chapter  13
23 Pages

ANSWERING/THE BIG QUESTION

Religion has held fast and still dominates the politics and culture in some parts of the world. In others, it is retreated temporarily, only to return with renewed influence. But science meant that religion's power to bewitch had been weakened. Alexander actively encouraged worship and exaltation by fashioning himself after the gods and demigods of ancient Greece. Alexander may be a prototype of the godlike human, but he certainly was not a celebrity. Celebrity culture, in this view, becomes a functional equivalent of religion, with beliefs and practices associated with religion "converging" with those of celebrity culture. Celebrities offer peculiarly powerful affirmations of belonging, recognition, and meaning in the midst of the lives of their audiences. Secularization may have been overstated, but religion has certainly had to adapt in order to survive in many parts of the world. The early 1960s witnessed the beginning of people's new enchantment.