Claims to Fame: Celebrity in Contemporary America
Moving from People magazine to publicists' offices to tours of stars' homes, Joshua Gamson investigates the larger-than-life terrain of American celebrity culture. In the first major academic work since the early 1940s to seriously analyze the meaning of fame in American life, Gamson begins with the often-heard criticisms that today's heroes have been replaced by pseudoheroes, that notoriety has become detached from merit. He draws on literary and sociological theory, as well as interviews with celebrity-industry workers, to untangle the paradoxical nature of an American popular culture that is both obsessively invested in glamour and fantasy yet also aware of celebrity's transparency and commercialism.
Gamson examines the contemporary "dream machine" that publicists, tabloid newspapers, journalists, and TV interviewers use to create semi-fictional icons. He finds that celebrity watchers, for whom spotting celebrities becomes a spectator sport akin to watching football or fireworks, glean their own rewards in a game that turns as often on playing with inauthenticity as on identifying with stars.
Gamson also looks at the "celebritization" of politics and the complex questions it poses regarding image and reality. He makes clear that to understand American public culture, we must understand that strange, ubiquitous phenomenon, celebrity.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
activities actor agent American Angelyne argues artificial attention audience authenticity become behaviors believe celebrity images celebrity industry celebrity production celebrity text celebrity watchers celebrity-based celebrity-watching Clark Gable client commercial coverage critical culture cynical discourse Edgar Morin editor entertainment celebrity Entertainment Tonight example fact fame famous Fan Magazines fiction film going gossip Hollywood interest interpretation interview Joan Collins journalists Julia Roberts Kevin Costner Latino lives look Lynn Whitfield manager manipulation manufacture mass meaning Michael movie Nia Peeples performance personal publicist photograph playing politics popular position promotion publicist questions relationship reporting Richard Schickel role Rolling Stone says Schudson sell semifictional simply social star system Stardom story strategy studio stuff tabloids talent talk show television tell there's thing tion Todd Gitlin truth TV Guide Vanity Fair viewer visible watching woman workers writer York