Comments: Celebrity Worship in the Post-Modern Internet

Great post, Mary! and something I've noticed in my experiences in a number of subcultures over the years...

It seems that a variety of subcultures--from music subcultures like rock, to body-modifiers, etc.--always need to take principles of time-tested religions and re-work them to fit the subculture.

On a mass culture level, this is what we have done, from the late 20th c. to now, with celebrities. IMO, it's rather scary, and speaks to not just a deep human psychological need, but to the relative emptiness of modern consumer culture (in that we need to make gods of mortal beings.)

Yet we also delight in a certain celebrity schadenfreude. Think of the latest mess with Jon & Kate plus 8 and that the highest ratings for the show have been from what could be called the divorce episodes.

So, of course many people in social media will chase celebrity, they want to be gods or demi-gods of some kind, I'm sure. But certainly don't take into account the personal toll--and certainly don't like the schadenfreude aspect when it comes down on their heads.

Posted by Tish Grier at June 27, 2009 08:49 AM

nope ... it is fear ... quite the opposite of worship ..

it is projecting one's own divinity outwards onto symbols, simply fearful about embracing it within oneself ...

it is institutionalized separation from personal reality ...

it is a mental disease, in short ...

Posted by gregorylent at June 27, 2009 10:42 AM

Did you just play the Narcotic card?

Posted by ZuDfunck at June 27, 2009 10:42 AM

Hi ZuDfunck,

I don't know that it's playing the narcotic card to say at the end, "opiates anyone?" I was simply making a joke on the "religion is the opiate of the masses" quote. My main point all the way through is that people who are not confident (as in, they fear life, death, the basic aspects of our lives, facing themselves, whatever) are prone to follow, worship etc, and that they need something outside themselves.


My point in lacking confidence is that people are fearful.. and they worship something in order to not have to deal with their fears.

So.. i agree with you. Though I have to think about the mental disease idea.. I don't know that I would put it that way.

Thanks for commenting though!


Posted by Mary Hodder at June 27, 2009 12:27 PM

Regarding "what the hyperdrive of microcelebrity is on Twitter that so many run after"

Did you see my recent Twitter column?

I call Twitter "low-level celebrity for the chattering class".

But what's so hard about the concept? Look at all the A-listers who talk about the "attention economy".

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at June 28, 2009 12:23 AM

Hi Mary

I have sent an email regarding a project that I thought you might be interested in (@ napster and mary both)

Please have a look if possible.


Posted by Prasen at June 30, 2009 08:22 PM