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The Reality of Fame

The Reality of Fame Joan of Arc through Janet Lynn Roseman

Channel's Note: Andy Warhol's famous quip, "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes," is surely a truth. Every year, more and more faux celebrities join the culture of stardom aspiring to retain their stronghold as long as they can. The cult of celebrity is never-ceasing, and the fact that most of today's programming is based on reality television speaks to that truth.

What is particularly worrisome is the fact that these vapid television programs depict people who are anything but real. The titillating factors of human nature are generally accepted as part of being curious, but to what end? Often flanked in sexuality, the celebrities that achieve their fame and make millions do so because of a body part, a sex tape, poor conduct, or some other type of behavior that warrants attention rather than goodness, kindness, or compassion. As a former television producer, I know that sex sells, yelling sells, and the more untoward the behavior, the better the reception and the higher the ratings.

In the 1980s, I was a television producer for a major network, and I was told, actually commanded, by my boss to book a member of the Nazi party to debate a woman whose son was recently murdered by the same. I refused. My career in TV ended that day.