A Withered System

A major evolution has taken place in what we know as “stars” and “celebrities” and the star system of Hollywood.  In the older, classic Hollywood era, the stars were controlled by the studio.  It was their publicist, their agents, their managers, their doctors, lawyers, and so on.  They were under extensive contracts that just barely cleared the fine line of some enslavement laws.  But mostly, these stars were loved for their mysterious drama on screen and their highly characterized roles, not to mention their privacy.

The massive attention paid to stars and celebrities these days seems to have come about with correlation to the greater freedom they possess today.  They are not owned by the studio anymore, and are free to do and act how they please.  This ability has changed the role of the publicist into less of a promoter and more of a clean up mechanism at times, cleaning up the messes that celebrities make for themselves.  The celebrities are caught up in their fame, and so is the public that is so interested in them.  This is also related back to the term “celebrity,” and how it is now used in place of “star” for many of the famous because what qualifies someone in Hollywood as famous these days differs a lot from the old definition of quality and beauty and genuine actors.  Celebrities now are simply brands.  The one place the star system does still seem to exist, however, would be in Disney.  They are a factory for producing perfectly cut out child stars, and force them to commit to Disney in every way.  This is probably the last example of no-bodies being picked up by a studio, transformed, and released into the public under strict guidelines and terms of use.

Today, many celebrities also believe that it is within their power to enter the political world.  This has created a lot of controversy, because most people do not believe they have anything worth hearing.  It is one thing to have an opinion and support philanthropy, but it is a whole other thing to believe you are of enough knowledge and political standing to deal with the U.N.  This meshing of the political and celebrity worlds has been greatly frowned upon by people today, and even such influential media figures like Oprah have suffered in ratings for supporting things such as Obama and political campaigns.  I would have to agree with this.  Typically, politicians that are discussing major global and domestic issues have studied them and have a background in these topics.  Typically, celebrities whose fame has gone to their heads and think they are important because people write about them in magazines, don’t.  It is completely useless to hear the opinions of celebrities on political issues.  However, if they want to help the world through philanthropy or adoption, or they use their influence on the media to get the younger generations to vote, I fully support them.


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