Celebrity Nation: How America Evolved into a Culture of Fans and Followers

Celebrity Nation: How America Evolved into a Culture of Fans and Followers

by Landon Y. Jones
Celebrity Nation: How America Evolved into a Culture of Fans and Followers

Celebrity Nation: How America Evolved into a Culture of Fans and Followers

by Landon Y. Jones

Hardcover

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Overview

A former People magazine editor reveals how our cult of celebrity has shaped our politics, our culture, and our personal lives—for better or worse

From the writer and editor who coined the term “baby boomer” comes Celebrity Nation, an exploration into how and why fame no longer stems only from heroic achievements but from the number of “likes” and shares—and what this change means for American culture. Landon Jones—who spent decades in “celebrityland” only to emerge, like Alice, blinking in the sunlight—brings a personal and first-person perspective on fame and its dark underbelly, complicated even further by the arrival of the internet and social media.

Jones draws on his experience as the former managing editor of People magazine to bolster his account with profiles of celebrities he knew personally, ranging from Malcolm X to Princess Diana, as well as observations about contemporary social media stars like Kim Kardashian and computer-generated macro-influencer Miquela, a self-proclaimed “19-year-old Robot living in LA.” In analyzing the stories of over 75 celebrities, spanning decades and industries, Jones shows how celebrity has been wielded as a weapon of mass distraction to spawn narcissism, harm, and loneliness.

And yet, in these stories we also see a path forward. Jones highlights luminaries like Nobel Peace prize winner Maria Ressa and lauded environmental activist Greta Thunberg, who have effected meaningful change not by glorifying themselves but by turning to their communities for action. A lively analysis of celebrity culture’s impact on nearly every facet of our lives, Celebrity Nation helps us to recognize how the apparatus of fame operates.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807065655
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publication date: 05/09/2023
Pages: 216
Sales rank: 679,502
Product dimensions: 5.71(w) x 8.78(h) x 0.87(d)

About the Author

Landon Y. (Lanny) Jones is an editor and author. He is the former managing editor of People and Money magazines and the author of William Clark and the Shaping of the West (2004), a biography of the co-leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Jones also edited a selection of the expedition journals, The Essential Lewis and Clark (2000). In 1980, he published Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom Generation, which coined the phrase “baby-boomer” and was a finalist for the American Book Award in Nonfiction. In 2015, he received the Henry R. Luce Award for Lifetime Achievement from Time Inc. He is from St. Louis, Missouri, and currently resides in Princeton, New Jersey.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION
The Celebrity-Industrial Complex

CHAPTER 1
How It Started

CHAPTER 2
Bread and Circuses: The History of Fame

CHAPTER 3
The Dark Side of Celebrity

CHAPTER 4
When Big Names Did Good Works

CHAPTER 5
Sex, Lies, and Social Media

CHAPTER 6
How Celebrities Hijacked Heroes

CHAPTER 7
Celebrity Worship

CHAPTER 8
The Selling of Celebrity

CHAPTER 9
The Human Costs of Celebrity

CHAPTER 10
Swimming with Narcissus

CHAPTER 11
Stories Celebrities Tell

CHAPTER 12
Shape-Shifting: Cameos and Podcasts

CHAPTER 13
“R U Real?”

CHAPTER 14
The Future of Fame

Acknowledgments
Notes
Index
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