Celebrity serves the purpose of highlighting otherwise opaque social relations, conflicts, concerns, and realities. That which is the fueling, seemingly banal everyday existence of the masses doesn’t manifest itself into anything of social significance until an icon framed to represent and vividly portray the beautiful burden of an attributed demographic brings it into public discourse.
The celebrity brings with it an entire economy. It is the commodity, the product and property of a corporate entity, a media monarch within the greater sphere of private ownership of a public institution – a public figure within capitalist society. Money, power, and reference run through iconographies.
Equally, celebrity brings with it an entire ideology. It is the character, the product and property of a ruling class. It may reinforce, resist, reject, or repudiate the standing social order. It is also the product and property of the masses from which it emerged, and which it directly influences and impacts – it is the manipulated mouthpiece of an increasingly superficially divided monoculture.
Collectively, the celebrity is the glue which holds together the real and ideal, the producer and the product, the dominant and resistant, the private and the public.
The celebrity sphere is a stage; lone figures act as pieces of a not so much puzzle as a chess board – white/black, soldier/sovereign, pawns and monarchs as symbols of the social classes to which they have the role of playing dual servants: as owners and as slaves.
What celebrities do are not personal acts, they are public displays of hidden banal behaviors. Epithets, for instance, are contemporary conversation pieces, slander is the modern standard language. What was a moot point, what was an actively apathetically accepted atrocity, and debatable defamation pulsed postmodern society in the form of language – that most vulgar, the vernacular.
When Gwyneth Paltrow tweeted it, she brought it to light. The isolated mediated instance brought to the forefront the banal everyday reality that the world can say in anonymity, that which the one cannot claim in amplification. When The Throne commands servants in the form of fans to roar “Got my n*ggas in Paris, and they goin’ gorillas – huh?!” in deafening unison – it is patriotic within the domain of political prostitution, otherwise known as Pop. However, when the highly celebrated colourless comrade puts into print that very same statement, it becomes a most controversial point of contestation, social commentary, and justifiably considered conversation. That, my friends – my fiends – is the point.
The point is to make a point – and make it public, and make it pertinent. The point is to bring to public discourse, to the “rational” space, issues which deepen divides among the untied states of the present world.
Have an opinion, but understand the pretense and cultural context which frame the situation at hand: you live in a world in which the celebrity plays you – know thyself, own thyself, check thyself, but never let the noise allow you to forget thyself.