2 months ago

What makes celebrities is mysterious and yet so obvious

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Celebrities are those who can be celebrated for their popular but outstanding performances. Not all great achievers, even Nobel Prize winners are celebrities. But the Latin word celebritas which originates from celeber or celebr meaning frequented or honoured is more authentic in meaning than the modern expression. The word does not, however, come directly from Latin to English; it comes from Old French Celebrite and in the late Middle English it used to mean 'solemn ceremony' quite different from the images today's celebrities project in different fields of human endeavour.

Earlier, accomplishers of great feats were called heroes. With the social sites announcing their highly influential arrivals, there have been celebrities galore. Athletes have ever been regarded as heroes ever since Pheidippides, an ancient Greek courier, ran 26 miles from the town of Marathon to Athens to give the message of the Greek victory over the Persians in a decisive battle. The origin of marathon race rightly or wrongly is attributed to this event.

But in this age of cheap publicity, there is a frenetic jostling for getting into the limelight. Every day, the newspapers here now set aside exclusive space for models, tinsel town debutants or established stars or drama artistes. The way some of the rising starlets are presented such as bare-all or in skimpy dresses gives the idea behind the crazy urgency.

Hero-worshipping has now turned into fan clubs and follower groups or simply followers on the social media. Apart from the Dhallywood, Tollywood and B-town stars and starlets, sportspersons hold the iconic value for fans. Then there are singers who also pull huge crowds whenever they perform. Many of the highly admired performers of classical music are unlikely to feel comfortable with the tag of celebrity. Their devotion, commitment and enlightenment leave them a class apart. But it is the performers of the more popular brands who would care for their followers and also compete with their contemporaries on this count.

Not all are, however, of the stature of Arijit Singh, A Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Beyonce, Madona and so on. They have each caused a storm in the world of performance. Equally, sportsperson from footballers to cricketers, to tennis players to sprinters all have their well established celebrity status. Sure enough, their persona have something special about them. They have moved up the scale of popularity and a kind of blind reverence even scientists and teachers cannot dream of.

The special focus on celebrities is not devoid of money power. Socialites want to cut a made-up superiority from the rest of society. But even they do not command a small fraction of spells the celebrities in the music, film and sports worlds web on fans. Money earned by them is beyond calculation. When the top heroes and heroines take Rs 10-1.5 billion for performing in a Bollywood film, how does it make any sense. Even the scientists who have been involved with the Chandrayaan project cannot think of earning a fraction of such fabulous sums.

Clearly, the era of publicity has misplaced some priorities. That the ordinary people cherish a dream in their bosoms secretly is no doubt but they do not know how to realise it. When they see a Usain Bolt, a Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, A Messi, a Ronaldo perform at their best, they derive a vicarious pleasure. Whether the money they earn is justified or not hardly matters to them. Indeed, prodigies and highly talented performers in every field or art and sports inspire others to follow suit. Their influence at times proves decisive and this is why they are shortlisted among the most influential persons in the world.

Publicity at times may highlight the mediocre and the below par talented ones exaggeratedly. The competition is getting tougher in the world of celebrities but some have come to stay and the rest will disappear after causing an initial ripple.

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