Thursday, February 27, 2020

#58 / Star Power 101

Pictured in the foreground is Professor Anita Elberse. She has built her academic career teaching celebrities how to be even more famous than they already are, and how to make a lot more money, too!

Click right here to read a Wall Street Journal article about this "celebrity professor" (presuming you can slide by the paywall, of course).

At thirty-eight, Elberse became one of the youngest women ever to earn tenure at Harvard Business School. Now forty-six, the professor leads an executive course where Grammy winners and MVPs "learn to leverage their talents and compete in the business world."

If you think about it, our current president is exactly the kind of person whom Elberse could point to as a real success story. Maybe that should give us pause, as we think about our celebration of celebrity.

I am not as positive about Elberse's idea of what a good education should be all about as The Wall Street Journal apparently is. I also think that "celebrity," as a category, is one of which we ought to be mightily suspicious. 

If "everyone has his own special gift," then celebrating "celebrities" is implicitly one of those "comparisons are odious" type activities that drain each one of us of our own unique "agency." 

"Celebrities" will continue to bedazzle us as long as we let ourselves be star struck. 

My advice? Look in the mirror! Take seriously this thought from the Italian playwright (and judge) Ugo Betti

That's what's needed, don't you see? 
Nothing else matters half so much. 
To reassure one another. 
To answer each other. 
Perhaps only you can listen to me and not laugh. 
Everyone has, inside himself ... what shall I call it? 
A piece of good news! 
Everyone is ... a very great, very important character! 
Yes, that's what we have to tell them up there! 
Every man must be persuaded - even if he is in rags - that he's immensely, immensely important!

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