The new way of becoming a celebrity

The new way of becoming a celebrity

In Paul Hollander’s article “ Why the Celebrity Cult?”, Hollander tells the reader the new way of becoming a celebrity in the twenty-first century. He goes on to ask the who, what, when, where, and why of these celebrities and how it’s tied to social, cultural, or even historical aspects. Hollander’s article is written effectively and persuasively because he compares and contrasts, uses emotion to evoke the audience, and uses hypophora to smoothly transition into new paragraphs.

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At the beginning of  Hollander’s article, he compares and contrasts his view of celebrities from where he used to live. For example, the author says that “From the earliest days of my life in this country (where I arrived half a century ago as a graduate student) I found the phenomenon at once perplexing and morbidly fascinating.”(Hollander p 388).  He doesn’t tell the reader how people saw celebrities where are from but we can imply that the social behavior was not that of how Americans are towards celebrities. Another example from the article, “The mere presence of these people, the celebrities of the entertainment world, seemed to inspire uncontrollable emotional outbursts, veritable seizures of enthusiasm, fervor, and admiration, sometimes tears.”(Hollander p389). Showing that he has never seen people react this way towards celebrities and it is a very surprising cultural aspect that Americans have. The author also uses compare and contrast with different time frames. Daniel Boorstin states that “But to become well known in our times came to require different attributes or capabilities than used to be the case in the past (or in other societies). In our time’s people become well known without being heroic, without displaying human attributes which used to be widely admired or respected—courage, dignity, generosity, intelligence, inventiveness, unselfishness.”(Hollander p389).  He uses comparing and contrasting with different time frames by telling the reader that in the past people needed to have some type of valued reason to be a celebrity but now in the twentieth first-century people don’t need any genuine accomplishment or moral qualification to become a celebrity.

The author evokes emotion in the audience by making it seem pathetic to be aroused by the sight of a celebrity or even being around them and the American culture revolves around what they are doing, where they are at, who died when it is cool to do certain things and it’s all in the media. The author says that “Celebrity spotting/watching is a popular pastime of Americans who are anxious to see and “rub shoulders with” celebrities in restaurants, bars, places of entertainment or resorts.” This quote is evident that some Americans really go out and take their time wanting to seek this grasp of attention showing that they are so emotionally invested in the fulfillment of this task at hand. For example in his article, “It would make an interesting study to find out why such ogling, mingling, and rubbing of shoulders is such a self-evident source of gratification for so many Americans (and not only Americans). Perhaps it is due to the belief that temporarily sharing the same physical space with celebrities will add an exciting dimension to one’s recreational activities, and elevate one’s social status.” This displays that the author wants the reader to see how pathetic it is and why American gain so much self-fulfillment with just being around a celebrity and just so that their “social status” is elevated. The author also explains to the reader that celebrities can get famous with just self promotion without having talent but to make up for that they tend to donate to the poor. In the article Hollander says that “to display moral virtues like adopting impoverished African children or donating to charities or participating in musical events for the benefit of some downtrodden group. But such gestures are not the basis of the celebrity status, rather they follow its attainment; they help to broaden the appeal of the celebrity and enrich his or her credentials.”(Hollander p389). This appeals to the audience as the celebrity does care about others rather than just themselves showing the world some type of moral qualification.

Hollander also uses hypophora, a figure of speech in which he poses a question and then answers the question. For example, “The most important questions raised by this phenomenon are the following: Who are they and how do they become celebrities? How do celebrities differ from the famous of the past? What does the celebrity status entail? Why is there a great demand for them?”(Hollander p388). The use of hypophora in the article gets the reader to start getting curious about what the author will say to respond to the posed questions. Hypophora also showed how the author smoothly transitioned into a new paragraph. Towards the end of the article, we can see this, “Why the proliferation of celebrities in America, in modern societies?”(Hollander p390). Hollander poses the question to smoothly transition and also get the audience/reader to start thinking about the possible answers to this question. This presents how the author is in full control of the narrative.

Hollander’s article is written effectively and persuasively because he compares and contrasts, uses emotion to evoke the audience, and uses hypophora to smoothly transition into new paragraphs. When he compares and contrasts he shows the readers the different time frames of the past and now the present how celebrities become compared to how different it was in the past. He also uses emotion which can be seen as using pathos. The author tells the reader how Americans are greatly affected by celebrities and even being around them brings out so much to a point where it can seem pathetic. Lastly, he poses questions in his writing known as hypophora, to effectively and smoothly transition into new paragraphs, engage the audience, and be in full control at the same time.





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