A Face in the Crowd depicts a man as he transforms from a prisoner to a man of wealth and fame through the power of radio and television. John Green (my favorite author) of Vlogbrothers actually has a video that discusses the idea of rising to fame in a way that, I feel, can be related back to A Face in the Crowd. In the video, he discusses Drake’s song “Started from the Bottom” and Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography in regards to the way that they, like Lonesome Rhodes, started with very little and rose to fame. Green critiques the fact that both Drake and Franklin seem to disregard the fact that they didn’t actually start from the bottom; he also adds that Franklin doesn’t give credit to other people in his life that helped him rise up. I feel like these traits can be related to Lonesome in the fact that he seems to forget Marcia is the person who gave him his “big break” (as the saying goes; this is further suggested by Marcia’s statement that “A Face in the Crowd was my idea” during one of their arguments). Green’s video can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAcemT7F29E
A major point of interest for me while watching this film was the faux connection between the audience and Lonesome; he talked directly to the audience, and the audience felt as though they were being spoken to… but there was no real point of connection. Lonesome was merely providing the audience with messages that he knew they’d want to hear. It’s clear from our view of the audience that they felt a connection to Lonesome’s public persona, but it was also clear that the feeling was not mutual. This is something that plays out even now in the YouTube community as content creators make videos talking about how much they love their fans and their fans talk about how much they love the content creator; some have critiqued the fact that the creator cannot possibly love their fans as they claim to because the fans are all strangers, numbers on the analytic screen, lines on a graph, not real individual people to the online celebrity. Still, fans both in the movie and real life act as though there is some real connection between celebrity and viewer on an individual level.
In a way, this film also conveys a sort of blind obedience to voices in the media. We see Lonesome accidentally test his power by telling his radio listeners to take their dogs to the Sheriff’s lawn; I wonder if the audience’s obedience has anything to do with a perceived level of authority granted by being among the prestigious few involved in media. The whole idea regarding people’s following of celebrities is very confusing to me, even and especially as a psychology student.
Post for 11-10-16