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The Culture of Celebrity

Can we pinpoint the time in our lives when the people the media held in such high regard were ’celebrity’ figures. Some of them could be justified in the status and praise we extol on them whilst others simply have to appear in a magazine or sleep with someone that appears on television or a magazine for that label to be thrust on them. I know that certain people choose the Andy Warhol ‘everyone will be famous for 15 minutes’ approach to life and to a point, that is fine but when micro celebrities fill our daily lives, make assumptions that we, as a culture, are actually truly interested in their shallow existences then we begin to unravel the self-fulfilling prophecy that is CELEBRITY.

Recently a well-known Sunday publication, I hesitate to use the word newspaper for it rarely contained news and I would certainly refrain from using the word journalism in respect to this ‘rag’, closed after seeking the sordid tales of sex, drugs, murder and betrayal from the voicemails of not only these celebrities but also the parents of victims of murder, rape & paedophilia. The loose grasp on decency and understanding for fellow man gets closed off in this world of getting a story at all costs, one of the reasons I refused to become a mainstream journalist a few years ago. But the essence of this is not the murder victims parents or close friends that were targeted, it is the dung beetle micro celebrities that feed off their column inches and by proxy the hacks that feel it worthy of our time that they justify the ‘hacking’ and intrusion into people’s lives.

I find it very hard to feel sympathy with a person that courts attention and then bleats on at the first sign that the images or words uttered are not carefully choreographed by a PR mogul or that seeing them in their trackies is in some way going to decry the image we see on screen or in the magazines. There you see, a self-fulfilling prophecy! One question in all of this. Where have the good people gone? The people we once relied on to be true icons of our age, the esteemed doctors, the true sporting hero, the person making a cutting edge film, documentary or literary contribution. It is blatantly obvious that talent, skill and dedication to the chosen field of expertise that many, not all aspects of the media required before they would let someone loose on an unsuspecting public are now cast aside for the latest bland, vacuous cretin with not a hint of professionalism or skill. The way in which they pander to the camera, quite clearly dressed in attire just pulled from the hanger by an assistant and trying to look ‘oh so current’ when in reality they look totally obscure and false. But isn’t that the point?

The one dimensional, one size fits all, same pitched squeaky voiced imbeciles programmed to reel of pages of prehyped trash at the behest of some mogul in a mansion with not a clue on how to treat the public and the viewer, pumped up on the need for 24 hour a day television, media and print, will accept any puerile diatribe that is put in front of them rather than seeking an alternative.

It is true what people say, in the time it takes to order a takeaway you could produce a hearty meal for four. It is the same with media. Spend some time looking, searching and moreover researching what is channelled into our lives and you will see so much creativity, so many vibrant ideas and cultures all vying to steal a march on the vacuum packaged, quite frankly sensory sewage that we are fed every day. I can count on one hand the quality that is currently reported on in our media, it’s thankfully down to new social media that I find the filmmakers, the extreme sports people and the music which shapes my life. I take no joy from reading, seeing or hearing the latest manufactured individual spouting their rehearsed bile to a backing track or carefully airbrushed picture or polished speech, I like my daily dose of reality to be just that, REAL!

It’s a sad indictment of modern popular culture that 90% of the media reports on the newest TV reality show, ushering a new dawn of people desperate for that bite at fame, without actually working for it, serving their apprenticeship as it were. We want everything now served up in pill form and handed to us on a plate at the touch of a red button, with the added attraction of the extra features to ensure we capture every sad minute of their immediate exhilaration or sadness, depending on the ‘experts’ opinion. These facets of our culture really should be curtailed as our young are growing up with a jaded view of how and what is classed as successful and if they don’t reach the live final or have the pink Bugatti by the age of 30 they are somehow invaluable to our society. What a way to teach our young people about real talent, real emotions and real human endeavour.


More on Social/Civil unrest

As I sit here writing this, I read with interest the people jailed in the aftermath of the riots have received four year sentences to act as ‘a deterrent’.

Whilst this could be seen as a welcome outcome, what do others see as a deterrent in such instances? Would a mugger, looter, robber, thief see it as a deterrent on the basis that they will probably not get caught, such is the stretched nature of our police forces across the UK. This is an evident fact and the way in which the ‘hit and hope’ tactic employed by our police forces, not just in London, Manchester and other areas blighted by the riots but across the country, means that out of the 1900 or so people actually arrested, a small percentile will see the inside of a jail cell. I am unconvinced this would actually deter anyone from committing a crime should they want to!

The attitude of certain people is ‘fuck the police’ and by proxy the laws surrounding the eventual capture of people that choose, that is right choose to behave in this way.

I am by no means an advocate of the police or its way of treating certain members of our community but from what is clear, the archetypal ‘criminal’ on the streets is not the youth in the hoody, not the black lad with his jeans worn low, but it is the person on the street at that time, taking opportunistic measures to blight, darken and generally fuck up the streets that they walk down every day. To this ends, is prison a deterrent when the target audience has now changed and the criminal has taken such a change in demographic.

To resolve a problem, you first need to look at the cause, if the cause is ‘because we can’, then what can the solution ever be?




Social/Civil Unrest???

The current situation regarding the ongoing cases of looters, robbers and thieves in light of the riots which we saw on our streets in the last few weeks cannot be halted or cessated by curfews and posturing by the Government & its opponents. Disenfranchised youth? Lack of opportunity in employment? NO, the sole reason they chose this method of civil unrest is because they wanted to. Youth workers, graphic designers and others with jobs and careers, stood side by side with young people with no jobs or careers.

This occured because of the way the police stood back, let the rioting and looting escalate beyond the pockets of aggravation due to the ‘human rights’ and ‘civil liberties’ of the criminal minority. What about the liberty of people who had property stolen, damaged, burnt or obliterated by this pathetic show of disobediance??

I dont have an answer but I dont see how the Government can say its ‘lack of jobs’, ‘lack of inclusion’ when in truth it is violent and disgraceful behaviour plain and simple!!