The usefulness of stars

Have you heard of Zhao Wei? She’s a Chinese actor, pop star, and business person. Or rather, was.

These days, when people in China search for her name, nothing shows up. She has disappeared. When people look up her films, her name doesn’t show up in the credits. Her memory has disappeared from the Chinese internet. More about that here.

The Chinese government has decided that celebrity culture gets in the way of people following the goals of the government, so it has made sure that the kind of celebrity that Zhao Wei was does not get to exist anymore. They hope that other celebrities will take the hint.

Closer home, a government that has ambitions of one day becoming as all-encompassing as China, is going about doing the same, but in a more cumbersome way. Every few months, a celebrity is dragged into some kind of made up “controversy” about sex or drugs or taxes. The idea seems to be that if one is made an example of, others will comply.

Note that my point is not that all celebrities are innocent. It is that the intention behind going after them is not innocent either. Not when actual murderers, rapists, and embezzlers have a free run of the country even as all this happens. My point is that if you look at the priorities of those who have incredible amounts of power over us (not actors BTW), you begin to notice a destructive pattern.

And this pattern has to be with those in power wanting to look a certain way when people view them. They want to be praised, to be seen as praiseworthy, and to be seen as deserving the praise that they have paid people to bestow upon them.

And that’s the domain of entertainers. They make people and causes look good. Control over those who create entertainment can, to a great degree, mean control over everything.

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