LOCAL CELEBRITY INTHE INTERNET: MAKING THE MARKET STREET MINCER Ben Light @doggyb University of Salford, UK
LOCAL CELEBRITY INTHE INTERNET: MAKING THE MARKET STREET MINCER Ben Light @doggyb University of Salford, UK
DEFINING CELEBRITY• Celebrity = impact on public consciousness (Rojek 2001)• Rojek identiﬁes 3 types of celebrity (2001:17) • Ascribed’ by lineage/ bloodline • ‘Achieved’, which is acquired through the perceived accomplishments and individual achieves in open competition • ‘Attributed’, which is akin to achieved celebrity but largely a consequence of concentrated representation as exceptional/ note-worthy by ‘cultural intermediaries’ like agents and publicists.• Celebrities are vessels for the creation of social meanings and wither directly or indirectly serve to convey (typically dominant) social values as well as deﬁnitions of sexual/gendered identity; thus they play a signiﬁcant role in organising our perceptions of the world (Evans, 2005:2)
CELEBRITY AND CONTINUITY• Conceptsof class, status and party (Weber, 1966)• Personal charisma as a source of power (Weber, 1968) • Role models (Lines 2001; Kellner 2001; Fraser and Brown 2002) • Figureheads in movements for social change (Meyer and Gamson 1995)
MOTIVATIONS•Afocus on meaning, and on indigenous practices of meaning- making around the topic of celebrity, is needed (Ferris 2007).• Insteadof assuming or insinuating the worst through choice of topic or construction of hypotheses, research on celebrity should assume and insinuate as little as possible (Ferris 2007).• Jenkins(1992) argues that we should emphasise the active positive beneﬁts when fans create social networks around favourite celebrities.
POTENTIAL LIMITATIONS - FERRIS (2007)• Conﬁned to one particular celebrity system• Speak of celebrity as a general system in which all types of celebrities are included.• Much social scientiﬁc writing on celebrity is partially or entirely theoretical, attempting to conceptualize the phenomenon by relying on abstractions rather than empirical data. These theoretical writings are useful in that they problematize fame and celebrity as concepts. However, the authors often use personal impressions and observations to support their theoretical claims, and these observations are likely to be selective and unsystematic. Such selectivity may facilitate the pathologizing of celebrity in theoretical works.•
THE MAKING OF CELEBRITY• Relationships with celebrity• Recognition and response work• Dynamics of celebrity/ fan sites• The roles of ‘technology’• Deﬁnitions of celebrity
METHODOLOGY• Homage to the MSM on Facebook • Content analysis of 384 comments • Analysis of discussion threads• Review of MSM associated materials
RELATIONSHIPS WITH CELEBRITY Ok, here is my story about the one of the many times I was lucky enough to witness Robocop Dude (a.k.a M.S• Celebrities often fulﬁl an important, personal Mincer) pacing market street. I passed role with respect to their audience’s sense of Robocop one day coming out of Music identity (Ndaliania, 2001; Caughey 2004) zone on market street. I started to walk at a brisk pace towards piccadilly bus station (Robocop was gliding his way in• A celebrities need for adoration fuels the opposite direction - towards Boots celebrity worship (Fuller, 1996) etc). I thought that that was the last sighting of the day for me, but to my• Non-reciprocal intimacy at a amazement as I passed Nero Coffee/ distance’ (Thompson, 1995) Abby to turn the corner he nearly bumped into me coming in the opposite direction.... amazing! Thanks for brightening up my day and thank you for giving us somewhere to remember him ;)
CELEBRITY IN FAN MEMORY EVOCATION• He one day in about 2003 as I came home to my hall in the ﬁrst year and he exited the building I lived at in New Medlock Halls. I was so shocked to see him face to face in the same build I lived in but it was him. I dont remember seeing him since. Hope hes ok.• God i remeber him well from when i was at the good old manchester met uni back in the day!! I wonder what happened to him?? was he english?? did he have a real name?? ah how he used to brighten my day!!• Oh my god, what a blast from the past! I used to live in Manchester and remember this guy so well, not thought about him (in any way) for ages. That guy was a legend, me and my friends would point him out every time we saw him. Thanks for brightening up my day and thank you for giving us somewhere to remember him ;) Does anyone know where he was moving to?
RELATIONSHIPS WITH CELEBRITY• Celebrity often achieves ‘role model’ status for their audiences (Gauntlett, 2002).• Fans imbue celebrities with god-like powers, regard the celebrity as “everything,” and seek to serve and/ or suffer for their celebrity. They treat celebrity-related objects as sacred (O’Guinn 2002).• Exposure to celebrities often contributes to life-long preferences in fashion styles and personal appearance (Schindler and Holbrook 1993) and shapes the basis of sexual attraction to the opposite sex (Holbrook and Schindler 1994). One time he stood on the back of my shoe and then looked really annoyed about it! Wish Id kept that shoe...
RECOGNITION AND • Moral order of the street (Ferris RESPONSE WORK 2007)• Moral order of the street • Followed him down to the Royal (Ferris 2007) Exchange once, but he caught wind of me and I had to duck in to a shop! He was later seen walking back up Markey Street towards Picadilly Gardens, not one bag in his hand! • Blimey, now I do feel old! It only seems like the other day when we were all posting about him on the Essential message boards, tracking his every movement and whatnot!! I wonder if he thought it was us lot who were the weirdos for following “We made a hell of a noise trampling him? hehe! Bring Back The Market on pebbles of his driveway, the Street Mincer!! gardener asked us to leave.”
