The old gods are dead. The new idols of liberal, democratic techno-capitalism are ‘rockstars’, to use a tellingly overused term.
They are aspirational deities, Schrodinger’s cats who’re simultaneously anti-establishment and of the establishment: people elevated by the (social) media into perfect, endearingly flawed demigods to fulfill our Enlightenment-era tendency to venerate individual genius.
Rockstars can now be found in almost every conceivable field (except those involving manual labour): Justin Trudeau, the rockstar politician; Elon Musk, the rockstar technologist; Steve Jobs, the rockstar businessman & visionary; Neil Gaiman, the literary rockstar.
We have start-ups falling over each other to hire rockstar software developers. Hell, we even have a rockstar RBI governor, arguably one of the most unsexiest jobs around before the advent of the articulate, stylishly bespectacled Raghuram Rajan.
If anything, the fact that ‘rockstar’ is now used to deify politicians, technologists, entrepreneurs, programmers and writers, everybody but musicians, is proof that while rock music may be commercially dead, its erstwhile practitioners still set the benchmark for fanatic devotion.