To answer question # 2, I definitely believe that technology is one of the biggest reasons for American obsession with celebrities. However, it must be a part of human nature for people to be so consumed with celebrity gossip and cult of personality worship. Although there is no denying that technology was the catalyst for this hyper-level of celebrity news, gossip, and fascination, I don't think it is fair to blame consumer products for what goes on in someone's head. People for thousands of years have worshiped different types of celebrities, usually kings, philosophers, musicians, and warriors. The level of consumption and universal knowledge of celebrity is no doubt related to the global aspect of the Internet, cell phones, T.V., and many other devices that allow people instant access to news. In pre-industrial times, celebrity worship and discussion was more localized and notoriety tended to take much longer to rise, whereas in today's society, one can become famous almost overnight. Again, I don't blame technology for why people are so interested in celebrities, but it is the main reason for why it has reached a level never seen before on a global level.
It appears that the Internet, media, t.v., radio, newsprint, and any other forms of consumer interface with celebrities, consumers, and businesses have reached an incredible level of interdependence that relies on each other and uses every tool necessary to keep the system going. Having access to so much new technology that allows people to instantly talk about something, send the clip or picture of what they were talking about, and then blog about it to everyone else, has created an endless loop of celebrity feedback that is exactly what the celebrities, media, and businesses want. Although I don't think there is anything wrong with this, it does appear that many people are wasting a lot of time discussing the lives of someone else rather then trying to improve their own lives. Lastly, I think it is important for adolescents to understand the hidden story of celebrity culture and appreciate that, despite the myth of anyone can be a celebrity, the likelihood is still miniscule. Moreover, I doubt the authenticity of most reality shows, talk shows, court t.v., and many of the other media hits. Just as people were shocked with the 10,000 $ pyramid scandal decades ago, I think news of fake shows and scripted reality will become more open and the high level of celebrity fascination will start to fall. Or, it might turn into a nightmare scenario where it gets even worse and people start to live most of their lives online and the line between reality and fiction is impossible to discern.