Free Essay

Our Celebrities, Ourselves

In: People

Submitted By qlei
Words 1240
Pages 5
Lei 1
Lei, Qi
Professor Kwong
English W131, Section 17054
21 February 2013
Essay 1 In the post 9-11 world, with the rapid development of technology, more and more people are concerned with the issue of exposure. The essay “Our Celebrities, Ourselves” by Neal Gabler examines the phenomenon that people have obsessions with celebrities’ personal lives. He thinks their unpredictable and dramatic lives attract people’s attention, and their self-discovery stories enable people to find emotional connections. Another essay “The Naked Crowd” by Jeffrey Rosen focuses on the identity issues and he asserts that people have the tendency to expose their lives to the public to build fake intimacy in order to get a sense of connectedness. Both authors share the same understanding that all people, no matter whether they are famous or not, have the urge to build images in order to create emotional connections despite the inaccuracy the images have, and while Gabler holds a positive attitude toward such phenomenon, Rosen finds it dangerous to expose oneself. First, both authors claim that in the post-9/11 world, people are in need to find emotional connections through real life stories, but they think people achieve such a goal in different ways. Gabler thinks people can get emotional connections by recognizing the similarities they have with celebrities. Gabler believes the horrible event of 9/11 “created a new authentic divide” between true stories and fake ones (Gabler 209). People value authenticity more than artifice. Therefore, unlike the excitement in fiction, the dramatic life stories of celebrities are Lei 2 of particular interest to people because they are real and original. From their real life stories people get to know that celebrities have difficulties in life as well. For instance, in spite of the fame that Houston has, she also has serious drug problems to deal with (Gabler 207). By recognizing the similarities with celebrities, people manage to find themselves in celebrities’ lives and therefore they get connected emotionally. Likewise, Rosen also believes people could gain a sense of belonging through personal life stories. But rather than finding similarities with celebrities, he thinks ordinary people tend to expose themselves to the public to achieve such a goal. He thinks that exposure could create a sense of intimacy and trustworthiness, therefore invoking emotional connections. He gives the example of today’s politicians. In today’s society, politicians could gain better political authority and draw more attentions by creating emotional connections with the public rather than by being distant and remote. Rosen believes to create such connections, politicians often choose to expose their life contents to the massive public. By doing so, they can build images of trustworthiness and create a sense of intimacy. Thus they can build emotional connections with the public (Rosen 416). In order to get emotional connections, people always build consistent images of their own. Both authors acknowledge that the images people build are not real and they may alter their personalities to fit the images formed by others. Rosen states celebrities “exercise [their] authority” by building images of emotional accessibility, but this impression of being accessible and familiar are not the reality (Rosen 416). It’s not reality because celebrities are eager to appear on reality television shows while media and tabloids report their stories all the time, all these help them build intimate images, but in real life people rarely meet them in Lei 3 person. Also, Gabler asserts celebrities always have different personas before the camera. For example, as a rock star, Ozzy Osbourne has a wild persona on the stage, but in reality he has problems dealing with his teenage children just as all other fathers (Gabler 207). Besides the fake personas, Gabler also claims that celebrities would alter their personalities to fit the images. He gives an example of Cary Grant who himself acknowledges that it’s hard to be himself; this demonstrates that in order to conform to images expected by the audience, celebrities would change their true personalities (Gabler 209). Rosen also agrees with such notions. He thinks images are important in this new age. He gives an example of personal branding management. The personal branding management encourages clients to summarize their personalities into simple adjective words, and then the company would form individualized images for them to publicize. However, Rosen argues that personalities are complex, that the inner characteristics would alter to the features shared by the massive public and lose their distinctiveness if one tries to display them. The images would become different from their true selves. Moreover, Rosen claims, in order to present a coherent image, people are likely to change their personalities. Although both authors believe the images people built for emotional connections are not real, they have different attitudes toward this phenomenon. The overall analysis of Gabler’s essay is positive. Though the images of celebrities are fake, Gabler emphasizes on the process of self-discovery though fake personas, and he asserts it could inspire ordinary people. He thinks the dramatic lives of celebrities draw people’s attentions, and then they could get inspired from the fact that celebrities have difficulties and troubles finding themselves as well. From the triumphs and struggles of celebrities finding themselves
Lei 4 through fake personas, people could find similarities from them and get emotional connections. Thus, Gabler’s essay is positive and he gives a subtle relationship between celebrities and ordinary people: the similarities they share tie them together. However, Rosen thinks the need for emotional connections is the reason people expose themselves and he thinks it’s perilous. Rosen’s main idea focuses on society’s privacy and identity issues in this new age, he claims that more and more people expose themselves in spite of the dangers caused by ceding privacies. He believes that people think that by self-revelation, they could build trustworthy images to get emotional connections. Different with Gabler, Rosen holds negative opinions toward such phenomenon. He thinks the intimacy between strangers is an illusion. And their images built from exposure are also not their true selves. Rosen states that people would lose control over the reactions of the audience. As a result, it is the public that controls their personal images and they in fact lose their identities. Moreover, in order to conform to the images formed by the public, it’s very likely that people would alter their personalities to fit the expectations from the public. Thus it’s impossible to get comfort from strangers by exposing oneself In conclusion, both authors believe that more and more people have the need for emotional connections. In today’s world, with the rapid development of modern society and advanced technology, the fast pace makes people more anxious about their identities. Seeking emotional connections is a way to get reassurance about themselves. According to the authors, people may achieve such goal through different ways, by recognizing the similarities from celebrities or exposing themselves. However, the price paid for the exposure is that they would lose control over their images. Both essays remind us that while getting emotional Lei 5 connections is important, one needs to consider the balance between exposure and safety in today’s world.

Lei 6
Works Cited

Gabler, Neal. “Our Celebrities, Ourselves.” Readings for Analytical Writing.
Ed. Christine Farris et.al., 3rd Ed. Boston: Bedford/St.Martin’s, 2011. 411-424. Print.

Rosen, Jeffrey. “The Naked Crowd.” Readings for Analytical Writing.
Ed. Christine Farris et.al., 3rd Ed. Boston: Bedford/St.Martin’s, 2011. 411-424. Print.…...

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