Celebrities As Symbols
I recently found a 2013 article I wrote about celebrities and symbols. As we veer into the election season, I’m reposting it as a reminder about how symbols work, how they are made to stand in for real people. You can supply your own examples from 2019…
Let’s start here: A museum. A show of photographs of celebrities. If you didn’t know who they were, if you hadn’t been “prepped,” most of the photos would barely register. You’d yawn and walk past them.
But because you have separate knowledge, the photos mean something. They refer to a whole host of material and background on famous people.
“Oh. That’s Jay Leno eating ice cream.”
Again, subtract that material and background and the photos are meaningless.
“That’s some guy eating ice cream. So what?”
The photos are symbols, in the sense that they refer, they point to something that isn’t there.
The photos have power because YOU make the jump from symbol to meaning. You’re doing it.
“Oh, look at that photo. That’s Jay. Tonight Show. Tells jokes. He and Letterman compete for ratings. Jay replaced Johnny Carson.”
Then there are your opinions and feelings. More background.
“Jay’s not that funny. They should have stayed with Conan. Television, what a waste of time. A distraction for the masses.”
You make the simple jump from an image to what it means.
And all these photos have something in common. They refer to someone who is famous.
You could say, “Wait a minute. Let’s make a distinction here. The photos don’t refer. The photos don’t refer to anything. They’re just sitting there, inside frames, hanging on the wall.”
And that’s true. You do the referring. You connect the photo to meaning, to background.
But this is equally true of all symbols. A photo of an American flag doesn’t really refer, either. It just sits there. You make the connection to 50 states, the Constitution, the country, etc. The photo doesn’t step down from the wall and tap you on the shoulder and talk to you about itself.
People INVEST power in a photo of John Lennon sitting on a porch smoking a cigarette. However, people believe the photo itself HAS power.
Now, we’re talking about the trick involving symbols. They’re basically empty. You fill in the emptiness.
All this becomes more interesting when you realize there are PR people and propagandists working around the clock to make you impart particular meaning to symbols. They’re not satisfied to have you supply your own meaning. No.
For example, the last thing they want is you supplying your own references to photos of Hillary Clinton. They want you to think: distinguished leader, much experience, first woman president, above party politics, brilliant mind, great sympathy for the plight of the less fortunate, etc.
They want to make the symbol of Hillary as specific as possible.
This is really why the speeches of politicians are so empty. Their handlers don’t want actual information to get in the way of how the symbol is being crafted. PR people, if they could, would have a presidential candidate come up to a microphone, stand there, smile, and say nothing.
They, the PR handlers, are already shaping the symbolic meaning of the image of the candidate. That’s all they care about. That’s the difference between winning and losing.
Just as television shows are really the breaks between commercials, an election campaign is just a break between symbol-manipulations for the masses.
A scholar could write a compelling and important history of the human race based entirely on how symbols are given meanings by propagandists.
Rulers and other leaders are celebrities. Their symbolic value is established and shaped. The whole idea is to get followers to invest meaning A,B,C in the image of the celeb, rather than meaning E,F,G.
In this case, what does meaning mean? Thoughts and feelings. Strong feelings.
“Bush will restore the republic.” Feel, feel, feel.
“Obama will bring unity to all peoples.” Feel, feel, feel.
But THEY (the propagandists) aren’t doing it to YOU in a vacuum. You’re consenting to the ploy. You’re injecting desired meaning. You’re not a helpless victim.
Here’s the kicker. If you know you’re injecting meaning, you know you’re creating something. So why not open that door wide?
Why not create with power? Why not create what you most profoundly want to?
Bottom line: everybody is an artist. So why not do something with that fact, instead of playing the symbol game?
This isn’t about withdrawing to a theoretically safe distance where you can refrain from injecting symbols with meaning. It’s about expressing your own energy and power in the world.
A final word about the amusing, wild, and wooly world of “channeling.” This is a perfect example of symbolism. The lecturer is purportedly obtaining all his information and wisdom from some entity in another dimension. The entity is the celebrity.
The audience is prepped to understand this relationship between the lecturer and the entity. So now, when the lecturer (medium) speaks, everything he says automatically has greater and higher meaning.
The symbolic reference to the entity is supplied by whom? The audience. They inject the “super-meaning.”
What would happen if the lecturer dispensed the same information, minus the prior assertion that he was getting it from a higher source? His audience would shrink to minimal size. People would walk out of the hall.
They would have no reason to stay. They aren’t being asked to inject that added dimension to the lecturer’s words. It’s a dud.
No gloss. No glitz. No celebrity. No deal.
And now, a final, final word. Who is the greatest celebrity in the universe?
I don’t care whether you believe in God or don’t believe in God. I don’t care whether you believe in Him on Sundays or every day of the week.
But the symbols of God, all the symbols that exist—these are the work of organized religions. They put out and promote and flash those symbols, for one reason: they want you to connect to God through their network and mesh of symbols.
Otherwise, they’d be out of business.
They don’t want you to connect to God through your own private faith. That would be a disaster for them. They have to have all those symbols. They have to get you to inject those symbols with their meaning. Because, then, you’re part of their club. You belong. You’re in their group.
So…do symbols have power? Is this serious business?
Is the Pope Catholic?
About the Author
Jon Rappoport is the author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29thDistrict of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at NoMoreFakeNews.com or OutsideTheRealityMachine.
(To read about Jon’s mega-collection, Exit From The Matrix, click here.)