4. Lz411 the celebrity industry 2013 v2


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LZ411 Celebrity Industry Lecture

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  • To explain the role of celebrity in the media industries
    To explain the term ‘the culture industry’
    What do celebrities say about ‘us’?
  • Why does there seem to be a prevalence of celebrities in the media? How does it come about? What does it say about who we (the readers) are? (in other words set up the questions that we will hopefully answer through the lecture
    From Ellis Cashmore:(252)
    “Post-God celebrity is now one of the mainstays of organizing recognition and belonging in secular society,” writes Chris Rojek (2001:58). Celebrities appear as gods in human form or simulacra of departed deities. Celebrity culture, in this view, becomes a functional equivalent of religion, with beliefs and practices associated with religion “converging” with those of celebrity culture.
    “Celebrities offer peculiarly powerful affirmations of belonging, recognition, and meaning in the midst of the lives of their audiences (2001:53).
    Celebrity worship - priests becoming celebrities etc.
  • Jarvis Cocker went back to his old school to talk with students about his life and career
    I ask why he thinks his own particular childhood longing for fame has become the universal ambition of almost every teenager today. Does it mean that all youngsters now feel as he did then – inadequate and insignificant?
    "I think basically becoming famous has taken the place of going to heaven in modern society, hasn't it? That's the place where your dreams will come true. It's an act of faith now; they think that's going to sort things out." When he talked to the children he contrasted X Factor's fantasy of overnight stardom with the 15 years' work it took Pulp to be successful – but presumably he too must have heard cautionary tales about the false promise of celebrity when he was a child. So why didn't he heed them?
    "Ah," he smiles, "I think everybody always thinks they're cleverer than everyone else, and they wouldn't fall into those traps.“
    From http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/oct/16/jarvis-cocker-interview
  • From decordova, r. 1991 the emergence of the star system in america in gledhill, c. ed stardom London: Routledge (photocopied). This is an analysis of how particular types of knowledge developed about the people who performed in early film.
    The discourse on acting (around 1907)– didn’t naturally exist – acting wasn’t the initial focus of discourses about film instead the apparatus ‘its magical abilities’. Acting was the activity carried out on the stage. Early descriptions of film acting described it as posing for the apparatus, over a relatively short time around 1907, acting on the screen was awarded more legitimacy thus working to assert greater respectability for the cinema. The cinema initially talked of as a solely mechanical production process started to be seen as the result of human labour. Discourses on acting performance thus started to become more prevalent paving the way for audiences to start to focus on (good and bad) actors.
    The picture personality (around 1909) – ‘the principal site of product individuation’. The famous Florence Lawrence incident. The head of the film company Carl Laemmle who was head of the Independent Motion Picture Company was promoting the film The Broken Oath. He let the press know that the actress Florence Lawrence had died in a street car accident. Subsequently he put a full page ad in Moving Picture world of 12th March 1910 that it was a silly and vicious lie. He included her actual name ‘Miss Lawrence’ thus this case is cited as the first example of a movie star, because her actual name could be recognised outside of the films she was in. A link was made then across multiple films, i.e. that an actress exists, something to be talked about. Ths is what cordova calls the picture personality. 3 forms of knowledge needed to produce the ‘picture personality’ –
    1. circulation of the name – thus the identification of actors’ names with particular films but then also extending beyond a single film. The recognition of an actor from film to film
    2. intertextuality – the construction of the picture personality through the joint work of the cinema and of journalistic discourse. The site of interest was to be the personality of the player as it was depicted in the film
    3. professional experience of the actor – intertextuality between films or between film and previous stage experience
    3. The star (around 1914) – a thoroughgoing articulation of the paradigm professional life/private life. The question of the player’s life outside of the film. Another regulation of knowledge – the private lives of the stars emerged as a new site of knowledge and truth “Is your REEL hero ever a REAL hero?” However, the two spheres were to support each other, knowledge of the ‘private’ life would support the knowledge of the screen life. Stage life was depicted as unhealthy (travel, irregular meal, daytime sleep etc.). Cinema on the other hand as morally healthy (9-5 job etc.) OF COURSE THIS SEPARATION WAS NOT TO LAST FOREVER
  • Based on the work of Richard Dyer and his analysis of hollywood stars. Dyer argued that we can look at stars in two ways:
    Sociologically – this views stars as a remarkable, and probably influential or symptomatic, social phenomenon, as well as being an aspect of film’s industrial nature.. Films are significanct because they have stars in them”. This view takes the stars as sociologically existing , outside in the real world, they are then incorporated (used ) by films in order to promote them, and make them successful.
