But by seeing what an ugly person Celeste can be, we can ponder the key question here, whether the idolatry of someone who manages to successfully create a spectacle that appeals to people's emotional needs is an inherently healthy thing - dating back a long way as has been pointed out in this thread, but perhaps more feverishly engaged with today than ever. The more cultural unease, the more need there is for this, and perhaps the more apparent it becomes when, like you describe with Ingrid Goes West, there is not a ton of substance behind the cult of personality. How far is a cult of personality around a performer or someone who just appears in Instagram photos from a cult of personality around Donald Trump, or a terror group? [note: distinguishing between those two might not be necessary.]
I'm not at all contending that Corbet has really hit upon something that's never been explored in other films, or that can't be the stuff of dinner party conversations, but I am saying that this film raises these issues in a really bombastically entertaining and stimulating way. We have been living in existentially anxious times since the turn of the millennium, and that is a very big thing to even attempt to wrestle with in a film, let alone explain in a neat little package. Vox Lux doesn't attempt to explain what the preferable alternative to the questions it raises is, but the fact that it tries to at least pretend to be all-knowing makes it more thought-provoking than if it were just some hopeless provocation, without any intent but to cast judgment, or shock, or both.
I agree with you 100% here, and not that this specifically exists within the film (Corbet touched upon it in a Q&A), but the more popular art and things like political policy (again, look who's in the White House, he's an entertainer with no political qualifications whatsoever) intermingle, it becomes more difficult to see a distinction between any of this stuff, and our entire collective society is on the line. What will address societal uncertainty and disease? Are we too far gone? There are pockets of far right idolatry going on around the world, and it's all not too different from the sort of cult that can form around an entertainer. But on both fronts, these cults are built around dangerously empty promises.Satori wrote:I am certainly not ready to concede that serious art can better address societal uncertainty and disease than popular art.