Thursday, 20 February 2014

Icon Escapism

My friends and I went to see a soap opera actor once when he was in town.  It was a long time ago in high school.  It was supposed to be very exciting.  Truth be told, it was my friends who were big on this.  I was the tag along.  I wasn’t even sure who he was; I just knew he acted on the soap opera ‘All My Children’ which I was not allowed to watch.  I am not dissing his acting or anything, I just had limited access to that sort of information and wasn’t interested in seeking it out.  So we went and got our picture taken and got the autograph, of which I still have neither.  It went into file thirteen.  (My ex’s contribution and that is a whole other blog)  But that’s besides the point, we went with a group of friends when we teenagers.  It was fun and it was an evening out.  
But that was sort of old school.  These days, you can stalk people up close and personal in cyberspace and they ‘answer’.  My daughter and her friend were quite excited that her celebrity crush answered their ‘happy birthday’ message back (well someone did anyway).

Which I told her and she was like, “Ahhh... Mom, why do you gotta kill my joy”.
To which I replied:  “Someone has to do it”.     

I find it interesting that in cyberspace, people read and seem to comment based on stereotypes or even follow people that they think they know and so actors and singers hold some of the largest following.  Funny how people who are paid to pretend they are someone they are not carry some of the most influence in society today.  I somehow find that amusing, somewhat worrisome and definitely ironic.    
The entertainment industry has an influence on media space and the growing disconnect in society’s relationships as a result of increased individualism are feeding an icon fascination much of which is hyped, staged and fabricated.  But who cares, it makes money and creates a high level of dissatisfaction which in turn makes people spend more money to make themselves feel better.  It’s a brilliant business model.

In any case, it would appear that the cyber-community seems to have a strong desire to follow someone that they know something about and can recognise, regardless of whether the other party would recognise them back in return.  And so it has been somewhat interesting to note that the distance between ‘followers’ and ‘the followed’ feels closer than in generations past and yet is in actuality further, given that there is no real relationship present.
So someone we think we know, who doesn’t know us, we can follow.  Someone whose ideas we identify with, but we cannot recognise, we engage with, from a safe distance. 

The question is why. 
What makes us buy the perception that we really have a relationship with Celebs?    

Is it because we know more of their business then our own? 
And could that be a coping strategy? 

Escapism perhaps?   

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