    Semiotically – this view says that stars only exist because they are in films. This is the reverse of the sociological view. Stars are only of significance because they are in films, and therefore are part of the way films signify. He says both concerns are nutually interfependent. Sociologically speaking, stars do not exist outside of such texts;
  • Focussing on the idea of production or ‘making’ celebrities helps ot focus on the fact that they are a product of representation, and not just naturally occuring people. It is as we have seen their presence in the media, across all types of media which enables the idea of celebrity to work.
    In a statement Can Associates said: "We have represented Katie since February 2004.
    "During that time we have worked hard to build Katie as a successful individual and brand, moving her from a glamour model and repositioning her as the country's foremost female celebrity, with a string of products and successful endorsements.
    "We wish Katie every success for the future." from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8049852.stm
    Overall to produce and promote the celebrity. Like any other product to increase its value
    Appearance industry – image consultants, cosmeticians, hair/wardrobe stylists etc.
    Entertainment and communications industries – the former theatre, film, plays, sport etc. The latter, TV radio, press magazines etc.
    Publicity industry – publicises and promotes the activities of the communication and entertainment industries
    Coaching industry – aspects of performance but now increasingly to mean life coaching (dealing with the stresses and strains of being a celebrity)
    Representation industry – agents personal managers, publicists and promoters – work with the celebrity to create and maintain visibility in the industry.
    Agents – the conduit between client (celebrity) and work. So finding work for clients, negotiating terms of that work, providing advice, also can arrange publicity. No particular interest in development of the product (the celebrity) instead cultivates connections with the employers of the clients (e.g. production companies, casting agencies, booking agents etc.) Clip from extras start at 7:00
    Managers – developing the clients’ careers organising lives – answering mail, investing money, planning schedules, running the celebrities lives
    Public relations / publcists – public relations personnel manage the way a corporation business or industry is represented to the public. Publicists are the key conduit between the celebrity and the public. They manage the public image of the celebrity. Does what it says, relates (the celebrity) to the public. Therefore managing the access, stories and images that circulate in the media / entertainment industries. Write press releases and organise placement, i.e. getting the story out to the public. They sanction access to the celebrities and negotiate how the client will be represented (in words and images). Dealing with the press when there is bad publicity
    These functions are interdependent of course – corporate connections between different arms of the same parent company, professional networks, journalists and publicists moving between job roles
  • For example from sports, music, theatre, etc. Through training, skill, performance etc.. But instead a way of manufacturing celebrities ‘from scratch’. The rise of the ordinary in the media. This is not to say that this is a prime motive for these shows occuring. There is a complex set of economic, social and cultural forces at play here but instead that celebrity production is a ‘by product’ of certain types of media programming especially where there is repeated access to the ordinary person and a chance to experience the narrative of their rise to celebrity status.
    Jade Goody - Jade Cerisa Lorraine Goody (5 June 1981 – 22 March 2009)[2][3] was an English celebrity. third series of the Channel 4 reality TV programme Big Brother in 2002, an appearance which led to her own television programmes and the launch of her own products after her eviction.
    In 2003, following her public appearance in Big Brother, Jade was voted by the public as the fourth worst Briton in the British TV station Channel 4's 100 Worst Britons as inspired by the BBC series 100 Greatest Britons.
    In January 2007, she was a housemate in Celebrity Big Brother.[8] During the show she was accused of racist bullying against Indian actress Shilpa Shetty.[9] Following her eviction from the show, she admitted her actions had been wrong and she subsequently made many public apologies.
    In August 2008, she appeared on the Indian version of Big Brother, Bigg Boss,[10] but withdrew early from the show and returned to the UK after being told she had cervical cancer.[11] In February 2009, after the cancer metastasised, she was told that it was terminal.[12][13] She married Jack Tweed on 22 February 2009[14] and died, one month later, in the early hours of 22 March 2009.[3]
  • Two trends can be seen in the print media (newspapers and magazines) in terms of celebrity coverage. Firstly the increasing amount of coverage in the tabloids and middle market newspapers of celebrity news, and secondly the development of exclusive celebrity news type magazines for the mass market.
    In the first category the tabloids of course lead, but the Daily Mail and Daily Express along with the free newspapers give increasing amounts of online and paper room for celelbrity news coverage. First we have to de-naturalise the idea of celebrity news. As we have seen news is a social process of construction, this can be seen even more so with celebrity coveage, where we can ask to what extent this coverage of celebirties is actually news. From the transmissin perspective of communication, it is hard to see celebirty coveage as news since the ‘new’ is often relatively trivial events and stories about the details of the celebrity’s life. However from the ritual perspective, that is the drama of people’s lives, it is not hard to see how the currency of celebrity (that is its perceived importance in our culture) means that participation in, and knownledge of celebrity is for some sections of society a vital attribute.
