The Conversation

Celebrities, Politicians and The "Me!" Generation

The Los Angeles Times recently did a story on how fans no longer seek celebrities' autographs and instead want photos with the celebrity.

"A photo is proof that I was near the people that, before this, only existed on my TV screen or in the movies," said Miller, who earlier had managed to snag a shot with "Breaking Bad" actor Bryan Cranston. "A photo can show a smile or an outfit to your friends; a signature can't."

The time-honored scrawl that once was the gold standard artifact of a brush with greatness has lost some of its glow in the age of social media. Taking a photo of oneself for Web posting has become so popular that it has added a new word to the lexicon — "selfie."

And a selfie with an A-lister is among the most prized postings of all.

A photo with a famous person, said Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, an associate professor at USC and author of "Starstruck: The Business of Celebrity, "supports the larger belief that we are just like them because we are standing right next to them." [emphasis added]

Indeed, celebrities, whether at a restaurant or on the red carpet, report they are spending far more time posing awkwardly close with fans than scratching off their names. The shift has left some longing for simpler days.

These encounters seem to be more about the non-celebrity than the celebrity, i.e "Look at ME with celebrity X!"  One young woman mentioned in the article has taken thousands of photos with celebrities, which has in turn made her an internet celebrity with over 65,000 followers on Instagram.  Will the democratization of celebrity devalue celebrity endorsements and opinions?   Will the "Me!" generation who wants to be "just like celebrities" be less accepting of the Left's position that politicians are somehow more capable of making decisions for them?  If this generation wants to be on par with celebrities, who's to say politicians are any more special?

Will politicians with celebrity-like followings (Obama, Sarah Palin) be the accepted norm?  If a politician isn't out there posing with fans for photos (or if no one wants a photo), do they have any chance of getting elected?

(H/T Instapundit)


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