Whether anyone wants to admit it (or not), Americans have a religious devotion to celebrities. Our culture is based on this new type of celebrity-theocracy. Look at the massively popular “American Idol,” a manufacturing plant for making idols, theocratic in its audience participation constituent. A trip to the supermarket displays the various tracts covering the tenets of our celebrity movement. How many websites cover celebrity news? How many television programs are dedicated to the celebrity?
There is one crucial problem. In the Judeo-Christian sense, celebrities don’t behave very God-like. They’re more likely to get thrown into rehab or start controversies, or like Narcissus, they get stuck at the mirror of fame, unable to see what is going on around them. The doctrine of traditional faith is chiefly about self-improvement through selflessness in order to promote stronger communities. Selflessness is not a very celebrity-type thing to do, and serving with humility is not normally part of the celebrity skill-set.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition represents a strong shift in the paradigm of our celebrity-dominated culture. The thing that makes this show phenomenal is its depictions of celebrities acting not like celebrities. Rather, the show presents celebrities being humble, serving others, assisting communities, and in the process brings these communities together, much like the way a religious conviction might serve the public.
EMHE is the celebrity-driven, hyper-philanthropic show working good in the lives of deserving families and communities. It combines the new celebrity-theocracy with the traditional functions of faith, such as promoting welfare and unification of the community, and presents the message as spectacle. Who doesn’t want to be part of that movement?
This is why the entire staff of Gallery Direct is thrilled be involved with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. We consider it a great privledge to donate the artwork for season eight. We are humbled when we think about what the show does, who the show helps and what the show represents.
So while Mrs. Hillary Rodham-Clinton’s “it takes a village to raise a child” philosophy has often been debated and criticized over the years, one thing seems apparent in the eight season run of EMHE: It takes a celebrity to raise a village.