Used to see this dude all the time - more and more I look at this photo I thinkalways laughed about him with it must be him. Wow, what a claim tofriends - but ... OMG just how well fame! Knew he was a strange soul but didknown is he?!!! lol I had no idea. not realise he had such an audience!
ON FANS IN THEIR SITES“As the ‘‘professor’’ of knowledge about the celebrity, the fansitedesigner is given special privilege and inﬂuence. As one fansitedesigner said, ‘‘I’m more than just an anonymous ‘ordinary’ fan.People go out of their way to contact me, and ask questions likeI’m an authority.’ ’ In these cases, the identiﬁcation is intensiﬁed—the fan emerges as an unofﬁcial ‘‘representative’’ of the speciﬁccelebrity…..Perhaps, in a digital environment, status lies not merely incompiling information and knowledge but also in the control overthe celebrity’s representation.”(Soukup 2006)
SITE DYNAMICS 3% 2% 4% 15% 7%• In these cases, the ‘‘audience’’ for the fansite is the casual web browser who 7% may have a moderate 13% interest in Alanis Morissette or Natalie Merchant but is 8% not yet a full-fledged fan. In effect, the fansite serves as a ‘‘proselytizer’’ to the uncon- 9% verted, people who may not 13% recognize the unique qualities of the celebrity. 9% 10% (Soukup 2006) Comment made regarding the Mincer’s name• Fan sites, of course, have no such obligation to present Comment on connection with the life of the comment poster Expression of fondness/concern regarding the Mincer Reporting sighting Making a reference to the Mincer as a celebrity/famous the trade- marked and Attempt at interaction sexualized images of Providing information regarding location of sighting Comment or question about who the Mincer was and where he went celebrities, but in many ways, Mention of other ‘eccentric’ person they still do. (Lambaise 2003) Comment on the Mincer’s activity Comment made regarding the Mincer’s appearance Speculation as to why the Mincer minced
Site dynamics“Much like other forms of virtualcommunities, these social ties can be loose 300or tight—ranging from fleeting encounterswhile ‘‘surfing’’ the web to enduringrelationships in which participantsconsistently return to the same Web site.Regardless of the strength (or weakness) of 225these bonds, the connection is built upon amutual identification with thecelebrity.” (Soukup 2006) 150 75 6 Posts 5 Posts 4 Posts 0 3 Posts 2 Posts >1 Post 27% 1 Post (overall) One Post Made Multiple Posts Made on Same Day Multiple Posts Made on Separate Days >1 Post 19% (on same day)
NUMBER OF COMMENTS OVER TIMEFebruary 2007 August 2011
The Market Street Mincer is by far the shiniest jewel in the characters of Manchester crown. Cladfrom head to toe in skin-tight demin, the ‘MSM’ can be found strutting up and down the mainshopping street with a steely determination. Rumoured to be both banned from the swimmingbaths and an undercover policeman. He is known by more names and courts more controversythan any of Manchester’s finest.
THE ROLES OF If only video phones were more widely available back in ‘TECHNOLOGY’ 2001.... It only seems like the other day when we were all posting about him on the Essential message boards“In a digital environment, fans he even had a profile on gaydar called marketstreetmincerhave even more inﬂuence created by people who had taken photos of him!!!over the meanings and They once did a phone in on Key 103 radio " have you seen the Market Street Mincer?"interpretations of the media I had photos of him on n old mobile I had...long gone nowtexts with which they (and though :(others) identify......fans can screen, canreconﬁgure and canrearrange media texts basedupon their own desires andinterests”(Soukup 2006)
DEFINITIONS OF Galaxy had a feature called cock of the north which was a title that went to someone each morning and he may have had it one day. He CELEBRITY certainly got mentioned a lot on Nicksy in the morning. I often wondered if he knew of his celebrity status. Looking at the picture he could have been very anyone but after seeing him in action you would appreciate he was something special. God bless him and all• The Mincer is not a Micro-Celebrity (Senft 2008) who quite clearly sailed in him (if that walk was anything to go by). nor a Quasar (Monaco 1978)• Rojek (2001) argues for celebrity as commodity – I love that he is so famous! Hes like an urban legend! in his analysis, celebrities are the perfect products of capitalist markets, as well as contemporary I heard the reason he used to mince up and down Market St was replacements for both god and monarch. due to him hearing someone got talent spotted for a modelling agency walking up Market St and the MSM wanted that same fate.• Our analysis of the practices of famous people on Twitter reveals how social media can be used to maintain celebrity status. Entertainers, public ﬁgures and technologists actively contribute to the construction of their persona through public interaction with fans. This type of active labor is strikingly similar to that practiced by bloggers, online glamour models, social media gurus, and other people practicing micro-celebrity (Markwick and boyd 2011).• Twitter also disrupts the expectation of parasociality between the famous person and the fan (Markwick and boyd 2011).• Twitter demonstrates the transformation of ‘celebrity’ from a personal quality linked to fame to a set of practices that circulate through modern social media (Markwick and boyd 2011).