawless, perfect, or they act like the role or the image they put out or portray.

They become too addicted to being obsessed by others that they often fail to see past the world they created for themselves, one in which they can do whatever they want, whenever they want and the people will love them for it. They have to constantly reassure themselves that their not losing their fame because it makes them feel better about themselves. Above all I believe that celebrity obsession can cause more problems for the society either economical or social, celebrity obsession can be resulted in serious consequences such as spoliation of mental health, and a mania that can break your social cycle around your own people. (Raviv 631-50)

Works Cited

Dietz, P. E. Threatening and otherwise inappropriate letters to Hollywood celebrities: 2001, Journal of Forensic Sciences, 36, 185-209.

Fujii, D. E. M. Neuropsychologic implications in erotomania: 1999, Two case studies. Neuropsychiatry, Neuro-psychology and Behavioral Neurology, 12, 110-116.

Huffman, K. Psychology in action: 2003, New York: John Wiley, 1-9.

Jason, G. Critical Thinking: 2001, Developing an effective worldview. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 4-6.

Larson, R. W. Secrets in the bedroom: 2005, Adolescents’ private use of
media. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 24, 535-550.

Levy, M. R. Watching TV news as parasocial interaction: 2006, Journal of Broadcasting, 23, 69-80.

Maltby, J. Thou shalt worship no other gods – unless they are celebrities: 2002, the relationship between celebrity worship and religious orientation. Personality and Individual Differences, 32, 1157-1172.

Maltby, J. (in press). Locating celebrity worship within Eysenck’s personality dimensions: 2005, Journal of Nervous Disease and Mental Disorder, 14-19.

Maltby, J. The self-reported psychological well-being of celebrity worshippers: 2001, North American Journal of Psychology, 3, 441-452.

Martin, M. M. Communication traits: 2006, A cross-generational investigation. Communication Research Reports, 13, 58-67.

Martin, M. M. The Cognitive Flexibility Scale: 2005, Three validity studies. Communication Reports, 11, 1-9.

Martin, M. M. Individuals’ perceptions of their communication behaviors: 2005, A validity study of the relationship between the Communication Flexibility Scale and the Cognitive Flexibility Scale with aggressive communication traits. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 13, 531-540.

Maltby, J. The self-reported psychological well-being of celebrity worshipers: 2005, North American Journal of Psychology, 3, 444-452.

McCutcheon, L. E. Conceptualization and measurement of celebrity worship: 2005, British Journal of Psychology, 93, 67-87.

Raviv, A. Adolescent idolization of pop singers Causes, expressions and
reliance: 2006, Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 25, 631-650.

Stever, G. S. Imaginary social relationships and personality correlates: 2001, the case of Michael Jackson and his fans. Journal of Psychological Type, 21, 68-76.

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