Monday, October 13, 2008

The more, the less sexier?

I recently read somewhere a Brad Pitt interview where he had said that Jesse James was one of the earlier celebrities in America in the times of Mark Twain. Then celebrities used to be few and far between. He was talking in the context of his latest film, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford". He added that, even in those days (at the cusp of the 19th and the 20th centuries), there were tabloids and a lot of sensationalizing and hype. Remember this is "the apex of celebrity" talking (Brangelina, no less). He ought to know. What he was saying in fact is that now that there has been a celebrity population explosion, being a celebrity does not have the same value it used to have in the times of Twain and the James Brothers. It has been considerably devalued like the rupee or the dollar. Remember, though, that in those days, the population of the US of A was a mere 76,094,000, according to the US Census. It quadrupled to 305,397,000 by 2008. Common sense suggests that the demand for celebrities must have gone up too, what with the population of tabloids and fanzines and fan websites having soared up as well. In other words, there being more worshippers, there is a demand for more icons in every conceivable field: movies, theatre, ballet, television, music, sport, fashion, literature, art, science, you name it. This may sound like specious reasoning, come to think of it. Speaking for myself, celebrity antics leave me cold. But then I am in the minority. When I look at the way celebrity gossip is manufactured and lapped up and celebrity is used to sell products, though, even I have to agree that celebrity is here to stay for a long, long time to come.