Thursday, May 8, 2014

The descent of the celebrity profile

But around 1920, the focus of the profile began to shift. Gradually, publications replaced the men of action and industry with sports figures and entertainers, related, either directly or indirectly, to leisure activities. These “idols of consumption” amount, in Lowenthal’s somewhat jaundiced opinion, to “a caricature of a socially productive agent.” Narratives focus on hobbies, food and drink preferences, and personal habits: President Taft “doesn’t smoke”; baseball player Hank Greenberg “lives modestly with his parents”; newspaperman Silliman Evans specializes in “large-scale outdoor entertainment.” Details previously considered gauche—or, at the very least, relegated to the society columns—became prime profile fodder: the cost of parties, the provenance of furs, the exotic dinner courses, the ornate details of the celebrity’s home.

No comments:

Post a Comment