What do Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise and Madonna have in common? Not much, escept the kind of blinding fame that turns relatively normal people into obsessive fans who would walk ten miles through a blizzard just to stand in celebrity garbage. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, the culture of fame. From one writer who sees celebrity as a grotesque, crippling disease, to actor Bruce Campbell on B-movies.
Cultural critic Cintra Wilson thinks American's fascination with fame is a grotesque, crippling disease. She tears into it in her book "A Massive Swelling." Wilson tells Steve Paulson that celebrity culture quickly reasserted itself after the September 11th attacks and is deeply ingrained in American society. Also, Jim Elledge is the co-editor (with Susan Swartwout) of "Real Things," an anthology of poetry that references popular culture. He tells Anne Strainchamps that poets use celebrities in a variety of ways, and reads a few examples.SEGMENT 2:
Bruce Campbell, (to his chagrin) still best known as "Ash" from "The Evil Dead" movies, talks with Jim Fleming about his memoir, "If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor." He talks about the making of the cult classic and says actors can still have successful careers, even if they never become cult heroes or mega-stars.SEGMENT 3:
Tyler Cowen makes the case in favor of celebrity culture in his book "What Price Fame." He tells Jim Fleming he has no problem with movie stars recommending political candidates, and that many celebrities use their clout to support charities or advance social causes. He even likes manufactured celebrities like The Monkees! Also, Paul Collins researched forgotten stars for his book "Banvard's Folly: Thirteen Tales of Renowned Obscurity, Famous Anonymity and Rotten Luck." He tells Steve Paulson about John Banvard's panoramic painting of the Mississippi River, and a hoax regarding a "lost" work of Shakespeare.Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 01-10-14-B.
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