The Tour Book
Meet Cher! And Other Opportunities for the Obsessed

Politics and Celebrity Obsession

Olympia There are two peripheral subjects I’d like to talk about this week.

For one, during my morning radio this week, the movie Moonstruckwas featured prominently. Apparently a New Yorker named Harriet was thrown out of the Democratic Party’s Rules and Bylaws meeting last weekend (the one regarding the Florida and Michigan delegates) for refusing to stop sounding like Olympia Dukakis in Moonstruck. The Stephanie Miller Showkept doing funny between Harriet’s “you’re throwing the election away and for what..?” with Cher’s Moonstruck-mom’s “Your whole life’s goin down the toilet.” Then they’d do the Cher drop “Snap out of it.”

For the record, Cher was supporting Hillary. I liked her reasoning: men have mucked it up for too long. However, I have been supporting Obama because every time Hillary gives a speech or makes an argument in a debate, she talks with the same spin that makes me crazy when the Republicans do it. I know Hillary is supposed to be a great gal behind the scenes; I know Obama and Hillary have basically the same platforms; I know Obama could be a slick as slick is, too, just like any other politician and not the wonderkind we're all making him out to be. But I have more respect for the campaigns he’s run thus far, including his civility under fire, his financial acuity with his fundraising, and his leadership with his staff.

And becauseI’m a feminist in 2008, I have the freedom to vote based on issues beyond gender. It’s one of the perks of being a free-thinkin gal. I’d definitely support Chelsea’s bid if she ever chose to make one. I’d also vote for the fabulous Barbara Boxer and would have loved to have seen a President Ann Richards.

In any case, here's Olympia’s breakfast scene with Cher (and those fabulous eggs, too): Unfortunately no "You got a love bite on your neck" or "Your whole life’s goin down the toilet!"

And here's Harriet:

Last week I finished the book “Why is it Always About You? The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism” by Sandy Hotchkiss, a book my therapist recommended to me because she has ascertained I grew up with a level of dysfunction this book would pertain to.

But at the end, the book talks about cultural narcissism and how celebrity obsession contributes to it. Actually, it's a bit of astute pop-culture commentary, which is what I study on this site and over on the site Ape, and what I participate willingly in as a Cher-obsessed American. I’m in the thick of it, so to speak;and yet I’m compelled to reflect on it like an outsider. In one way I can have my cake and eat it too. But on the other hand, that means I’m still fat.

Here is the excerpt from the book. We should think about this with our current particular celebrity obsessions.

Distortions of Reality: "Image is Everything"

From political leaders to sports "heroes," from business moguls to entertainment figures, the people who seem best able to evade consequences in today's world are those who can fabricate and project the images we want to see. Manufactured image is one of the pillars of power, and people--along with those who would aspire to power--rely on "spin doctors," agents, publicists, press secretaries, and media consultants to control how we perceive them. We look on with jaded eye, knowing we are being manipulated but enjoying the show. Eventually, reality grows so distorted that we no longer know who are what to believe. We find ourselves in a narcissistic funhouse without a clue what's behind the mirrors. We become mistrustful of our own perceptions, alienated not only from each other but from ourselves as well.

Yet we can't seem to tear ourselves away from the illusions. When image is everything, we lose our appetite for what is real. We stand before a groaning board of pretty puff pastry and think we are about to eat a meal. A proliferation of images without substance stimulates our senses but leaves us spiritually malnourished and craving more. So we return to the buffet again and again. Though they are no more than empty calories, we internalize these images as cultural ideals, and they provide the scripts by which we judge our own worth and that of everything that touches our lives. It is through them that we come to know what is beautiful, what is good, what is desirable, and what has meaning.

The power of images is an extremely seductive force. Ask the 1,840 American girls under the age of nineteen who had breast augmentation surgery in 1998...The majority of these teens raided their college funds..."

