I don’t even care about “JOOOOOO!!!”-y comments anymore, I’ll be honest…
This state of affairs was predicted by Arthur C. Clarke and J.G. Ballard (“A kind of banalisation of celebrity has occurred: we are now offered an instant, ready-to-mix fame as nutritious as packet soup”) and lesser SF writers (see Joel Henry Sherman’s 1990 story “The Bogart Revival”). But none of these authors required particularly acute foresight to envision it.
One need only look up at the ceiling of the Capitol Rotunda, and recoil at the sight of George Washington being assumed into heaven like the Virgin Mary in drag, to realize that America’s febrile relationship with the “great” has long required twisting certain men and women, without their consent, into self-indulgent talismans and salable souvenirs. (…)
We’re told that we can judge a society by how it treats its animals, and its prisoners, but what if we can judge it, too, by how it treats its celebrities (who are, in some respects, a hybrid of both)? The modern famous are, paradoxically, rare and ubiquitous. There has only been and ever will be one Sinatra, one Marilyn—and yet there they are, too, over on that shower curtain, and this cookie jar, revered banalities.