Sunday, November 16, 2014

“Because we’re primates with vested interests in tracking social hierarchies and patterns of social affiliation.”

“Because we’re primates with vested interests in tracking social hierarchies and patterns of social affiliation.”  I read this articleOn the Origin of Celebrity – hoping that it would help me understand the phenomenon of celebrity, which has long been a complete mystery to me.  The article raised far more questions for me than it answered.  The basic thesis it puts forth is that celebrity obsession is an innate, genetically transmitted, characteristic of primates.  One paragraph's lead is “So with think a lot about status relations...”, which lost me completely.  I spend exactly zero time thinking about status relations, and I didn't realize that other people do.

Does that mean I'm not a primate?  Not human?

I have a suspicion that this is closely related to introversion (and I'm a fairly extreme introvert, self-trained in the art of getting along with extroverts).  I did a quick search to see if this correlation has been noted before, and found a few anecdotal mentions, but nothing more.  If I'm right, the inverse would be true: extroverts would be more likely to think about status relations, and therefore more likely to be obsessed with celebrities.

One experience I've had many times is to be in a room full of people (usually a business meeting of some kind) wherein someone will say something that everyone finds funny – everyone except me, as I didn't understand it.  Sometimes its a reference to sports (which I pay no attention to), but more often its a reference to some celebrity.  I've always chalked up the celebrity “misses” to my lack of interest, and have long been puzzled why all the other people did have enough interest to have absorbed these things.  Now I'm wondering if all or part of this was yet another difference between extroverts (who dominate in the management world that I was long part of) and introverts...

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