"...I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again..."
"Mending Wall" by Robert Frost
What does Robert Frost have to do with Joaquin Phoenix? Precious little at first glance. And yet he may have everything to do with explaining, in part, our obsession with celebrities.
Why do so many of us Americans find celebrities fascinating enough to read and talk about? I believe that when future anthropologists study today's popular culture, they will find the obsession with the lives of actors, musicians, politicians, and other famous figures to be a complex phenomenon.