OK firstly let me apologise to those of you who were expecting the usual music related post. This one isn’t and is also a little more serious than usual so feel free to stop reading now if you wish. This is a kind of rant from me I suppose. The following words are simply my own opinion so feel free to disagree if you do proceed with reading it!
In my opinion the whole cult of celebrity which has grown bigger over recent years than it ever was in my youth has perhaps finally begun to devour it’s own corpse. For quite a number of years the rise of reality TV has provided an opportunity for many people to aspire to be famous for ‘Being famous’ sake. Now forgive me here but surely fame should be something earned through a talent of some kind. That is what it always used to be. But no, now we have TV shows where individuals of limited talent and in many cases limited intellect compete for their ultimate desire, which would appear to be ‘to be famous’. Please note that many of these individuals never seem to add a coda to that statement that says why they want to be famous (i.e. for their writing talent, their sporting prowess, their comedic talent, their debating skill or indeed any kind of talent).
What this gives our fame obsessed society is a bunch of people whose only claim to fame is that they have won or indeed appeared on a reality TV show and as a result have become a celebrity of sorts. Shows like Big Brother, The Apprentice, X Factor, American Idol and such. But wait I suspect that some of you are thinking that X Factor and the like are talent shows, aren’t they? Well maybe they are but in my opinion (so like I said before it is your right to have your opinion too) they are a combination of the Victorians watching the patients in the Asylum for entertainment and a bunch of people seeking fame for fame’s sake. For example Leon Jackson (2007 X Factor) winner has been dropped by his label after just one album, where are Steve Brookstein and countless others now? Where is Gareth Gates? Yes I know there have been some successes from reality TV (Will Young, Girls Aloud, Leona Lewis) but in my opinion these will always be the exception.
Maybe Andy Warhol was right and everyone will get their 15 minutes of fame and this is the culmination of that. The rise of tabloid newspapers and tabloid celebrity magazines like Hello and OK have all led the way and multiplied the number of people who now seek that holy grail of fame. But with so many people becoming ‘famous’ is it such a holy grail anymore?
In the 60’s and 70’s recording artists were developed, record companies invested time and money in them. In these days of ‘instant success’ people like Kate Bush, David Bowie and many others would have been either not signed or dropped by their label long before they achieved any success.
You may be wondering what caused me to rant about this instant fame issue, some of you have already guessed I’m sure. This weekend saw the sad death of Reality TV Star Jade Goody. What was Jade famous for? Effectively appearing as a contestant on Big Brother, she didn’t even win it. Please don’t get me wrong here, I think it is terribly sad that a 27 year old woman has died and left a husband and two young children. But why is this headline news? Millions of people die every day and there are no voices for them.
The news media, especially the tabloids, would appear to be on the verge of canonising Jade Goody. According to the BBC the Prime Minister led the stream of major celebrities that have expressed their condolences and she is on the front of every UK newspaper this morning. The very same newspapers that were baying for her blood during the racism row in Celebrity Big Brother just a short while ago. Just how morally redundant are the press? It seems it doesn’t matter as long as it sells copy and as for OK magazine, well they even published a Jade Goody tribute magazine before the poor woman was dead. In my opinion people like Max Clifford, Jade’s Publicist, are trying to build this whole thing up into a Princess Diana level event. Frankly that was a staggering outpouring of grief for another woman that most people only hew through her portrayal in the news media. I know that the money made will help provide excellent education and such for Jade’s children but clearly Mr Clifford isn’t doing this out of the kindness of his heart either. Many people unconnected with Jade will profit from this.
I have also read that many more women are seeking cancer screening tests as a result of the publicity generated by Jade’s illness. This is obviously a good thing but I certainly doubt that this was one of the aims of the whole publicity circus.
Maybe Celebrity has finally killed itself off and is feasting on it’s remains. Let’s hope this also kills off the tacky, unscrupulous and morally bankrupt tabloid press too. Jade who?