Saturday, September 26, 2009

Results From My Recent Pop Culture Experiment...

Earlier this week, I got it in my head to partake in a little pop culture experiment of sorts, in which I pick up the latest issue of a popular gossip magazine and a slightly less popular (but hopefully more influential) news magazine and compare the amount of "celebrities" I recognize from each. I admit it would have been a far more interesting study if I had given the same assignment to a cross-section of my friends and readers, but alas, I did not have the time. Maybe I will be able to follow up soon with that, but for now, here are my results. Try to see if you can find a pattern among those few who remain somewhat foreign to me-- I certainly couldn't figure one out. Even though I consider myself far more savvy when it comes to television than movies, I found I can recognize stars of both equally, if not giving the edge a bit more to music just by the sheer numbers of people and channels! Age, race, and location (LA vs NY) also seemed to be pretty well-matched in representation in my mind. However, I admit that things would probably be much different if I was looking at a British tabloid...but maybe that, too, is another experiment for another day.


US Weekly Statistics:

Celebrities I recognized by both face and name:

Rumer Willis, Lindsay Lohan, Dustin Diamond, Patrick Swayze, Angelina Jolie, Beyonce, Mischa Barton, Blake Lively, Ali Lohan, George Clooney, Tori Spelling, Stella McCartney, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sienna Miller, Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears (though her photo was so freakin' airbrushed, this was almost an upset), Kendra Wilkinson, Holly Madison, Gwen Stefani, Ashley Olsen, Mary-Kate Olsen, Gabrielle Union, Hilary Duff, Salma Hayek, John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Mario Lopez, Teri Hatcher, Patrick Dempsey, Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban, Renee Zellweger, Bradley Cooper, Serena Williams, Nadya Suleman, Drew Barrymore, Ellen Page, Maksim Chmerkovsky, Karina Smirnoff, Lauren Conrad, Kristin Cavallari, Alicia Keys, P!nk, Shakira, Taylor Swift, Whitney Port, Leighton Meister, Kanye West, Janet Jackson, Madonna, Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Lady Gaga, John Mayer, Courteney Cox-Arquette, Jennifer Aniston, Gerard Butler, Kristin Davis, Brooke Shields, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall, Dina Lohan, Andy Roddick, Rachel Bilson, Kelly Rowland, Giada De Laurentis, Ellen Degeneres, Simon Cowell, Ryan Seacrest, Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, Jon Gosselin, Jamie Lynn Sigler, Annalynne McCord, Zac Efron, Adam Durwitz, Emmy Rossum, Megan Fox, Jessica Alba, Alex Rodriguez, Rihanna, Jenna Dewan, Amber Rose, Wendy Williams, Lourdes (Madonna's daughter), Heidi Spencer-Pratt, Audrina Pattridge, Janice Dickinson, Tyra Banks, Booboo Stewart, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Katherine Heigl, Nicole Richie, Michelle Trachtenberg, Jennie Garth, Stephanie Pratt, Adriana Lima, Ashley Green, Alexis Bledel, Ashanti, Heidi Klum, Victoria Beckham, Hayden Panettiere, Maria Menounos, Eva Mendes, Ashlee Simpson-Wentz, Mark Wahlberg, Kate Hudson, Miley Cyrus, Kourtney Kardashian, Matt Damon, Jenna Elfman, Lindsay Price, Rebecca Romjin, Sascha Baron Cohen as Bruno, Evangeline Lilly, Josh Holloway, Elizabeth Mitchell, Kat Von D.

Celebrities I recognized by face only:
Elisabetta Canalis, Jaime Ray Newman.

Celebrities I recognized by name only:
Chef Blythe Beck, Jessica Szohr, Lo Bosworth, Melanie Brown (but in my defense, the picture aged her at least 10 years!), Nikka Costa.

Celebrities I did not recognize at all:
Crystal Harris, Kristina Shannon, Olivia Palermo, Chris "Drama" Pfaff, Samantha Swetra, Roxy Olin, Erin Lucas, Ebony Bones.


Time Magazine Statistics:

Celebrities I recognized by both face and name:

Glenn Beck, Ron Paul, Serena Williams, Neil Patrick Harris, Bill Clinton, George Bush Sr, George Bush Jr, Ronald Reagan, Rupert Murdoch, Michael Jordan, Barack Obama, Ted Kennedy, John F Kennedy, Patrick Swayze, Ken Burns, Joseph McCarthy, Michael Moore, Joe Wilson, Dennis Hopper, Jay-Z, Matt Damon, Megan Fox, Joel Stein.

Celebrities I recognized by face only:
None.

Celebrities I recognized by name only:
David Koresh, Rob Miller, Jerry Jones, Dan Brown.

Celebrities I did not recognize at all:
Muntazer Al-Zaidi (recognized only after reading context), Norman Borlaug, Tim Geithner, Paul Dirac.


All of this was designed to beg the question of who is truly famous these days. Perhaps my results are a bit unusual, though, because I was trained to recognize everyone and anyone when I'd see them at a red carpet event-- so I could call them over by name and impress them with the fact that I wanted to talk to them...at least until Angelina Jolie or George Clooney were in my midst. What have you learned from this experiment (you know, other than I may have to get out more!)?

No comments: