This survey of celebrity traces the nature of fame throughout the last millennium. In the middle ages only monarchs and top-level aristocrats were capable of achieving wide renown - a far cry from contemporary celebrity, which has found a springboard in new media formats such as Youtube and reality television, and has seemingly fulfilled Andy Warhol's well-known prediction that, "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes". As the voice behind BBC's Inside Out - East, documentarian David Whiteley knows a thing or two about mass appeal himself. Here, Whiteley's spry baritone is fluid and direct, while nevertheless betraying a hint of playfulness as he examines the fickle beast that is fame.
Learn about the idea that everyone has 15 Minutes of Fame with iMinds insightful audio knowledge series.
Commenting on the increasingly fleeting nature of celebrity, in 1968 artist Andy Warhol quipped: “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes”. In a twenty first-century world of reality TV and YouTube, it appears Warhol’s prediction has come true.
The changing nature of celebrity over time is an interesting backdrop to today’s short-lived fame. In the Middle Ages, only the monarchy and high aristocracy could claim to have anything like what we would call fame today. But with the absence of mass communication, most people did not even know what the king looked like. The imprint of his head on coins did not need to bear any likeness to reality because representation of power was seen as more important than any recognition in appearance.
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