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Either a word or brief phrase describing the fixation on the part of ordinary people and the media on a small segment of society living an extravagant lifestyle.

Example sentences:

  • What's behind America's [obsession with the rich and famous]?

  • A left-wing blogger called out the New York Times for its [glorification of the .0001%] in its lifestyle columns.

Related questions:

These do not answer my question because I am interested in a word describing the way the media lavishes attention on the lifestyles of people who are wealthy but not otherwise newsworthy.

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    "Celebrity worship" doesn't quite get there, right? It doesn't speak to the vacuous exclusively wealth-based nature of their celebrity. Maybe something like: "the media's bootlicking fixation with the asinine antics of the underachieving hyper-rich" ...though that's probably not succinct enough!
    – tmgr
    Oct 3, 2017 at 7:09
  • I believe it is elitism. The phrase "elitist media" is used also.
    – ermanen
    Jul 4 at 17:23

2 Answers 2

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One psychological term is celebrity worship syndrome, according to Wikipedia "an obsessive addictive disorder in which a person becomes overly involved with the details of a celebrity's personal and professional life."

Other common terms for an extreme interest in celebrities include fandom and celebrity obsession - Collins dictionary defines "fandom"; Healthline article; book Celebrity and Entertainment Obsession by Michael S. Levy (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015). Fandom suggests obsession with a particular celebrity, but celebrity obsession is more general.

There are more informal terms; a BBC article uses the verbal noun stanning, defined as "to show strong appreciation towards a musician, Love Island star or even fictional character that you adore." This term comes from Eminem's song "Stan", about an obsessive fan.

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Oligarchism suggests the meaning sought, but if you are open to hyphenated-compounding qualifying under single-word criteria, Oligarch-fixation probably comes closer.

However, you may disagree, given your mention of people who are wealthy but not otherwise newsworthy. Some would say the the existence, and arguably the disproportionate influence, of a billionaire class, is newsworthy in itself.

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    I think OP is talking about Kardashians-like people here, whom cannot be called an oligarchy, since they are not in power.
    – doubleOrt
    Sep 14, 2017 at 9:37

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