Fame in The Onion’s A.V. Club

Click here to read the full review – Fame: What The Classics Tell Us About Our Cult of Celebrity (A.V. Club Review)


“[...] Fame isn’t a simple reduction of modern celebrity culture to we’ve-seen-this-before status, or a cheap attempt to fuse philosophy to the flavor of the month. Payne’s questions and answers have a distinctly modern feel, a semiological argument that recalls Roland Barthes’ Mythologies (which Payne also cites) as much as it does ancient Greek mythology. The book is at its best in the passages where he discusses the symbolic meaning of our perception of the famous, not just its similarity to that of the past. A canny chapter on our interpretation of celebrity beauty focuses on the question of what Kate Winslet really looks like: ‘On the one hand, we don’t really know,’ Payne observes, ‘but we’re quick to complain when we see a photograph of her that doesn’t look like her.’”

– Leonard Pierce, The Onion’s A.V. Club


“Erudite and vastly entertaining… A charming, contrarian, and very witty look at how our stargazing can be ‘something that bonds us, and which expresses something about how our civilization works.’”

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