Study: American Celebrities Now Outnumber Fans
Los Angeles, March 19, 2010 -- Andy Warhol's famous phrase, “In the future, everyone will be fat and slightly stupid,” correctly prognosticated two alarming social trends that have led to a sharp rise in the incidences of heart disease, diabetes, right-wing talk radio and other obesity-related maladies among the ever-larger American populace.
What the eccentric 1960s pop artist failed to predict, however, is another trend that now has sociological statisticians scratching their unkempt scalps: the remarkable rise in short-term celebrity status among citizens from all walks of life.
“For the first time, according to our projections,” Dr. K. Phillip Townsend, a statistician at Rutgers University in New Jersey who many remember from his three-week appearance on Fox's Tenured and Untamed last spring, said, “America now has more celebrities than fans.”
The trend, which pegs the celebrity-to-fan ratio at 52:48, is due to multiple factors including the proliferation of venues for reality television, politics, sporting events, and tabloid news outlets, but more to do with a substantial “lowering of the bar” required for elevation of an ordinary person to celebrity status, according to Dr. Townsend.
“When I was a kid,” Dr. Sherry Griffith, 47, a co-sponsor of the research, said, “generally you had to actually accomplish something of note to become famous. Now it seems to be enough to simply perform a fairly stupid bit of research and get your name in the paper.”
“Dr. Griffith is way hotter than that Tenured dork Townsend,” Sue Pinkitoe, head and charter member of the San Andreas chapter of the Sherry Griffith fan club, said. “She really knows how to put a quote together. I've started trimming my eyebrows just like her.”
Ms. Pinkitoe, who said she plans to use her new fame as a weapon against “global insecurity”, will be appearing at a quote-signing at the Barnes & Noble bookstore on E. Del Mar Blvd., Pasadena, Tuesday between 9:35 and 9:45. Fans are advised to bring their own copies of this article to the signing.
“The celebrity-fan ratio was extremely difficult to measure accurately,” Dr. Townsend said, “due to the extraordinarily rapid influx of new 'celebrities' and the extremely rapid rate at which loyalties are formed and dissolved among a celebrity's fan base. Also, due to the 'somewhat stupid' trend forecast by Warhol, many fans find it difficult to focus on more than one celebrity at a time.”
“Fans tend to be fiercely loyal to a given celebrity for a period ranging from thirty seconds up to four days,” Dr. Griffith said. “At that point, either the celebrity is deposed by a new, bigger, brighter celebrity, or the fan's attention span is simply unable to sustain further interest. Either way, the fan moves on and the celebrity is left out in the cold. This is also part of the reason, we believe, behind the dangerous rates of anti-depressant use among celebrities and former celebrities like, for example, Dr. Townsend over there. Just believe in yourself, Phil. Every cloud has a silver lining.”
Rupert Ioderm, an unemployed temporary worker who attained brief celebrity status yesterday evening during his appearance on “Dancing With the Unemployed Temporary Workers” on the Lifestyle channel, said he had been painfully affected by what he calls “post-crawl depression”, referring to the euphoria an ephemeral celebrity experiences on seeing his or her name briefly appear in the news crawl at the bottom of the television screen, only to never appear there again.
“When I saw my name flickering by with the headline 'Ioderm Wins Dancing With Temps Round 1, Chokes in Runoff', I thought I'd finally found my calling,” Mr. Ioderm said. “To be famous for having had my name appear in the crawl. Life feels so empty and meaningless now. The crawl is gone. The crawl is gone away.”
Mr. Ioderm will be appearing next month on “Losers in the News” and “Dancing with the temps: a retrospective”, both on the E network.
By Ion Zwitter, Avant News Editor
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