Wednesday, 9 February 2011, 6:00PM
Museum of London

The Making of Modern Celebrity: Famous for fifteen minutes - and longer

Professor Christopher Cook

The historian Daniel Boorstin famously defined a celebrity as "a person who is well-known for his well-knownness."

A person who is famous for simply being famous is hardly a modern phenomenon. On the publication of Childe Harold, Byron declared that he went to bed and woke up famous.  However, Byron was a poet and subsequent celebrities generally had proven talent as well as the knack of achieving an exalted social status based on fame alone - or even notoriety.

While the modern celebrity may possess a talent, that is no longer the sine qua non of achieving celebrity status. Increasingly that status would seem to be dependent on, and indeed to a great extent, manufactured, by the mass media.

This lecture will explore the nature of contemporary celebrity, how it is 'manufactured' by the media and what has been called the 'celebrification' of our culture.

This is the first of two lectures.  The second will be held on 9 March.

professor-christopher-cook

Christopher Cook is a broadcaster and journalist. His work can be found in places such as the Guardian and the New Statesman, as well as on BBC radio. His current academic work includes positions at Syracuse University, London Centre and American University (London Programme).

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9 February 2011

The Making of Modern Celebrity: Famous for fifteen minutes - and longer
Professor Christopher Cook

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