The American celebrity now: A special report

American Celebrity2 web

–words and images by DeWayne Rogers

I had an epiphany a few days ago while reflecting over the increasingly convoluted state of the entertainment industry. As my team sat in our weekly creative meeting toiling over the criteria for upcoming rolling out cover subjects, I was struck by a rather innocuous question posed by a colleague:

“What does it even mean to be a celebrity anymore … I mean, it just seems like anybody can call themselves a celebrity nowadays. It kinda sucks, because I don’t know who is who anymore.”

And there it was.

With viral videos, one-hit wonders, and new reality shows now sprouting up faster than pimples on pubescent me circa 1994, it’s a wonder that any of us can sift through the noise to decipher what constitutes a celebrity anymore.

So as we sat there — for five hours, mind you — tossing out names of potential cover candidates, it became all too clear, that we, too, had no clue.  Unbeknownst to us, we had somehow been sucked into the matrix, and stripped of all sense of direction as it related to the modern-day celebrity. It was quite the startling revelation.

Finally, I advised the team to make a list of criteria for today’s celebrity. So I picked up a dry erase marker, walked over to the board, and began to gather input:

Was it appearing on TV (no matter how brief the occurrence)?

Was it their ability to amass a huge twitter following?

Was it having an album being sold on iTunes?

Was it the number of Oscar nominations?

Was it being married to someone rich?

Was it the number of likes on a single Instagram post?

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