“Our celebrity captivation seems out of proportion,” says Michael S. Levy, PhD, addiction expert and author of CELEBRITY & ENTERTAINMENT OBSESSION: Understanding Our Addiction.
Dr. Levy wrote CELEBRITY & ENTERTAINMENT OBSESSION to shed light on why we as a society are obsessed with people who work in the entertainment field—movies and television in particular—but singers, musicians sports figures and people on reality TV as well. Dr. Levy, whose previous book, Take Control of Your Drinking…and You May Not Need to Quit, resonated with many people, finds it remarkable that people who work in the entertainment field get more recognition and adoration than a competent brain surgeon who saves people’s lives, or a pathologist who has made inroads in cancer treatment.
This wasn’t always the case. Sixty years ago, a Gallup Poll study showed that people who were most admired included Einstein, Winston Churchill, Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur. Not one entertainer, sports star or media personality made the list. Fast-forward to 2000 – 2009 and we have stars like Bono, Tiger Woods, and Denzel Washington making the list.
Dr. Levy can discuss society’s obsession with beauty, how our vulnerability to addiction, our need for idols and our voyeuristic predispositions all contribute to our celebrity obsession as well as:
• How the mass media controls our thinking, the nature of our social intercourse and interactions with each other and our preoccupation with celebrities
• How the media exploits our voyeurism and how our voyeurism serves as a form of distraction and amusement
• Why being entertained has become our primary preoccupation
• Why celebrities’ real-life, off-screen stories get more publicity than anything they have done in their careers
Dr. Levy laments that television news programs focus as much, if not more, on the lives of high-profile celebrities than about other more important issues of the day. He believes that our obsession with entertainers is something to be concerned about since we will have missed opportunities to learn from others who could provide us with valuable ideas and standards for our young people. While the entertainment machine has given us a quick fix to feel good, Dr. Levy asks: “is our obsession with celebrities the best use our time? What will be important to reflect on at the end of our lives: Will it be what we knew about some celebrity or might it be something else?”
Title: Celebrity & Entertainment Obsession
Author: Michael S. Levy
Genre: Psychology | Obsession & Addiction
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Published: August 6, 2015
FTC Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via iRead Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed are mine.
Michael S. Levy, PhD, tackles an interesting phenomenon among members of our society in his new book, Celebrity & Entertainment Obsession: Understanding Our Addiction. The fascination and obsession with celebrity in this country has catapulted to new heights in the last several decades.
As a child in the 1950-60s, conversations among my mother, grandmother, and aunts about their daytime soap operas confused me. Their shared thoughts sounded as if the characters on TV were their best friends or perhaps their worst enemies. Today I have no patience or understanding of the reasons behind the obsession with Hollywood stars, football greats, and others constantly in the limelight.
Dr. Levy’s book presents the results of studies, statistics, surveys and more to unravel for the interested just how this phenomenon comes into play in our already busy lives. Dr. Levy writes:
My decision for writing this book is to shed light on why we as a society are obsessed with [entertainers] and with being entertained. A secondary goal is to wake people up so they can view themselves through a different lens and with a changed perspective. (p. xiii)
In setting out his beliefs and observations, Dr. Levy shows how entertainment and the persons working as entertainers, news media, sports and more consume our leisure time and make us feel good. In our search for happiness and contentment, our vulnerability to addictions of many kinds has allowed this obsession with glamorous, powerful, strong people and their lifestyles to consume our thoughts and minds via the use of media connections.
It is my belief that anyone who wishes to understand more about our need and desire to live vicariously through the rich and the famous will gain much insight by reading Celebrity & Entertainment Obsession: Understanding Our Addiction.
Michael S. Levy, PhD is a clinical psychologist who is the director of substance use services at North Shore Medical Center in Salem, Massachusetts. He also maintains a private practice in psychotherapy in Andover, Massachusetts and is a lecturer in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He has often been interviewed on radio and television. Levy has published numerous articles and book chapters, gives many lectures and workshops, and is the author of one previous book, Take Control of Your Drinking…And You May Not Need to Quit.
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