    The mass market magazines can be divided in several ways. One way is to their approach to celebrity – celebratory? Ridicule, admiration?
    Hello! Magazine for example is always glowing about its celebrities and always presents them in a positive light. OK! Can be slightly more populist and cheeky. Heat – less sophisticated, gossipy (‘news’) rather than feature led (i.e. staged promotions
    In this analysis then the celebrity is not a person, or even a ‘mediated persona’ but instead the human face of capitalism. Celebrities promote media products, the promote their ‘own’ products or they promote the products of other companies (e.g. beauty products, drinks etc.). In order for this to work two things must happen. They must have high visibility (i.e. currency) that is they need to have media presence. Secondly they need to connect with target audiences in some way, in order for this to happen a particular intimacy or other means of connection must happen, there must be that emotional tie
  • Depending on the publicaition, some approach celebrities by printing staged prmotions of celebireis with the front of news items, journalism in other words, they are actually highly managed, staged prmotions o fht celebriteys thems.eves. The celebirties promote the magazines, the magazines promote the cleeblrities. It is ia two way realationship, pubulicity relationship, relying on access two wasy. Access to perople and their lives, access to journalists their stories and pbulciations.
    News? Celebrity staged promotion? Stories? Just interest for magazine readers? All of these things but blurred. Read the David Rowan article.? Also Tapper and Morris. And tboy young (see turner page 74)
    There is in other words a very deep ongoing relationship between the magazines, and the celebirty industry (i.e. film, televsion)
    News? Celebrity promotion? Stories? Just interest for magazine readers? All of these things but blurred. Read the David Rowan article.? Also Tapper and Morris.
  • However celebrities are also not just like other products to promote and publicise. The celebrity as representation also has the celebrity as person behind them. Note the sometimes necessary management of public image through public apologies, and statements, charity work etc. Also note how in the longer term bad publicity isn’t necessarily bad. What does this tell us about the enduring impact of glamorous lifestyles and what is valued by companies wishing to purchase celebrities’ image for their products?
    The tabloids therefore have a dual role – they can promote celebrities through their large circulations, and negotiated exclusives to celebirty lives. But they can at the same time appear to have the journalistic credentials of exposure of wrong doing etc. by rin scandelous exposures.
  • Why are celebrities important to the media industries?
    As we have argued, Celebrities exist because they are promoted but in turn they promote.
    Celebrities have value. They have value to sell products and they have value to sell media. A well known celebritiy in a TV programme, a charity campaign or on the front cover of a magazine helps to sell that magazine or attract bigger audiences for advertisers or increase the donations to the charity.
    Celebrities also of course have a role to play in a range of other industries (or at least different types of organisation)
    In this analysis then the celebrity is not a person, or even a ‘mediated persona’ but instead the human face of capitalism. Celebrities promote media products, the promote their ‘own’ products or they promote the products of other companies (e.g. beauty products, drinks etc.). In order for this to work two things must happen. They must have high visibility (i.e. currency) that is they need to have media presence. Secondly they need to connect with target audiences in some way, in order for this to happen a particular intimacy or other means of connection must happen, there must be that emotional tie
    Celebrities also of course have a role to play in a range of other industries (or at least different types of organisation).
    Red nose day 2007
    The intersection of media, politics and commerce (business and advertising). Who’s the celebrity here? Who is serving whom? Is this all for charity (red nose day)? Or are others benefitting? The celebirty comedian herself of course, but also a political figure. Does that matter? It might do if simply through media exposure rather than political challenges a prime minister (who wields enormous power) could gain popularlity.
  • Daily Mail article of 21st october 2013. No shoes cruz.
    Celebrity as a source for a news article
    Celebrity as a attraction for readers (to buy the paper, read the website, consume the advertising in the paper)
    Celebrity as endorser of certain products named in the article Adidas shoes – “Can you thus blame Adidas for signing him to a lifetime contract? His appeal extends beyond the sport and he has a high-profile marriage with Spice Girl Victoria Beckham. Adidas already paid half the amount upon the contract signing in 2003. He will also be paid for promotional work, as well as a percentage of the profit. Adidas money accounts for 15 percent of Beckham’s income.” - http://www.therichest.com/business/the-top-five-biggest-athlete-endorsement-deals/
    Mail advertising his book
    Mail advertising his book launch
    Book launch advertisement actually appearing at bottom of the article (facebook advert)
    Mail raising profile (or at least maintaining) the currency of beckham’s value as a celebrity presence.
