Call in sick with a bad case of celebrity
Carlos D, the bassist from Interpol, hits upon what I’ve been saying for years. That celebrity is a disease, and that it turns you crazy.
Now, I’d like to quickly point out a few things before (if) you read this.
1. Is Carlos D really that big of a celebrity? I like Interpol but I would have no idea if I ran into Big D at an Orange Julius, or any other citrus-flavored frozen beverage vendor. In fact, I didn’t even know the dude’s name until like 6 minutes ago.
2. This litle essay reads like something I would have written for Epistemology Class (which was, by all accounts, a joke and a half), or maybe like some piece of Scientology literature…which makes it, to a point, absurd. However, it must be remembered that it was written by a celebrity, so he’s clearly insane. I do agree with it very much, though, on the whole.
3. Apparently he made a short about this. It’s going to be in Wholfin. John? Any input?
4. Yes, I’m getting a lot of my news from pitchfork lately. But hey, it’s on my RSS feed, so…deal with it
THE ONSET OF CELEBRITY
Celebrity is a kind of affliction, a malaise, in essence, a condition.
It is part of a psychosis derived from the overabundance of positive value assignments made by a crowd choosing a particular visage to carry these assignments.
The wearer of this visage experiences this assignment as something against his will. And thus, understanding that he will never be able to meet all the people who have assigned his visage this positive value within his lifetime, as there are too many to meet in the limited time frame of his lifespan, the wearer of the visage experiences this fact as a wound. This deep wound leads to the psychosis called the onset of celebrity.
The inability of the man to manage all of these positive value assignments within his lifetime is a crisis of identity in that he no longer is in charge of his face; the crowd has taken it from him.
Upon the onset of celebrity the man experiences a fundamental rupture within his psyche that transforms him into the famed-ego.
From the moment of the onset, the path of the famed-ego leads inexorably to dehumanization. The famed-ego is in a continual state of mismanagement of its relationships with the crowd as it is powerless to control the gradations of esteem accrued upon the visage of the person ensconced around it. This abject powerlessness produces a failure in causality between choice and consequence, reducing the famed-ego to a state of total arbitrariness.
The visage is the chief signifier of singular, personal identity; it is the meeting-point between the subjective reality of the ego and the objective reality outside of the ego. Since the famed-ego is in a continual state of mismanagement of this gateway, the social reality that has inundated it with positive value assignments has effectively stolen his face.
In this vacuum of meaning, the famed-ego is disconnected from the self’s personhood. The inability to establish meaning for itself places the famed-ego in an interminable bind of nihilism of action, a purgatory where no action or reaction produces stability nor stepping-stone to personal fulfillment. This is existential imprisonment, which is to say a total loss of free will. The self can not feel its own humanity, know or show love; the crowd has stolen the face and with that, the self collapses into the void of the onset of celebrity.
There is no break from this condition, no more than a person in a wheelchair may break from his affliction and walk on two feet for a moment. Because the onset of celebrity is an attenuation on the value of the visage dictated by a social imperative, it places the famed-ego in a space over which it has no control, under a condition of paralysis. The famed-ego inhabits a world in which the social reality blockades its path choices. These blockades have a logic known only to the collective responsible for positioning them, but the famed-ego has no epistemological access to this logic. Thus, the famed-ego experiences its reality as caprice.
Shackled in the catacomb of a universe of caprice, the famed-ego is barred from participation in the agreement of the crowd; so it continues its life in isolation from the crowd, in its own separate universe. As the agreed-upon social reality of the crowd rubs against the isolation-universe of the famed ego, a rupture from historical complicity occurs. In its isolation, the famed-ego is banned from the shared historicity the crowd enjoys.
Celebrity is indeed a psychosis. But as one can glean from this account, it is no simple hallucination nor mental condition. It is not treatable by medication or therapy. It is an ontic-psychosis, a psychosis not of the mind but of existence, the existence of the merciless electrical current that bonds the crowd with the famed-ego.
The affliction of the onset of celebrity is a result of one of the logics of the ontic plenum established by the crowd via their positive value assignment to the visage. Thus, the famed-ego can not even locate a point of origin for its psychosis within the development of its own ideation. That point of origin is located from without the famed-ego’s universe, at some arbitrary coordinate within the ontic plenum of the crowd logic.
If celebrity is a malaise, it is a malaise acquiring its élan from social forces willingly conspiring with each other in a type of concealed Totentanz. This interaction congeals to the phenomenal realm, to the universe of things.
Celebrity is not just psychosis, a distortion of cognition isolated to synaptic verities of particular mentation. It is ontic psychosis, a condition in which the psychopath is a unity of social forces that bond the crowd with the famed-ego and thrust the condition of celebrity into the milieu of an ontic plenum established via social contract. Thus, the ontology of celebrity relies heavily on the understanding that existence is an agreed upon reality.