chapter  8
Massive Wealth as Moral Reward
The Reagan Revolution and Individualism
Pages 32

Celebrity culture glamorized massive wealth, reflecting the Reagan-era vision of the American Dream, at the same time that the average American's economic outlook would dim. The shift in celebrity culture was about more than political change; the structure of both Hollywood and fan magazines underwent serious organizational changes in the last decades of the twentieth century. With the newly launched People magazine, royalty, heirs and heiresses, politicians, and corporate leaders would join a new version of celebrity culture, one that highlighted the trials and tribulations of the rich, while emphasizing the rags-to-riches stories of entertainers and athletes. Personality journalism would change not just the production of celebrity culture, but the culture itself, as the concept of celebrity expanded and information pertaining to celebrities became ubiquitous. While many of People's stories focus on how titans of industry made it big, there is also a recurring theme of the possibility of the average American becoming wealthy by both skill and luck.