Futuristic Fiction: #Research for #Writers, Part 15, Celebrity.

Taken in the centre of Kos Town.

The introduction to this series is here.

This post looks at Celebrity.

What is a celebrity? The SOED defines it thus: A celebrated person; a (popular) public figure.

Everybody from the latest moronic fool in some dreadful ‘reality’ TV show to the most well-known and talented performer in any field comes under the umbrella title of ‘celebrity’.

Do they matter, and, if so, why? The media, in all its various forms, feeds off the popularity or notoriety of celebrities; these people make money for such outlets. They are seen as a valuable commodity, something to be used for profit. They are also grabbed by certain ‘causes’ as a means of gaining publicity for all sorts of aims from increasing literacy to curing cancer.

As to why they matter, that’s mostly a question of influence and even power. We live in a lunatic world where a failed reality show presenter can gain the most important post in the world of politics, where a person can influence millions simply because of a skill at kicking a ball, where an individual can talk with, and influence, the powerful simply because they have been blessed with certain types of physical appearance.

Yes, the whole set-up is superficial and idiotic, but it exists and it causes otherwise sensible people to change their minds, support outlandish cults, and even take up arms in the name of false claims.

There has been a minor blip in the influence of celebrity in some countries due to the Covid pandemic and the idiocy of some of their pronouncements. But you can bet your life that interruption will last no longer than the pandemic itself. Once vaccination and other means have reduced infection and death rates to a level seen as tolerable, the celebrities will be back out there spouting their ill-considered opinions on any topic they think will gain them attention.

So, if you’re including these people in your story set in the future, what might you have to consider? What might change in the years, decades, centuries, millennia into which your story ventures?

Will influence be altered by the internet, even more than currently happens? Will changes in the world’s financial system, caused by the need to reduce inequality to save the environment, make it more difficult for certain types of celebrity to gain power? Will the proliferation of TV and other entertainment channels so fracture and spread audiences that every ‘celebrity’ will be minor except in the circles occupied by their dedicated fans?

Will the world be ruled by more celebrities as heads of state, and what effect will such political selection have on society? Perhaps fame will become more important than intelligence and talent (as it is already is in certain arenas) and resulting advice and decisions will cause mass injury or death to followers (Cults have previously failed due to such activity, after all). Will it become even more ‘fashionable’ for certain types to follow their heroes and make even more stupid choices as a result?

These are some suggestions I make for consideration if you’re including the idea of celebrity in your story. I’m sure you can think of many more. Please feel free to let us know your ideas, using the comment space below the post.

Part 1, Introduction and Accommodation. Part 2, Activism. Part 3, Advertising. Part 4, Agriculture. Part 5, Artificial Intelligence. Part 6, Animals, as Pets. Part 7, Art. Part 8, Authority. Part 9, Banking. Part 10, Beauty. Part 11, Blasphemy. Part 12, Business. Part 13, Capitalism. Part 14, Cars.

Research examples:

Architectural Digest
Wikihow
Citeseerx
Newport Academy
The Guardian

12 thoughts on “Futuristic Fiction: #Research for #Writers, Part 15, Celebrity.

  1. I’m soon going to publish a post on Harry and Meghan. I don’t know what it is, but I find these two particularly annoying (maybe because they don’t have even the minimal accomplishments needed to be “celebrities” but are just trading on Harry’s accident of birth as a royal) and frankly, kind of silly. The fact that these people are wielding so much power is due to the fans who are ready to believe any of the drivel coming out of their mouths. It’s up to the public to recognise them for what they are (or more precisely, for what they aren’t). Maybe this needs to be part of the education curriculum? It’s certainly having enough of an impact.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, Lynette. But they’re also a sign of the times in which we live, where mass media coupled with social media will latch onto anything that has the potential to sell. And, of course, the Royal Family itself has been a long-term manipulator of public opinion, even worshipped by many, in spite of the fact that, in common with most of the aristocracy, they are decendents of robber barons who happened to choose the right side in the many wars over the years. There are deeper factors than mere celebrity involved in the activities of these now ‘ex-royals’, and it is rooted in privilege, accidents of birth, snobbery, false status, undeserved wealth, tradition, custom, tribalism, and education. I’ll be interested to see your piece on this issue.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My post is up and I would be very interested in your opinion. Writing about them helped me to think through my irritation. Although this has also added more questions, natch. I don’t normally think much about the monarchy, and of course, they aren’t, strictly speaking, celebrities. And yes, there’s a lot more going on here, centuries of it.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I saw your post earlier, Lynette, but it needed a proper response, so I waited until I had some free time.
          I’ve made a lengthy comment on your excellent piece.
          But I disagree on one minor point: they are most definitely ‘celebrities’, even if they would rather be classed as something other.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Sadly, we witnessed what happened when the reins of the US were given to a celebrity. Having said that, there are many celebrities who use their status to do good for society. So, my conclusion is, there are good and bad celebrities (as Trump put it) ‘on both sides.’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s true, Asit. But there’s a valid suspicion that many of those who ‘do good’ are acting out of self-interest, knowing that such actions will enhance their reputations and therefore increase their appearance fees.

      Like

      1. Of course, there’s an ulterior motive of self-gratification. However, by that, if society benefits, I’m for it. Take Bill Gates for example. He’s a billionaire philanthropist who’s doing some awesome things for the world. But by doing so, if he gets some recognition, so be it. I’m perfectly okay with it.

        Like

  3. Everybody from the latest moronic fool in some dreadful ‘reality’ TV show to the most well-known and talented performer in any field comes under the umbrella title of ‘celebrity’ – Loved this!! Great post: )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Sharon. I’m constantly amazed by the people who turn up on the media these days as ‘spokesperson’ for this or that. So often illiterate and lazy speakers who give their knee-jerk reactions to any given situation, clearly without ever having given the matter any thought or done any research into the facts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah , they seem to think that their celebrity tag gives them the right to talk about anything and everything ( often without even having the slightest notion of the actual issue ) . Among all the din around these self styled ‘spokespersons’ , the sensible opinions of the rare few who are actually knowledgeable never stand a chance of being heard ( thanks to our journos who are keen on sensationalism )

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, Sharon, it seems ‘fame’ regardless of its merit, sells, so the media grabs it and uses it to promote their platform, newspaper, tv channel, or whatever, with no thought about the potential consequences. When profit is the premier driver, every other consideration is ignored, unfortunately.

          Liked by 1 person

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