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 proprietors and as property.
What celebrities “do” in their “private lives” are not personal acts, they are public displays of hidden – oft-considered 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.