Probably because I have spent most of my life in the entertainment business, I am often interested, I would even say taken aback, to see the adulation, I would even say hysteria, that the famous persons in our societies generate. The famous and accomplished we know are magnets in their societies, with each nation consumed by its own exceptional people, and, while there are many categories for it, nowhere is the process more vividly in play than in entertainment and sport. Famous movie or television stars, favourite music performers, and sports figures probably lead the pack, but there are high achievers in other fields – popular politicians are also confronted with this outburst – to the point of often needing security people or bodyguards.
This week, that “fan” behaviour is powerfully on view as the soccer World Cup is engaging us at every turn, and the television pictures are happily expanding the experience. In the recent surprising defeat of Argentina by Croatia, the extent of the pull that these popular figures have on us came across powerfully on the TV. No commentary was necessary. The grief-stricken Argentine fans in the stands, both young and cold, conveyed instantly the extent of the shock. The players themselves mirrored it, staring blankly into space. There was Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi wandering the field alone with a look of bewilderment on his face, and several of his team-mates were in tears or holding their heads in disbelief.
Adulation also comes to successful writers, to legendary business figures, and to a range of other standouts, but a case can certainly be made that it is in the entertainment sector, widely, that is to say sport and musical performances, where the most frenzy occurs. Some of America’s well known rock stars have literally had their clothing ripped by fanatic followers, and there is the memorable footage of young girls being carried out by security people after they fainted at a Beatles’ performance. ….