ENC 1101 March 24, 2013 Celebrities’ dysfunctions and transgressions In this age of the scandalisation of public life the media suffers from an overload of films stars, sport personalities, that is, celebrities, caught in socially unacceptable situations. Celebrity and scandal are closely linked, where scandal often enhances the celebrity quotient of the star (Nayard 2009: 112).
In other words, even negatives disclosure and representation of their marriages (practically most film stars), their pedophilia (Roman Polanski), breaking the law (Lindsey Lohan, Paris Hilton, Charlie Sheen), are all important part of the celebrity culture that fans and spectator so love to hear about. The privilege of fame may act as a license to transgress meaning the can get away with a lot, resulting in greater tolerance for celebrity wrongdoing.
However, paradoxically, it is also clear that, as an in? uential elite, celebrities are expected to conduct themselves with propriety, meaning that their behavior is closely scrutinized (Gieles). Most individuals love a scandal, barring the people caught in one, of course. The rest of society most often absolutely cannot get enough. Fans are mostly interested in the good and the bad actions of a celebrity. In the others, there are spectators that are only interested in the scandals about the celebrities.
Whether one admit it or not, few things make a person feel better about them quite as intensely as seeing the people that society places on the highest of pedestals get knocked off of them in spectacular fashion. Celebrities’ dysfunctions and transgressions attract high audience interest not only from the celebrity fans , but other spectators. Celebrities scandals appeals to individuals. As a result, they show that celebrities’ larger-then-life figures are idolized by fans and envied by others, enhances that celebrities are ordinary individuals, and sparks curiosity and interest.
First, audiences are highly interested in scandal. The fans are very interested in the stars career and personal life either good or bad. Individuals, whom are not fans of a specific celebrity, are more likely to pay attention to this celebrity when they are spotted on the headline of the tabloids for doing something wrong. Both fans and other individuals pay close attention to those scandals which give these scandals a larger audience. Individuals obtain a certain amount of pleasure from hearing scandals about celebrities.
Elizabeth Bird suggests that a scandal story evokes a pleasure derived from both fascination and revulsion for the social mess that scandals symptomatize (Bird 2003:45). Sensational headline build on ones fears, anxieties and desires. Indeed scandals appeal because they deal with the moral values, fears of the people as a whole (Bird 2003:32). Social values and norms are violated by scandals, and thus is what interests fans, that individuals are able to break social norms. Fans anxieties about broken marriages or families of being failures’, even their own desire for wealth or fame, fuel their reading of scandals.
In the case of scandals, it’s not simply media production. It is the sustained interest of the fans that generates. To continue, while some fans idealized a celebrity there are others who envy them. Joseph Burgo, a psychologist and author of “Why I Do That” argues that idealization and envy; are two powerful psychological forces that always go together. Fans often want to believe that some privileged people have perfect lives, full of satisfactions, without the everyday pain and frustration that they face in their own lives. In a way, fans take displaced pleasure in a celebrity glamorous existence.
On the other hand, there are individuals that secretly hope that if those people manage to have a perfect life; it is always possible that they could eventually have one, too. However, fans and other spectators often grow increasingly envious of that perfect life they do not have. Envy is a very negative force and one feel envious at one point or another. Because certain fans often envy celebrities with perfect lives, they take pleasure in reading and gossiping about their downfall. Individuals who are not fans of the celebrity often take the most pleasure on watching their downfall.
When an individual want something that they cannot have, they often times tend to devalue it, make it undesirable so it is no longer envy. In addition, although mass media often represents a celebrity as perfect individuals, their transgression and dysfunction shows fans that they are ordinary individuals (Lieves). They are fantasy objects, perfection that ordinary individual can not hope to attained, and ‘hold out the lure of fully –achieved selfhood to those who yearn for such an impossible fullness and perfection (Gilbert 2004:91).
This argument helps one better understanding the interest in celebrity dysfunctions or transgressions. Celebrities’ scandals, misbehaviors or faults show that they are not all perfect individuals. Messy marriages, financial bungling, substance abuse and mistakes humanize celebrities, bring them down to earth. Those transgressions help one identify with the celebrity. Individuals often identified with imperfect individuals. Their misbehaviors helps fans sees that they are ordinary individuals with everyday life problems just like them.
Although, it is easy to see a celebrity culture as actively encouraging, constructing the cult of perfection and success by producing beautiful models, successful film stars, singers and sportsmen. Scandals about celebrities are highlighted, reported as a means of debunking the myth of human perfection. Furthermore, audiences always look for stories that spark their curiosity and interest. According to Tyler Cowen, all forms of sorts of behaviors both good and bad are used to attract fans.
Right or wrong are blurred and subsumed into the general category of a publicity folder (Cowen 2000: 17). Society often tends to want to hear about someone getting a divorce, getting arrested instead of stories about someone donating money to a charity or saving someone life; stories like that do not make the front page of the tabloids at the grocery stores. Fans might pay attention to the stories about a celebrity donating or saving someone life, but might not spark the interest of individuals whom are not fans of the particular celebrity.
Seeing a tabloids headlining “Chris Brown abusing Rihanna and Rihanna getting back together with Chris brown” can definitely spark curiosity and interest. Hence, this headline can attract attention from a variety of different audiences whom shares different views and belief on the subject. These headlines fans of Chris Brown, fans of Rihanna and also the interest of those who are not fans of neither celebrities. Of course, these headlines will have hundred bloggers writing tortured messages about how concerned they are for Rihanna and the message she is sending to her leagues of fans.
Stories about celebrities’ life and mistakes are all very entertaining. For example Lindsay Lohan’s drug addictions, Kim Kardashian’s reason for being famous, and Charlie Sheen crazy personality. Stories about these celebrities’ scandalous lives are engaging, stimulating and attract countless numbers of audiences. In conclusion, scandals about celebrities attract high audience interest because fans of the celebrity are not the only paying close attention to these scandals. People pay more attention to celebrities when they do something bad without even ealizing that they are doing so. While people are trying to raise a major point about how a celebrity action is immoral, incorrect, offensive, or corrupting, the rest of society are just giving it attention, increasing how well-known it is, and arousing people’s natural curiosity as to why it is so offensive. Certain fans idealize a celebrity, but there are those individuals whom take pleasure in judging them by especially harsh and oversimplified standard (Cowen 2000, 70).
Citation Page Pramod, Nayard. Seeing Stars: Spectacle, Society and celebrity culture: SAGE, 2009. Print Bird, Elizabeth. The audience in Everyday Life: Living in a media World. Routledge, 2003. Print Cowen, Tyler. What Price Fame? Harvard 1999. Print Gilbert J. Small Faces: The Tyranny of Celebrity in Post-Oedipal Culture. Mediactive 2004. Print Gies, Lieve. “Stars Behaving Badly. ” Feminist Media Studies 11. 3 (2011): 347-361. Communication ; Mass Media Complete. Web. 24 Mar. 2013.