By Hammam Yahia
“Stop making stupid people famous” is most commonly used on social media. As such it stands as evidence to a widespread whining among its users for social media has allowed many average people to become famous.”
In this article I will try to explain this phenomenon in its Arab context.
Of course, this argument only stems from a feeling that there is a stark disparity between the value of content a person presents and the size of its followers and extent of its dissemination. No one will question the popularity of those who have gained fame for valid reasons, such as prominent politicians, TV presenters, well-known clerics, singers and actors. However, the question arises when there is no good reason to justify such popularity, while the content of a post is a matter of pressing question.
Internet usage patterns can extrapolate and the report will try hereunder present illustrative rather than exhaustive examples:
Firstly: Capitalizing on controversial issues
Undoubtedly, controversy is sometimes desirable. Issues regarded as axiomatic need to be tabled for discussion since they are responsible for negative thinking and behavior patterns, especially when taken for granted. For instance, whether entering paradise or salvation in the hereafter are confined to Muslims or permissible for others as well, is an issue that has remained upraised on a wide range for quite some time. But evoking it at a later time has paved the way for asking significant questions on the concept of religion and its relationship with ethics and the meaning of propagation and proclamation of the Message of Islam. It has also drawn the attention to the distortive role of media and the authority of the state in making a prejudgment on a certain religion, piety or other.
However, there are issues of polemic nature and as such would need no wits and guts to put forward for debate. He who dares will stir controversy over such an issue as polygamy. Such types of issues and deliberately raising them is a major reason for creating a massive follower base.
Secondly: Addressing a ready audience
There are issues which have their ready audiences, no matter whether they adopt one stance toward a given issue or are supporters of a certain political party or of intellectual ideology all of whom tend to criticize the Muslim Brotherhood Movement. The same applies to criticism of Salafism or any other intellectual trend, particularly from those rebelling against.
Conversely, it is imperative to address an audience embracing a particular trend of thought. Some trend follower, for instance, await a poet or a playwright to speak for them, or want him/her to be their theorist or thinker. When a person steps in to fill the void, he or she will find supporters already waiting for him/her no matter how competent or capable he/she is.Thirdly: Advocates of Positivism and SuccessThese types of people do not follow any ideological or intellectual denomination or school. They simply are a group of people who preach positivism all the time and see the good side of everything, looking at the glass half full. In their lives, they encounter no fundamental problems or disorders besetting the human race. Problems –in their view- stem from the defective way of our looking at things.Life, in the way which these people see it or try to convey their understanding of it to their followers, is a cycle of unabated success.As such their marriages are ideal, so are their divorces all of which are divinely predestined and blessed with covert kindness and wisdom.The books they read are all useful; the films they watched deserve to be seen by everyone; their children are highly intelligent and their friends are perfect. They will never befriend a cunning person or a mean one. They are always invited to feast with the best ever friends on earth. You may also be invited to enjoy seeing food recipes on Instagram.They disseminate inspirational love stories and delightful success stories, particularly after temporary setbacks. All these instances consolidate their vision of life, but it is difficult for many people to resist this way of life. That is why they attract a large following.Fourthly:Talk about Marriage, or let it about SexI do not agree with those who think our communities treat sex as a taboo. Those who say so –I believe- tend to echo orientalist ideas without proper scrutiny. No doubt that our communities used to add an aura of fear and privacy to sex and treat it as a ritual or an art not as a science or a topic for public discussion.Of course marriage is more than just sex. Yet, talking about marriage, more often than not, is meant to suggest sex.Imagine if you happen to see a book titled “Secrets of Marriage” on a bookstore shelf, you will observe that a major part -if not the most important one of it- is dedicated to sex. But if you see a book entitled “Secrets of Sex”, you may expect it to be cheap eroticism.Most talk about marriage on social media is so popular because sex is at the core of it. This is particularly evident among the religious people.Fifthly:Making of a starPost modernism movement tends to shy away from configuring culture into high value and low value. Culture in all levels and manifestations is valued highly in the Arab world. Magazines and publishing houses until recently were few and used to maintain rigid standards. The publication of a book was a rare event for not everybody could be given the opportunity to have his article, book or poem published.Things have thereafter changed dramatically well before the advent of the social media era.The birth of a star is no longer confined to the artists, actors and craftsmen. Now even the common people have become main contributors in making stars. I totally disagree with those who believe that mediocre stars are imposed upon the public. The relationship between the audience and a star is a complicated one. But the audience tends to elevate those who feel they represent him.
Source: Aljazeera.net ( Original Content)