Media, Celebrities and the American Society
The world of the celebrities is often envied by most people for the perception of Hollywood as land of the famous and fabulous. Some regarded their lives to be far from real and different from the ordinary live people lived. We try to get a glimpse of their man-made universe through the celebrity magazines and tabloids. The American Society greatly desires the dirty information on these people as they are caught off guard by treacherous photographers. This has a negative implication on the image that celebrities have long protected. It also implies to the members of society that these people also have some flaws and imperfections.
The American society has become hooked on the things that are unusual and taboo. Issues and news about these things easily enticed the public, as well as the private lives of the movie stars due to media’s inexplicably valuing their lives (Donahue n.p).
There is a brain activity that happens when we see familiar faces, a pleasurable stimuli goes into motion. The media, however, takes advantage of this activity and encourages this fascination by building the popularity of the celebrity and deceiving the public that they could somehow have a personal relationship with these people. The obsession with celebrities may continue until adulthood and could have a dangerous fixation. The frenzy over celebrities due to the intense depiction of media disrupts the social connections (Christiansen et.al, n.p).
Because of the popularity and demand of people to divulge the personal lives of the celebrities, there is conflict that greatly affects the privacy of there people. They are often stalked by photographers and media persons and paparazzi who would like to take their pictures and accounts to sell their publications. The negative implication of this situation on the celebrities is they can no longer have a time for themselves, apart from the scrutinizing look they get from the public who make a big deal about their mistakes.
The privacy of celebrities is often at stake through the utilization of high-tech tracking gadgets, long-lens cameras, listening devices, and other technologies meant for espionage. These technological devices eat up the already diminished private lives of the celebrities (Walls n.p).
To compensate for this matter, the State of California implemented a law last January 1, 2006 which will make a paparazzi think twice before messing up with the lives of celebrities. The bill was drafted by Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez and signed into law last October by Arnold Schwarzenegger. The law increases the penalties and charges to paparazzi. They will be liable for three times the damages they inflicted and may lose any payments of their photos taken of that celebrity. Media, publishers, and newspapers could also be held liable. The law gives the celebrity the right to hinder the publishing of their stolen photographs and the anticipated story that might go with the photos that are intended to cause them harm (Associated Press [AP] n.p).
However, there is a conflicting law against this provision. The U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment provides the freedom of speech and the right to information. The protection of privacy is relatively narrow concerning issues subjected to public eye as it violates the provisions on the constitution (Hilden n.p).
Media plays a significant role in molding the culture of the society. Through the socialization function of media, people learn the values and norms of society. Mass media is only one of the perpetrators of the socialization function of media. However, because of its wide scope and a largely diverse audience that it can reach, mass media is considered as one of the most effective methods that mold societal culture and norms (Perse 164).
The media often focuses on the celebrities with bad image and scandalous activities, instead of the stars that are worth looking up to. This resulted in a negative implication on the society’s perception of what a celebrity is. Most people base their opinions solely on the news presented by media that often hides the truth and reality (Saltzman n.p).
Our continuous fascination with the lives of movie stars creates a harmful impact on the American society. As a result, the government often blames the education system that is falling behind and unable to enhance the potential of the students. However, the real culprit behind this problem affecting the performance of students is the larger society and its current culture. We promote the values portrayed in different television shows, but the essential and life-changing contributions of some people are often left unnoticed (Lajvardi n.p).
Our children learn their values through conforming on the existing and prevailing norms in the society where they live in. Because of media, they are misguided in the perception on what is valuable and important. Although, there is no harm in entertainment and sports, their importance has been blown out of proportion (Lavjardi n.p).
In the current trend of the information society, media has a direct effect on celebrities and on the American society. Due to the misuse of our mass media, it causes damaging effects on the development of our contemporary society. Hence, the media can have positive effects on society if utilized properly.
Associated Press (AP). “New California Paparazzi Law Could Also Hurt Newspapers”.
Editor & Publisher. 30 December 2005. 30 May 2008. <http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001772570>.
Christiansen, Kirsten, Meredith Dank, Meredith Patten, and Amanda Wu. “Celebreality: The Perpetuation of Celebrity Stalking in Western Society.” American Society of
Criminology (ASC). 1 November 2006. 30 May 2008 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p125562_index.html>.
Donahue, Deirdre. “’Fame Junkies’ is hooked on celebrity behavior.” USA Today. 1 March 2007. 30 May 2008 <http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/news/2007-01-03-fame-
Hilden, Julie. “Does Celebrity Destroy Privacy?.” FindLaw. 2 April 2002. 30 May 2008.
Lavjardi, Faridodin. “Our misplaced sense of celebrity hurts all”. The Arizona Republic. 28 April 2008. 30 May 2008. <http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/0428lajvardi28.html>.
Perse, Elizabeth M. Media Effects and Society. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., 2001.
Saltzman, Joe. “The Anti-Celebrity, the Media, and the Public – Words & Images”. USA
Today. January 2003. FindArticles.com. 30 May 2008. <http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1272/is_2692_131/ai_96268298>.
Walls, Jeanette. “For Some Celebs, Price of Fame Getting Too Steep.” MSNBC. 20 October
2006. 30 May 2008. <http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15221535/>.