Publication details

(Un)burying the Stars : The Hysterical Realism of Celebrity Deaths in Popular Culture



Year of publication 2019
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description When the (fake) news broke in 1969 that Paul McCartney had died and been replaced by a look-alike, fans scrambled to examine every album in search for “death clues”. 8 years later, the grief surrounding the death of Elvis Presley generated a conspiracy theory arguing that the King was still alive. Building on James Wood’s concept of hysterical realism and studies on the cult of celebrity, I argue that our tendency to (un)bury celebrities through the creation of alternate (paranoid) narratives not only stems from our refusal of consensus reality but also the simultaneous desire to both immortalize and resuscitate our idols to seek comfort in eras of social uncertainty.
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