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Gamson examines the contemporary "dream machine" that publicists, tabloid newspapers, journalists, and TV interviewers use to create semi-fictional icons. He finds that celebrity watchers, for whom spotting celebrities becomes a spectator sport akin to watching football or fireworks, glean their own rewards in a game that turns as often on playing with inauthenticity as on identifying with stars.
Gamson also looks at the "celebritization" of politics and the complex questions it poses regarding image and reality. He makes clear that to understand American public culture, we must understand that strange, ubiquitous phenomenon, celebrity.
|List of Illustrations|
|Introduction: Explaining Angelyne||1|
|1||The Great and the Gifted: Celebrity in the Early Twentieth Century||15|
|2||The Name and the Product: Late Twentieth-Century Celebrity||40|
|4||The Negotiated Celebration||79|
|5||Props, Cues, and the Advantages of Not Knowing: Audiences in the World of Celebrity Production||108|
|6||Hunting, Sporting, and the Willing Audience: The Celebrity-Watching Tourist Circuit||129|
|7||Can't Beat the Real Thing: Production Awareness and the Problem of Authenticity||142|
|Conclusion: Celebrity, Democracy, Power, and Play||186|
|Appendix: Theoretical and Methodological Notes||197|