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Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Culturing celebrities

As we know, ours is a celebrity culture. It isn’t a surprise because virtually all cultures are celebrity cultures - we’ve merely taken it much, much further.

We have -

celebrity brands such as Mercedes, Coca Cola and Versace, celebrity causes such as the environment, poverty and AIDS, celebrity sports stars, celebrity politicians, celebrity royals, celebrity singers, celebrity pundits, celebrity scientists, celebrity architects, celebrity fashion gurus, celebrity cooks and even celebrity celebrities.

Some are minor celebrities, some major, some are international, some national and some local. Some celebrities are talented, some not, some are intelligent, some not, some are sane, some completely bonkers. Even the local boozer may have its very own celebrity.

We don’t appear to have many celebrity farmers though. Perhaps some jobs are too important to allow celebrities a foot in the door. Like folk who look after nuclear missiles... or maybe that’s not a comfortable example.

Within living memory, the social focus of even modest ambition has changed from solid virtues such as talent, hard work, ability and a privileged background to this ghastly, glitzy swamp of celebrity we flounder around in today.

A celebrity pundit has a higher profile and more influence than a lesser pundit who may even be right more often than wrong, but who cares about being wrong? People soon forget the dodgy headlines or weren’t paying attention anyway.

A celebrity architect has a higher profile and more influence than a humble plodder who designs practical buildings where flare and originality are constrained by what works, but who cares? Visual pomposity has been in vogue since Stonehenge and what kind of useless drama-queen structure was that supposed to be?

The effect of such an all-pervading celebrity culture which works on so many levels is to create two diffuse classes. Celebrities and their groupies on one side and the consumers of celebrity on the other, because we do consume celebrity. Sometimes we even consume celebrities, which could be fun but usually isn’t.

The problems are obvious but most of us need celebrities to tell us all about it as loudly and dramatically as possible. That’s not going to happen is it?

4 comments:

Demetrius said...

Have you heard the latest about Lily Langtry?

Roger said...

We could have TV close-down at 11pm and startup at 13:00 in time for Listen with Mother. Then revamps of Bronowski, Russell, Clarke (the elder) followed by Melanie Philips, Fred Forsyth and Michael Howard. To fill in the time Mr Bucknell will do U-Tubes on home improvement. Ms Rianna and assorted slebettes meanwhile will scrub the floors to the tune 'Workers Playtime', Mr Liberace will accompany on the piano. At 10pm Mr Corbyn will read the tractor production statistics.

After a few weeks of that I think X-Factor will be a relief.

James Higham said...

The effect of such an all-pervading celebrity culture which works on so many levels is to create two diffuse classes. Celebrities and their groupies on one side and the consumers of celebrity on the other, because we do consume celebrity.

There are celebs who did and keep doing things better than most and then there are the Kardashians etc. the Battle of Britain pilots were the former. Methinks they deserve their groupies.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - I try to avoid the gossip... but what are they saying now?

Roger - I liked Barry Bucknell. Wonder how he'd do on X-Factor.

James - yes, the Battle of Britain pilots deserve their status.