Does Koba the Dread have anything to say about the theme of celebrity?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I don't think that the novel has anything directly to say about celebrity.  However, the cult of celebrity is a major argument and point that Amis makes regarding his fundamental thesis.  Amis argues that the intellectual vanguard in England were dangerously oblivious or active participants in the desensitizing of Stalin as a threat and mass murderer.  Amis argues that Stalin essentially received a "free pass" from the West, and from British intellectuals, in particular.  While there is swift and brutal condemnation about Hitler and Mao, Stalin is not perceived in the same camp.  Amis posits several potential reasons as to why this might be the case.  Celebrity is a part of this in that Stalin was careful to cultivate his image to the extent whereby his crimes would not be perceived by the outside public.  Amis argues that Stalin did understand how to cultivate his image, especially in light of the alliance with America and Britain in fighting Hitler.  The work is not an outward study of celebrity, but does employ analysis of it in studying its thesis.

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