The Ray Rice story will be a new stage in the 24-hour world of twisted tweets and tattered TV depictions, “When Good Celebs Go Bad.”
It was a long time ago, in far-far away media orbit, when we crossed the galaxy and entered the world of "Celebrityhood.” A new fall season is upon us with this latest episode.
It used to be fame and fortune would go hand in hand. But it's a misperception to think it's the draw of riches that attracts contestants onto shows like “American Idol”, “Dancing with the Stars” and “Survivor.”
They are there to find their Warholian-15-minutes of fame, more than the long-shot of sudden wealth. If they win cash, it's secondary.
Today the underlying name of the game is, not just who wants to be a millionaire, but the real prize is, who wants to be a celebrity. And the answer is everyone.
At one time, when we referred to celebrities, we thought of Hollywood and the glamorous stars of the silver screen. But in today's fame-infatuated world, where overnight stardom can turn a selfie of Joe Lunchbucket into Joe Twitterverse, the lure of the camera draws all walks of life into its scope.
In today's star-hyped culture, we exist for others. We project ourselves onto the screen because it makes us real. It's how we recognize ourselves.
From the immediacy of the camera-phone that instantaneously hands us a repro to the larger “Truman Show” we all want to be cast in, welcome to the Homeland Security world of The New Candid Camera.
But just as we find it to be an encroachment on our civil rights to be watched at any time, doing anything, anywhere - whether a parking lot, a freeway or a department store, we'll do the strangest things to get attention in order to gain notoriety. Witness, the food menu -from bugs to body-parts - contestants will devour on some reality TV shows.
Surf the net and there are sites with just a living room in someone's own home where viewers can just watch whatever happens from the utterly mundane to the totally bizarre.
Likewise, the reverse is happening with celebs as they stoop to conquer consumers. Ads, which had once been déclassé for movie stars, are now loaded with those upper echelons.
Celebrityhood, while drawing politicians, journalists, sports figures and even criminals into its orbit, pulls us as observers into its world – a world now filled with interaction. We've created some mythical fourth dimension, where stars (the gods of our culture), live alongside in cyberspace, ordinary mortals. There they conjoin to exist in a world of media, via the lens of photojournalists, paparazzi, TMZ and Entertainment Tonight.
In this latest incident, we're like witnesses to a car accident-a horrible personal tragedy-with Ray Rice, the NFL superstar smashing the face of his then fiancé Janay Palmer on camera in an elevator.
But Rice is more than just an athlete. He’s an icon to kids and fans everywhere, who had emblazoned themselves with his name and worn it like a badge. He’d been hired to endorse products from Nike to Madden NFL.
To us mere mortals, the power and gravity of sports stars, rock stars and movie stars, pulls us toward their chosen brands and turns the Newtonian notion of celestial attraction into a shopping sphere all its own.
Yet, this latest incident is like an old rerun from TV Land, since we'd all been through O.J's hood (the man used to fly through airports), Bill and Monica's dirty linens (so 90s) and Tiger’s troubles (do we even remember them?) We’re in an episode of “The Twilight Zone” on a loop, where the further technology takes us and more mobile we become, the closer we think we live to the gods of Celebrityhood.
In Greek mythology, gods interacted with mortals, frequently had sex with them and were in many ways, not the role model you'd want for your kid.  Nevertheless, humans worshipped them. Clearly, we still do.
Abe Novick is a writer and communications consultant and can be reached at abebuzz.com.