From the writer and editor who coined the term "baby boomer" comes Celebrity Nation, an exploration into how and why fame no longer stems only from heroic achievements but from the number of "likes" and shares--and what this change means for American culture. Landon Jones--who spent decades in "celebrityland" only to emerge, like Alice, blinking in the sunlight--brings a personal and first-person perspective on fame and its dark underbelly, complicated even further by the arrival of the internet and social media.
Jones draws on his experience as the former managing editor of People magazine to bolster his account with profiles of celebrities he knew personally, ranging from Malcolm X to Princess Diana, as well as observations about contemporary social media stars like Kim Kardashian and computer-generated macro-influencer Miquela, a self-proclaimed "19-year-old Robot living in LA." In analyzing the stories of over 75 celebrities, spanning decades and industries, Jones shows how celebrity has been wielded as a weapon of mass distraction to spawn narcissism, harm, and loneliness.
And yet, in these stories we also see a path forward. Jones highlights luminaries like Nobel Peace prize winner Maria Ressa and lauded environmental activist Greta Thunberg, who have effected meaningful change not by glorifying themselves but by turning to their communities for action. A lively analysis of celebrity culture's impact on nearly every facet of our lives, Celebrity Nation helps us to recognize how the apparatus of fame operates. (Beacon Press)