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Description de l’éditeur
Why do more people watch American Idol than the nightly news? What is it about Paris Hilton’s dating life that lures us so? Why do teenage girls — when given the option of “pressing a magic button and becoming either stronger, smarter, famous, or more beautiful” — predominantly opt for fame? In this entertaining and enlightening book, Jake Halpern explores the fascinating and often dark implications of America’s obsession with fame. He travels to a Hollywood home for aspiring child actors and enrolls in a program that trains celebrity assistants. He visits the offices of Us Weekly and a laboratory where monkeys give up food to stare at pictures of dominant members of their group. The book culminates in Halpern’s encounter with Rod Stewart’s biggest fan, a woman from Pittsburgh who nominated the singer for Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.
Fame Junkies reveals how psychology, technology, and even evolution conspire to make the world of red carpets and velvet ropes so enthralling to all of us on the outside looking in.
Author and NPR commentator Halpern (Braving Home) takes a critical look at Americans' infatuation with fame and determines that fame is elusive, desirable and also possibly addictive. Noting his own unglamorous background as a "parka-wearing, non-fiction writing, generally unslick guy from Buffalo," and boyhood fascination with the show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, Halpern then turns his attention to fans, wannabe celebs and the army of journalists, photographers and promoters sustained by the famous. So begins a journey on which the author crashes a cattle call sponsored by the International Modeling and Talent Association, parties with professional celebrity assistants and befriends Rod Stewart's most passionate follower. What Halpern discovers, aided by media experts and psychologists, not surprisingly addresses issues of technology, social power, self-esteem and prestige. The problem is that Halpern, like many of the experts he relies upon, reasons by analogy and ends mostly with speculation. Still, sobering bits come from reading that in 2004 the three major networks' nightly news shows allotted 26 minutes to the conflict in Darfur yet spent 130 minutes covering Martha Stewart's woes. Halpern concludes this engaging study with the obvious: "our obsession with celebrities isn't about them; it's about us and our needs."