In the world today, the celebrity is a figure than transcends. What exactly is a celebrity? If defined by the dictionary, a celebrity is simply a famous or well-known person. In reality, this vague definition of celebrity can include almost anyone in the world. A celebrity in this day and age is much more complicated, and much more eminent on a global scale. In my research, I have noticed that a celebrity is not just a person with a talent, but somebody that is worshipped and seen as a more important human being, than the rest of us human beings. A celebrity is not merely a well-known individual, but somebody that is a product of a changing society and somebody who changes ideals in society, using control of the audience and popularity. How is a celebrity so simple to define, yet so much goes into a celebrity creating their public persona?
A celebrity, first, is famous for something. Usually A celebrity is known for talent they have and creating something with that talent. An example of a celebrity like this, one of the first, would be the writer Oscar Wilde. Oscar Wilde was one of the first celebrities that tested the ideals of sexuality and style in the traditional society. Oscar Wilde’s original versions of his books included hints at homosexuality and being sexual in general, which was taboo in his time. Also, Oscar Wilde’s style would have been described as dandy. Dandy, meaning a man that is excessively concerned about his appearance and clothing. In famous photos of Wilde by Napoleon Sarony, Wilde is shown in a fur coat and accessories that depict him as a man who enjoys looking good and a luxurious look,also a bit feminine. This style of dress was not common during Wilde’s time (late 1800s) because of its femininity. During the late 1800s, men were masculine, and anything that went against that was bizarre and taboo. Wilde showed a new style, a more feminine style, but still looked elegant and luxurious enough to influence others.
Oscar Wilde’s talents, as most celebrities, is what got him noticed by the public. His main talent was writing, different kinds of writing he did included playwright, novelist, essayist, and poet. His talents is what made him known, the way he pushed the boundaries of the “norm” is what kept him popular, along with his with his writing. His style is what kept people talking about him, whether bad or good, he was still getting publicity. Celebrities basically live off people talking about them and people’s interest in them. Celebrities must have something other than talent to maintain publicity and keep the interest of hte public. The celebrity should be able to provide entertainment in their “private” life that is seen by the public, outside of the celebrity’s intentional entertainment by their talent. This entertainment is what keeps the celebrity current.
Oscar Wilde is a perfect example of a traditional celebrity because he brings the aspect of pushing the boundaries to life. He is one of the first to do it, and he does it well. Wilde’s style is something that scares his audience a little bit, but something that attracts an audience even more in a new way, being described as, “triumphant ; he is seductive ;he is vampiric. He is convinced of his impending immortality-if not as a person, as a personality ; if not as a man, as a legend.” Wilde was clearly someone who pushed boundaries of men’s style, and writing. His personal style was very different because he incorporated the attentiveness and luxury characteristics of feminine style, into his own. His personal style was not the only thing that made him famous and different, his writing was very known for being different. The aspects of his writing that made Wilde stand was how he included many things that were seen as forbidden and lewd, during his time. WIlde’s writing, especially in his original version of The Picture Of Dorian Gray, included homosexuality and many implications of sex, with other kinds of things considered taboo at his time.
The most interesting thing about how the public reacted to Wilde’s writing was that they did not want Wilde to stop publishing. His writing was very good, the messages within the books were interesting, and his implications were captivating. The idea of someone daring to write about things so disapproved and sensual made people want Wilde’s writing even more. Although, Wilde did tone down the implications in his published version of The Picture Of Dorian Gray, but many people still understood what he was trying to show. This style of writing was what ultimately made Wilde a celebrity. His daring writing was what got him attention. What the public loves is the ability to want something they shouldn’t. The very thought of rebelling through someone/something else (ex. Wilde’s writing) makes the public want more of it. This shows how writing, as all entertainment, is an escape for the public into a world they wouldn’t be able to live in otherwise.
What had made wilde, as well as other celebrities so untouchable, is that they did something most people wouldn’t. this factor makes the celebrity a person that is seen as better than all other people. The celebrity, because of this entertainment they provide that others don’t dare to, is what allows people to look up to them for everything. I like to call this “a little more than human”, because of the way a celebrity is praised, but also just as human as anyone else. A celebrity can be praised like a God sometimes, depending on the range of their fame. They are human, just as you and I, but there is something about them- what they do, what their talent is, what they provide us with- that makes them worth more than you and I.
The celebrity has a lot of power over the public. The celebrity creates the next trend for the public, they decide what is new and cool, and what is not. The power over their audience is their own work, through what they create, through their talent, through the bold things they do. Although, the celebrity must not do nothing, then their fame would lessen. “There is no such thing as bad publicity”, a saying that’s become cliche, but cliches are cliches for a reason, because it’s usually true and relatable for most. The celebrity feeds off of anything that is spoken about them, like Wilde’s “bad publicity” of his lewd writing, nothing bad really came of it. What came of it was more fame and a larger audience. The celebrity uses this publicity to help them in any way, which allows for their power over the public to grow.
The celebrity can be defined simply, but to break down what a celebrity consists of is complicated. It is not so simple as just a famous person, but something more. A celebrity’s fame is more worship than just fame. Their talents are not the only thing that brings them fame. A celebrity is not merely a definition, but a very elaborate collection of characteristics. They may be a little more than human, but human nonetheless. The way they control a crowd is almost godly, but still isn’t. The puzzling way a celebrity is shown to the public, and the way they are in private, is what make them famous and so mysterious yet simple.
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