I’m rather out of touch on this one. It’s not exactly something that bothers me, not really watching enough telly or reading enough gossip magazines to have a grand opinion of the celebrity classes, but it feels a little odd.
For one thing, I’d expect my self to fly into a self righteous rage about the pointless callowness of celebrity culture. The rampant ridiculousness of a whole list of names and faces that are only famous because they are famous. The ‘press’ needs someone to scrutinise, someone to project its weirdly bipolar morality on to. (Some friends of mine used to pay a game with one of the magazines, I forget which one, where the first person into a newsagent would run up to the self and grab it, hiding the cover from the other, who would have to guess ‘too fat’ or ‘too thin’. One would always be in the cover.)
But actually, it’s quite easy to drop out of the game. I generally even manage to avoid most of the Guardian’s celebrity trash talking, delivered with its ironically aloof haze of ‘look at all this nonsense the gutter press are talking about, we’re far above that’ whilst still relishing in the same swill.
It just doesn’t matter though. And the more you realise that, the less you have to think about it.
Nothing about it is particularly evil. It’s somewhat wasteful, and it promotes distorted body image and worry, which is all horrible. But it only has power if you start to think of it as a norm. And I don’t think I know a single person who doesn’t look on it with knowing contempt.
People naturally want to know about people. So it’s hard not to get wrapped up in people’s lives. This is why I always loved Big Brother so much. It didn’t matter that they were all fame hungry caricatures, they were people. The tasks and the set dressing didn’t matter, it was just a chance to get to know some people. To decide who you liked and who you didn’t. To analyse interactions and try and understand (and judge, which is a guilty and horrible pleasure).
I think it’s sad that so many of us reach out into the distant lights of fame for a sense of community, but sometimes it is easier, and its unsurprising that people will pick that route. I wouldn’t spend too much time hating on celebrities, I would just spend more time loving and talking to the people around you.
Oh, and just turn off your telly. Hide it in the attic. Nothing will do better for your soul and your life than doing that.
Not because celebrities are evil or inferior, but just because they aren’t here. Focus on the world you live in, not the world the media builds for you to have friends in.
I see no prestige, I know no celebrities.
If it has to go somewhere, give it to Ian McKellan; he’s so pretty.
Illustration by Emma