The Austrian child prodigy, whose masterpieces include Don Giovanni, is acknowledged as one of the most talented composers in history. While Kardashian is a reality tv star, serial endorser and partner of a famous rap artist. And yet according to a new book Celebrity Culture, KK is truly talented.
Author Ellis Cashmore believes the concept of talent is in need of redefinition in the age of celebrity. “We assume it refers to a natural aptitude, a God-given gift or some sort of innate skill, but talent is much like beauty – in the eye of the beholder,” says Cashmore, a Professor of Culture, Media and Sport at Staffordshire University, UK.
He argues that cultures determine what is or isn’t talent. “We marvel at the so-called gifts of the footballer Lionel Messi,” says Cashmore. “But, in the early nineteenth century, proficiency in controlling and kicking a ball would have been seen as a pointless, trivial capacity.”
Talent is a question of acknowledgement rather than something that resides in us. “If we all find someone like Kim or, for that matter, any of today’s celebrities who fascinate us, though for no obvious reason, engaging, then perhaps we attribute them with talent.
Cashmore’s new book is a comprehensive account of the emergence of celebrity culture, which, he argues, seeps into every aspect of modern society, from politics to cooking. “Even people who insist they aren’t interested in celebs are affected, even by listening to their radios, reading their newspapers or eavesdropping on their way to work.”
|Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart|