Interview with Dina Dudley, social researcher and author, Our New Gods: Celebrity Worship and Parasocial Bonds

Parasocial bonding occurs when a person feels a strong connection to a celebrity they know only through the media, or online. There’s no personal reciprocity, it’s a one-sided connection—There are healthy ways to act on a connection like that, people can find it enjoyable, even enriching, on an entertainment basis. It becomes dysfunctional when the person looks to the celebrity as a key source of comfort and security, or to alleviate loneliness, or for personal direction, the belief that the celebrity has special knowledge to share. The person may then ramp up attempts to contact the celebrity, or send gifts, or interact at real-life events—Where it crosses into pathology is when the compulsion for contact becomes obsessive. Stalking, confrontations, even assaults—I can’t comment on individuals, or any individual circumstance. But “worship” in the sense of introducing a religious aspect, quasi-religious, would certainly be an intensifier—Certainly distressing, and for the celebrity too! It’s dangerous to be a god.

-DINA DUDLEY, social researcher and author

What do you think?

207 Points

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *