In response to Bobby Maddex in Fame-Induced Apathy:

The media have to fill time and column inches—with something. “Fame” (or “celebrity”) is the commodity invented to fill this time. It doesn’t matter who the person is, what he does, or what he amounts to: he (or she) is anointed as a “celebrity” and thereby qualified to fill the time.

The short shelf life of Fame establishes both that it’s a commodity and that it’s fungible. The young instinctively absorb this (that it’s fungible), that anyone can be “famous,” and therefore they too can be a “fame commodity” in the media machinery. They also understand perfectly well that fame has no relation to the talent or intrinsic worth of the “famous person;” in fact, this relation may well be inverse.

The corollary is that the media establishes reality. If something or someone is recognized by the media, it or they “exist;” if not, it does not exist. Thus, the media serve an ontological function for the young, which is often overlooked. The young need to be told what is real and what is not real, and in the absence of substance in education and/or parenting, they accept the media as their substitute parent.

Mark D
Sarasota, Florida