But the American obsession with celebrity seems to have hit new highs recently. Paris Hilton in jail, Lindsay Lohan in rehab, Nicole Ritchie, whatever.
With the planet baking and a war raging, mainstream news is losing audience. Celebrity news is booming. What's going on?
This hour On Point: culture maven Camille Paglia, "Fame Junkies" author Jake Halpern, and Mario Lavendera of PerezHilton.com, on America's obsession with the stars.
Camille Paglia, one of America's foremost cultural and social critics. She is professor of humanities and media studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and author of "Sexual Personae: Arts & Decadence from Nerfertiti to Emily Dickinson," "Sex, Art, and American Culture" and "Vamps and Tramps."
Jake Halpern, author of "Fame Junkies: The Hidden Truth Behind America's Favorite Addiction"
Mario Lavandeira, better know as Perez Hilton for his gossip website PerezHilton.com
This program aired on July 17, 2007.