With those thoughts rambling around my head,  these questions result:

  • How do you feel about yourself physically or career wise? Do your feelings have anything to do with something you saw recently on the red carpet?
  • How do you feel about your neighbors worth and value – do you even know your neighbors?
  • Does Angelina Jolie's childbirth grip you with as much anticipation as your neighbors’ impending childbirth news? Why or why not?
  • Considering your actions or feelings for your celebrity obsession will never have any substantial impact on your life or theirs, does a celebrity obsession make any sense?

I’m not talking about being mildly inspired to make changes in your life and move on. I’m talking about the day-to-day minutia of “Look Celebrities Eat Fig Newtons Just Like We Do” and the current hysteria of late-breaking celebrity news. Why again do we care about Brad Pitts latest shopping spree?



Psychologists have indicated that though many people obsess over glamorous film, television, sport and pop stars, others have unlikely icons such as politicians or authors. The only common factor between them is that they are all figures in the public eye (i.e., celebrities). The term Celebrity Worship Syndrome is in fact a misnomer.

The term celebrity worship syndrome (CWS) first appeared in an article 'Do you worship the celebs?' by James Chapman in the Daily Mail in 2003 (Chapman, 2003). James Chapman was basing his article on the journal paper Maltby et al. (2003). James Chapman refers to CWS, but in fact this is a misunderstanding of a term used in the academic article to which he refers (Maltby et al. 2003), CWS which stood for Celebrity Worship Scale. Nonetheless Chapman may be generally correct. A syndrome refers to a set of abnormal or unusual set of symptoms indicating the existence of an undesirable condition or quality. Indeed many attitudes and behaviours covered in this research indicate such states.

Although I have been told I obsess over Cher at times,
This measure contains attitudes that fans are attracted to a favorite celebrity because of their perceived ability to entertain and become a social focus such as “I love to talk with others who admire my favorite celebrity” and “I like watching and hearing about my favorite celebrity when I am with a large group of people”.


I have lived my whole life believing in magic and fun and joy and enjoyment and excitement and goodness and fairness and equality and acceptance and encouragement and the beauty of Nature and people and animals and the world I live in...

Wanting the best for me and everyone else...

Thinking I and everyone else have the right to wake up every day and "FEEL" and live like Auntie Mame!!!!

BUT, the longer I live and the older I get; I realize I was and still am the only one whomever really thought that way or believed that way or tried to live my life that way...

While everyone else were and still are only interested in their own selfish, greedy,
secretive, jealous, predjudice,competitive lives and trying to live up to the "white-man's" 12-month, christian calendar..

No cares about Truth or Spirit!!! Their own or anyone elses...

Cher Scholar

Rosa and jimmydean...I love those posts you just left...I really do.

Cher Scholar

Speaking of adding authors and politicians into the mix...I finally came face to face with the poet I most admired for the last 10 years at the LA Book Festival last April. And man, was he a jerk with nothing really interesting to say. I had kind of a crisis over it. But I'm better now.


Is it possible for the concept of celebrity (in one form or another) not to exist in humanity? Isn't it instinctual 'status'?

Cher Scholar

I think as long as we yearn to rank our neighbors in popularity, fame and celebrity will always exist - good point. I think what's disturbing is not that we give attention to what's famous, but when we ignore too much what's not famous. As long as we have balance in our lives, society seems to function well. When we lose track of what's happening in our own neighborhoods, either people can take advantage of us (politicians), or we can become very isolated and lonely (with only our TV friends to help us during hard times).


Sorry to hear about your wedding postponement.

Did you ever get the files I sent you with Dark Lady and Shoop Shoop?

Question: I'm looking to purchase "Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean" on DVD. I have it VHS. The site you recommended
"i Offer" is selling a copy. Was it ever distributed on DVD??

Cher Scholar

I did Rosa - did you get my reply? Yes...Jimmy Dean is available on DVD but I don't know who put it together. Do a google search for "Come back to the five and dime DVD" and you can find some odd sites selling it.

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