Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The cult of dead celebrities

Our culture has developed something of a cult of dead celebrities, where there's national mourning when favorite pop stars die. 

Up to a point, that's understandable. You can wax nostalgic about a celebrity you associate with your coming of age. 

Likewise, the nature of drama is for the audience to vicariously identify with the characters. That's fine so long as we retain the critical detachment to realize that this is, after all, just fiction. 

To some extent, though, this reflects a displaced religious impulse. Absent of a Christian center of gravity, celebrities are something many people share in common, because we saw the same movies and TV shows. 

When a popular movie star (or rock star, or whatever) dies, people go on social media and share their experiences. Their favorite songs, movies, &c. 

That can be fine up to a point, but it often reflects the vacuity of people who have no deeper social bond. The lack of shared vision and values in something–or someone–transcendent. This is accompanied by making the lives of dead celebrities more significant than they really were. 

Perhaps this also reflects a culture of broken homes and mobility. In the past, it was more common for close relatives to be heroes and heroines. That's harder for kids whose parents divorced, or whose grandparents, aunts, and uncles live out of state. 

1 comment:

  1. I can think of a particular "faith community" that has make quite a pretty penny doing the same with their heroes.