  • But in the last point note very importantly, if use the idea that stars don’t exist outside of such texts, that what is being bought and sold is the image of a particular human being not the human being his or herself.
  • So where does that leave us? We are asking what are celebrities?
    Cheeky chappie. Campaigner. Casual chef. Loving family man. Healthy eating. A champion of british food. Sainsbury’s brand.
    Jamie Oliver here is a chef. A casual approach to cooking. Southend pier. Down to earth. Think of connotations of the location. Piers etc.
    With his childhood friend Jimmy Doherty – essex pig farmer
    Pop up café. Café not restaurant.
    Celebrity here has connotations of down to earthness, everyday ness. ‘Anyone can drop in’ i.e. the everyday people eating in the background. But note how a famous actor is the ‘anyone’
    The programme partly functions as a cooking programme, partly storytelling about celebrities lives (insider knowledge), partly about celebritising farm production, and foods (i.e. the pig catwalk). It also functions as a programme about british identity through food.
    The middle section in the stall in munich is very laddy (so the new lad, can cook, can be clever with food, but can still be sexual). See from 23.30. section on going to germany, speaking german
    Representing britain.
    33 food competition. Paltrow and jimmy.
    Note the his discursive construction also has its challenges - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2405896/Jamie-Oliver-hypocrisy-row-feeding-poor-rant-comparison-finds-supermarket-meals-cost-SEVEN-times-brand-equivalents.html
  • Celebrities are not just ‘role models’. This rather simplistically suggests that an audience member will actively seek out what is ‘individual’ in a particular celebrity and then imitate it through hair, clothing, make-up, attitude, values etc. This no doubt is true for some people, but a further observation can be made about celebrities and the rise of celebrity culture. It is part of the developing ‘cult of the individual’. We are in an epoch of excessive individualistion , that is a dominant discourse that achieving and displaying a strong sense of individual self is what to be human is. At the level of discourse then, what is valued, emphasised and played out in the media are ‘excessive individuals’ – they are discursively produced as distinct. Rather like a brand…
    See Marshall 1997, p. 65 – “the types of messages that the celebrity provides for the audience are modalized around forms of individual identification, social difference and distinction, and the universality of personality types” … celebrities represent subject positions that audiences can adopt or adapt in their formation of social identities”… the celebrity, then , is an embodiment of a discursive battleground on the norms of individuality and personality within a culture”
    social functions of celebrity (from Turner)
    b) definition of the individual – celebrity (as an individual) historically co-located with the twin rises of individualism and democracy. Celebrity as a reflection of the primary western ideology of individualism. (This is Marshall’s approach). “Celebrity as one of the fundamental mechanisms for constructing and maintaining the discursive linkages between consumer capitalism, democracy and individualism” (turner p. 24)
    making sense of the world through celebrity – “the celebrity is a focus of formative social power in consumer capitalism” (marshall 1997 p. 51)
    In this view:
    a) Celebrities are ‘definers’ of what it means to be an individual
    b) The consumption of celebrity as a search for the ‘true’ person within
    c) The identification of true individuality with certain types of wealth and/or success. One of these is the observable raising of status of celebrities reflected in the fees they can command.
    There is therefore also an ideological component to this. As “The capitalist system uses celebrities to promote individualism and illusions of democracy (the ‘anyone can do it’ myth) …capitalism retains its hold on society, by reducing all human activity to private ‘personalities’ and the inner life of the individual”. As opposed to a culture/society where the group or the collective is foregrounded
    (Giles 2000, p. 19 and 72)
    From Giles, D. (2000) Illusions of immortality : a psychology of fame and celebrity, Basingstoke : Macmillan
    Jamie gets the nation cooking clever, shopping smart and wasting less with his new cookbook, Save with Jamie.
    This year, I've got the message loud and clear that as everyone comes under bigger and bigger financial pressure, they want help to cook tasty, nutritious food on a budget, so this book was born completely out of public demand.
    Save with Jamie draws on knowledge and cooking skills to help you make better choices, showing you how to buy economically and efficiently, get the most out of your ingredients, save time and prevent food waste. And there's no compromise - I'm talking big flavours, comfort food that makes you happy, and colourful, optimistic dishes.
    Our biggest luxury is knowledge, whether times are hard or not, so get kitchen smart and smash the recession.
