Friday, 13 January 2012

"Some things you shouldn't get too good at...."

" smiling, crying and celebrity." (U2)

We live in a world where celebrity is a staple diet, the bread and potatoes of the masses. Every day we eagerly consume news of the rich and famous. As well as the not so rich and famous.

As Russell Brand observed very wisely, celebrities have become our Greek Gods (or as a very clever man once observed, the Gods were the Greek's celebrities). And he's dead right. But as time goes on this is getting diluted, as information flow increases with ease, thanks to the likes of Twitter and Facebook. The concept of a celebrity becomes less about an amazingly talented and focussed person, and more about somebody who knows how to play the fame game.

A bit like the National Lottery. Every week it creates more millionaires, so that whilst once upon a time the term "millionaire" gave rise to visions of a hard-working, single-minded and talented individual who would stop at nothing to get what they dreamt of, it's now replaced by the image of an individual who sits at home watching Jeremy Kyle and drinking Stella in his vest at 10am in the morning. Deliberate? Calculated? I think it might be...

Maybe, just maybe, this is much more digestible than the thought of somebody BETTER than us? We've brought the millionaire down to our level, so that we can see them smiling and waving one week in the press, then in a few weeks we find out that they once kicked a dog in the park.

And this is exactly what has happened to the celebrities. Having first made celebrities our gods, we've evolved further, and brought those gods down to our level. We have created celebrity in our own image.

Reality television, and the internet mean that anyone can become "famous" very quickly, for pretty much no good reason. And the great thing is that these sorts of celebrities don't make us look inferior. Best of all, some of them can be looked DOWN on!

Humanity is essentially lazy. All we have done is create a self-maintaining garden, and removed the need to hack down the tall poppies, rather we grow them the way we want, our rules. When the time comes, we can always remove these lesser-lesser god celebrities, by judging them by the very same facts that made us revere them in the first place, and publishing it on the front page of the gutter press, or retweeting it.

No wonder it's so fashionable to denounce any person or faith that claims there is a real god out there as either stupid or dangerous. How on earth could we live up that reality, and more importantly, how could we control a real god? Better to raise up people who have sex with married footballers...

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