The American Scholar: Celebrity Profiles

Phllip Lopate writes a good essay on the challenges of writing a celebrity profile. My take: Just as Plato argued that ideal leaders would be so well-balanced that they would not desire to lead (and thus would not have the power-lust that would enable them to rise above their competitors), it follows that ideal celebrity profile writers would be so well-balanced a journalist that they would not desire to flatter celebrities enough to be granted access through PR agents.

I’m not very fond of celebrity profiles. We read about movie stars, say, with the hope of catching glimpses of some secret humanity or oddity behind their projected allure, but invariably the results are disappointing. The celebrity has by now mastered the technique of hiding in an interview. We learn only how ordinary they are, just like you and me: hardworking professionals, insecure in middle school, grateful to a teacher, and (this is the promo part I hate most) how much the character they played in their newest film or play is and is not like them.

Source: The American Scholar: Celebrity Profiles – Phillip Lopate