The cult of celebrity Print
By Theodore Dalrymple   
Sunday, 07 June 2009
The cult of celebrity is not new, but it is increasing in its scope and effect. At one time, people wanted simply to gawp at the famous, and possibly dress like them. Now, many take their moral and political opinions from them. For example, most young people's view of Africa, insofar as they have one at all, probably derives more from the pronouncements of Bono, U2's lead singer, than from any other source of knowledge about the Dark Continent. . . .celebrity is a source of moral authority, as if it were the case that no one could be famous who was not good. Celebrities also must be clever, for how could someone have ascended to great fame without some superiority of mind? One of the curious things about modern celebrities, however, is that although they should be glamorous and unapproachable in some way, they also should be completely banal at the same time (that was the great appeal of Princess Diana).

-From "Guided by the Stars"

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