Essay on The Price of Fame: Celebrity's Loss of Anonymity and Privacy

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“Jon Gosselin caught sneaking out of lover’s house!” “Oprah is gay!” “Kirstie Ally weighs 250 pounds!” “John Travolta’s son dies on the bathroom floor!” These are just a few examples of the startling headlines that might be boldly smeared across, magazines, newspapers, and internet sites. Because of our need to know, various forms of entertainment media devote their entire attention to exposing the personal, private and intimate details of celebrity’s lives. They are captured in embarrassing moments, profound sadness, and deep intimacy. We learn the major and minor details of their lives--from their first kiss to their last divorce. We know where they shop and where they eat, who they date and often whether or not they wear underpants. We have followed them down their road to self destruction and have been waiting at the door when they leave prison, rehab or the hospital. A star’s quest for fame and celebrity is often a trade off that comes with a costly price tag; despite their mega paychecks it is a price even they cannot afford. The price of fame comes at the expense of their personal life and privacy.
For as long as there has been the art of entertainment, there has been someone who came before, paving the way to fame by virtue of promotion. However, until the twentieth century promoting performers was random, without structure and poorly planned. P.T. Barnum was among the most notable early public relations managers. The book, Claims to Fame: Celebrity in Contemporary America, reads, “Barnum himself was a show… in one of the most widely read books of the later nineteenth century, Barnum revealed the tricks of attention gathering and image creation, by taking readers behind the scenes.” (Gameson 22) In doing, Barnum ga...

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...iety feels towards the celebrities’ increases as new mediums to access the celebrities are introduced; rules of propriety in regards to privacy are discarded. Movie studios, networks, gossip columnist and the stars themselves recognize the unique power the public holds in maintaining the celebrity’s fame. In attempt to preserve fame and appease society’s ever increasing “need to know”, reality and fantasy are merged, the outcome is the loss of anonymity and privacy to the star.

Works Cited

Freydkin, Donna. "People - Celebrities Fight for Privacy." 7 July 2004. Web. 18 May 2009.

Gameson, Joshua. Claims to Fame: Celebrity in Contemporary America. Berkeley: Univesity of California Press. 1994. Print.

Walls, Jeannette. "For Some Celebs, Price of Fame Getting Too Steep." 20 October 2006. Web.19 May 2009.

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