Lite As Air
Few spectacles are closer to the American heart than that of the professional famous person. Celebrity-worship is our culture's vernacular faith, and (as the sociologist C. Wright Mills once said) our star system is the inevitable result of making a fetish out of competition. We venerate people who have done remarkable things, to be sure, but we don't let the scarcity of such people deprive us of the pleasure of venerating. Perpetually inventing stars out of thin air (and thereby degrading heroism) gives us the illusion that gloves-off competition really is a stimulus to community, not just to rapacity and isolation?that the few lucky winners in our winner-take-all game really can bring us meaningfully together, and perhaps reflect starlight on us, if we just seize the precious opportunities to take proper notice of them.