Source:The New Democrat
“The start of the 20th century was the birth of a strange new reality in the United States. The advent of the moving image, of Hollywood and sudden celebrity, caused a quantum shift in how Americans thought about the experience of life. Actors were elevated to the status of superheroes and demigods, and those left in the obscurity of the masses began to desire that elusive privilege: fame. But where America really went haywire, author Kurt Andersen explains, is when the cult of celebrity and the cult of capitalism merged: it was the opening of Disneyland in 1955. A bizarre reality where advertising met animation. You could buy real wares, from fake characters, in real stores, with make-believe themes. “What happened in Disneyland… did not stay there,” says Andersen. From Mickey Mouse all the way to the White House, Anderson doesn’t find it at all surprising that Americans might have a hard time telling what’s true from what’s false. He calls it the fantasy-industrial complex, and it might just be America’s beautifully branded nightmare. Kurt Andersen’s new book is Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History.”
I guess I have a different take on this even though I agree with most of what Kurt Andersen is saying here and my broader point is about what’s called reality TV ( even though there’s almost nothing that’s actually real about it ) and Hollywood in general. ( Speaking of reality TV )
Kate Hepburn and you can see her quote up here, has a great quote on life: “life is hard. After all, it kills you.” The name of the person who also has a great quote on life escapes me right now, but he said that life is basically hard and most of it is negative, etc, and that we should try to take advantage of it.
And I agree with most of that, but lets we had to live without any entertainment and no escapes from realty whatsoever: how much more difficult would life be then? The reason why America has the largest entertainment industry in the world, ( also known as Hollywood ) is the same reason why we have what’s called reality TV ( which is actually tabloid TV, which is very different ) life is hard and we all need those escapes from reality and to just be able to chill and not think about reality for a few hours during the day.
And for some people they need more than that and for others they can afford that:
Imagine a so-called reality TV show that was actually reality TV and actually showed what everyday life was like for these so-called celebrities: ( and in some cases wannabe celebrities )
What work was like for them, what their family life was like, what breakfast and dinner was like, we got to see them picking up their kids from school or dropping them off, that we got to see all of these things and not just two women swearing at loud at each other and calling eacb other horrible people and having public fights, that we got to see all the mundane in their life that almost every other American goes through in life: how fast would the ratings on the Housewives shows on Bravo plummet if they were actually reality TV and now just all the drama that they want to show us in order to drive ratings? And in many cases preplanned drama where the producers actually encourage these so-called real people to act out.
Life for a lot of people is tough and in many cases boring, at least compared with what life is supposed to be like for these so-called reality TV stars. And as a result you get a lot of people who want to be like their favorite so-called celebrities: who act out like them, talk like them, eat the same food, have the same pet nicknames for their friends, associates, family, etc, shop at the same stores, ( if they can afford it ) eat at the same restaurants, ( if they can afford it ) drink the same coffee, ( if they can afford it ) style their homes the exact same way as their favorite so-called celebrities, ( if they can afford it ) try to live the exact same lives as their favorite so-called celebrities, ( if they can afford it ) and not just follow them on their favorite social media sites.
And Hollywood movies and TV where there are actual professional actors involved like comedies and dramas, people consume these shows and movies for the exact same reasons as tabloid TV and sports for the same reasons, because they want even if it’s just a 2-4 escape for their actual reality, they feel they need that and in many cases might actually need all of this fantasy in their lives if life really sucks that much for them.
If the average American was a celebrity, then they wouldn’t need so-called reality TV in their lives and the rest of Hollywood: but if the average American was famous, then no one would be famous, because we would just be like some small town in the middle of nowhere that’s days trip away from the nearest big city, where everyone knows each other.