19/12/2009

What does 'Celebrity' mean?

“The word ‘Celebrity,’ in our present ‘Celebrity Society’ covers a multitude of sins,” Mr. Amory wrote in a prefatory note. “It does not mean, for example, accomplishment in the sense of true or lasting worth — rather it often means simply accomplishment in the sense of popular, or highly publicized, temporary success.”

Thus, Mortimer Adler, the Great Books impresario, shared a page with Polly Adler, the Prohibition era’s most prominent madam. The entry on Senator John W. Bricker, an ultra-conservative Republican, faced a column on Harry Bridges, the left-wing San Francisco union organizer. Two short paragraphs on the TV comedian Dagmar preceded three scarcely longer ones on the Dalai Lama.

From here.