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Consuming Religion$
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Kathryn Lofton

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226481937

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226482125.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 09 April 2020

The Celebrification of Religion in the age of Infotainment

The Celebrification of Religion in the age of Infotainment

Chapter:
(p.122) 6 The Celebrification of Religion in the age of Infotainment
Source:
Consuming Religion
Author(s):

Kathryn Lofton

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226482125.003.0007

This chapter offers an account of the emerging centrality of celebrities in public culture. Studying celebrity and religion in concert requires parsing the multiple ways these terms have become increasingly interactive, overlapping, and co-constitutive in modern America. This chapter explores how this has transpired by looking at both the forms of news reporting that have succeeded in recent years and the changed way that religion is publicly discussed. Its focus is the national daily newspaper USA Today, which provides an excellent archive for the relationship between religion and celebrity in the news via its own oft-touted (and oft-satirized) synthetic style, including short articles, cheery cartoon graphics, and intentionally “easy to read” copy. This chapter analyzes the way that entertainment news deploys religious idiom to express something inexpressibly potent in its subject and to translate democratic moral agency in an increasingly privatized corporate media structure. First, it offers a short history of the emergence of infotainment reportage and its corollary, celebrification. It then discusses news coverage of religion and celebrity in three separate periods: 1989–1996, 1997–2003, and 2004–2010.

Keywords:   Elizabeth Taylor, infotainment, celebrification, USA Today, Madonna, Bono, spiritualization, George Clooney

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