    Jamie Oliver started cooking at his parents' pub, The Cricketers, in Clavering, Essex, at the age of eight. His television and publishing career began in 1999 with The Naked Chef series. Since then he has set up Fifteen restaurant in London, changed school dinners in the UK and revolutionized home cooking. His charity, The Jamie Oliver Foundation, seeks to improve people's lives through food. He writes for publications in the UK and around the world, including his own Jamie Magazine. Jamie lives in London and Essex with his wife Jools and their children.
  • 4. Lz411 the celebrity industry 2013 v2

    1. 1. LZ411 – Critical Media Theory LZ411 – Critical Media Theory Celebrities and Celebrity Culture Aims today … •Sociological perspectives on celebrity •Semiotic perspectives on celebrity •The function of celebrity 1
    2. 2. What is a celebrity? • • • • • • • A sign? A product? A construction? A brand? A commodity? A person? A ‘semiotic link between the worlds of production, consumption and identity’ 10/23/12
    4. 4. The Guardian 17th October 2011
    5. 5. The rise of discourses of the ‘star’ •The discourse on acting •The picture personality •The star Our New Errand Boy (1905) Director: James Williamson (“Is your REEL hero ever a REAL hero?”) ‘The motion picture classic’ (February 1916) (deCordova 1991, p.25) Florence Lawrence
    6. 6. Celebrity as (complex) ‘sign’ • The work of Richard Dyer on the ‘star as sign’. 10/23/12
    7. 7. Celebrity production/construction Coaching experts Appearance experts Katie Price – Celebrity/product/brand Management and publicists The individual
    8. 8. Celebrity production/construction • Reality shows, competition shows • Cross media production and promotion 2002 The ‘production’ of Jade Goody 2003 The ‘production’ of Susan Boyle 2009 2011
    9. 9. Celebrity: The role of the print industry Tabloids & Middle Market newspapers Celebrity gossip and news magazines
    10. 10. Journalism and Publicity • When is journalism publicity? • When is publicity news?
    11. 11. However … Daily Mirror 15th Sep 2005 Daily Mirror 23rd Sep 2005
    12. 12. Celebrity as brand, commodity and face of advertising Jamie Oliver – TV Chef Jamie Oliver - Advertising ‘Jamie’ – Celebrity Chef Jamie Magazine Jamie Oliver – Political campaigner
    13. 13. An example • Name all the celebrity media relationships in this example 10/23/12
    14. 14. Summary: The sociological perspective • Celebrities as a ‘remarkable’ social phenomenon • Key part of the media industries • Key part of consumer culture (i.e. promoting products, brands etc.) • Celebrities are themselves commodities and brands (i.e. can be bought and sold on the market) 10/23/12
    15. 15. The semiotic perspective • Celebrities are (only) media images which can be analysed using semiotics and cultural theory to inquire into the social meanings of celebrity (as a whole system) and about specific celebrities. • We do this in order to find out about how celebrity meanings are produced/constructed and why. 10/23/12
    16. 16. Examining the ‘sign’ Jamie Oliver • A clip from ‘Jamie and Jimmy’s Food Fight Club’ (Channel 4 2012) • Questions – What are the connotations of the sign ‘Jamie Oliver’ you already know? – What meanings are prevalent in the programme about celebrities? – What is the programme saying about the identities of those involved and the identity of the intended audience? 10/23/12
    17. 17. Celebrity and individual identity “Generally, celebrities’ behavior is representative of the expression of individual preferences and desires and the acting on those preferences and desires. The celebrity is the independent individual par excellence; he or she represents the meaning of freedom and accessibility in a culture” (Marshall 1997: 246) The distinctively produced individual …. Rather like a brand … (it is a brand)
    18. 18. Celebrity as connecting the worlds of objects and people • “Celebrities function in consumer culture as a connecting fiber between the materiality of production and culturally contextualized meaning of consumption and its relation to collective identity. The celebrity then, is a commodity that possesses in its humanness and familiarity an affective link in consumer culture to the meaning that is bestowed on consumer objects by groups” (Marshall 1997: 245) 10/23/12
    19. 19. To finish … • • • • Celebrities are produced by the media industries We can regard celebrities as ‘signs’ (semiotically) Celebrities are signs with meanings for audiences Celebrities ‘tie in’ audiences to the media industries (i.e. celebrities connect people and media products) • Celebrities as signs are powerful ways of connecting people and products (consumerism) 10/23/12
    20. 20. References • Marshall, P. (1997) Celebrity and power, Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press 10/23/12