Whistling in the dark

Yaffa Phillips writes sporadically

Archive for April 27th, 2007

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Fame Junkies: The Hidden Truths Behind America

Fame Junkies: The Hidden Truths Behind America’s Favorite Addiction

Fame Junkies by Jake Halpern subtitled “The Hidden Truths Behind America’s Favorite Addiction” is really interesting.

You can read about fame school, the expensive conventions precocious children go to be discovered and industries that have sprouted up to support this, celebrity assistants who subordinate their own lives for someone else (they have a support group!), a celebrity home mapmaker, obsessive Rod Stewart fans, police officers on stalker patrol, a retirement home for celebrities and more.

It also explores interesting theories and research.

Efforts to boost self-esteem in the classroom and in the home may have increased young people’s (already greater) tendency toward self-importance and narcissism. And in the age of reality television the perceived availability of fame means many young people do not have to face reality at all.

Belongingness theory – About craving social acceptance, social relations create happy chemicals in the brain and para-social relations with celebrities or characters on a show can induce the same thing.

Studies on Birging – basking in reflected glory (an example being college students wearing a school team jersey – when team wins vs. when they lose; also the language that gets used – “We won” vs. “They Won” or “They Lost” vs. “We Lost”)

A study with monkeys : ) on decision theory. Using a juice currency, monkeys were willing to pay to see frontal shots of dominant males or closeups of female hindquarters; and had to be paid [extra juice] to watch frontal female or subordinate males. It seems that acquiring this social information is useful for survival. Human obsession with celebrity may work the same way.

There’s lots of great stuff in here. Though I do think some of the studies created for the book could use some work. The research seems to reflect the commonsense idea that people who are secure in themselves and have stuff going on may need celebrity less in their lives. In healthy people, healthy doses can still be fun.

Catch A Mate

Catch A Mate

Catch a Mate by Gena Showalter is fun chic lit, a super quick, sexy read. Suspicious wives can go to the Catch a Mate agency to hire someone to tempt their boyfriends or husbands and confirm their suspicions. The women who work there as bait, especially Jillian Greene, have a very jaded and simple view of men – they are pigs – oink oink. Her opinion will of course change when explosive sparks fly with Marcus Brody – the male version of her.

While I enjoy historical romance (Johanna Lindsey) I do like well-done modern chic lit that reflects now. The business referenced in this book exists in our modern age (talk shows tell me so, it must be true). The one weird thing about the book – the female protagonist is involved in a sexual business, it is 2007, and her fantasy during a wild, anything goes romp is having the male protagonist go down on her. She has never had this experience and is surprised that he is an excited willing participant. Is that truly reflective of women’s experience in 2007? That makes me sad. :-(

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