I found the article, "The Promotion of presentation of the Self: Celebrity as Marker of Presentational Media," to be interesting and entertaining. It was nice to read a different viewpoint of celebrity. The author, P. David Marshall, had some unique points. Britney Spears is one of the biggest celebrities out there. She has been in the spotlight for over a decade. Some of my favorite thoughts from the article follow. I have also included my reaction to the topic and its relation to Britney Spears.
• "It is ever-present and helps to maintain the duality with which we hold the overwhelming production of celebrity: collectively, we disdain the public focus on celebrity at the same time as we continue to watch, discuss and participate and thereby ensure the maintenance of a celebrity industry (2)."
o My reaction: It is so true that many people put down what celebrities are doing, yet continue to purchase magazines and tabloids, watch television shows about celebrities, and discuss them amongst friends. This seems hypocritical to me. When Britney Spears was going through her controversial, tough time, people continued to watch her every move as they spoke about how they did not care about what she was doing. The attention she created for herself made it hard for even her critics to turn away and ignore what she was doing.
• "Celebrity has been and is increasingly a pedagogical tool and specifically a pedagogical aid in the discourse of the self. For much of the twentieth century, celebrities served as beacons of the public world. They helped define the Zeitgeist of any particular moment - 'a structure of feeling' that relied in part on its mediation through film, radio, popular music and television (3)."
o My reaction: Many celebrities take advantage of this by creating their own clothing, makeup, or hair products line. They target fans that want to look or be like the celebrity. These products are marketed to fans as a way to become like their idol. Britney Spears used this marketing tool. She created a line of perfumes and marketed them using her sex appeal to suggest wearers of her perfume would have the same power over men as she had in the television commercials.
• "De Backer, for instance, divides gossip into two functions: reputation gossip, where the status of a person is redrawn based on the information circulated in a community, and strategy learning gossip, where one learns social cues and preferred behaviour through the information gleaned about others (4)."
o My reaction: Very valid point. I can see how there are two distinct functions of gossip. Both are spread in different ways. Britney Spears suffered from a damaged reputation as a result of reputation gossip. She was no longer viewed as a role model and became known for her crazy antics. She may have had an impact on the behavior of young female fans who learned social cues from her exploited behavior.
• "(About) celebrity gossip throughout the twentieth century is that it has operated on two levels:
• first, there has been the reportage that has appeared as a form of information for readers in tabloids, newspapers, television programmes and magazines - in other words, it is structured and highly mediated; and
• secondly, there has been the deployment of celebrity gossip through personal conversation and evaluation that constantly moves the highly mediated into the interpersonal dimensions of everyday interchange. The movement of this kind of celebrity gossip information into the interpersonal is accentuated precisely because of the often personal nature of the information presented about celebrities.
o My reaction: I think personal conversation spreads gossip faster than the different forms of media. While Britney Spears was experiencing her identity crisis, I often found myself in the middle of a conversation relating to the latest crazy thing Britney had done. This is an example of celebrity gossip through personal conversation and evaluation. These behaviors were made known through media, such as magazines and television. This is an example of structured gossip.
On a completely separate and unrelated sidenote, the first thing I thought about after reading this journal was Brad Paisley. He has a song entitled "Celebrity." The song has to do with celebrities setting bad examples, like cheating spouses and lack of responsibility, for the general population. Analyzing this song and comparing it to the journal would be an interesting assignment!
1) Analyze the song, "Celebrity," by Brad Paisley and compare his lyrics to the message of P. David Marshall's journal.
2) Scan the tabloids, magazines, and television for gossip that could be considered "reputation gossip". Write an opinion paper on the effects of this gossip in the various media outlets on the celebrities reputation.