The multi talent (and when I say “multi” I mean “devoid of all”) that is Paris Hilton has moved to the UK. Sad times. She has a new show over here called Paris Hilton’s British Best Friend. As you can imagine from the provocative title, the show revolves around a useless Celebrity offering to help make an equally useless and overly annoying person famous on a reality TV show. It’s an easy concept to understand. Imagine shit. Now imagine two lumps of shit. There you go.
Another person who has become famous off the back of Reality TV is Jade Goody. Recently she has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. And whilst I wouldn’t wish death upon anyone, and I think it’s a tragedy when anyone so young is doomed to die so quickly, I also have to question how deeply obsessed we’ve become with useless celebrities, when the Prime Minister, in the middle of the worst economic crises in almost a century, stops what he’s doing to show his support for her. For those of you who are not familiar with Jade Goody, to sum up her Celebrity life, she was on Big Brother 3, she got naked, said “I always fought East Angula was abwoad” along with other incredibly dumb comments, then went on Celebrity Big Brother in 2007 in which she was chucked out for Racism, the whole of India hated her for it, and now she’s famous for having cancer. That’s pretty much it.
She might be a lovely woman personally, I don’t know her. She’s merely a pawn in the relentless game of consumerism. The very same Consumerism that enriches the celebrity culture, by suggesting subtly, that it’s ok to be useless, you can still make a fortune. The same consumerism that says it’s ok to be useless, if you’re suddenly struck with a terminal illness the country will slide to a halt to stick by you, but will chose to ignore the millions of others who suffer a similar fate.
Why are people like Jordan, Jade Goody, Paris Hilton…. people who are famous for being famous, all talked about constantly, their lives reported on a daily basis, for absolutely no reason? They may enrich the very ideals of consumerism but they do not enrich our lives. They do not have a lasting affect on history. They produce nothing of worth. They are not our generation’s answer to Mozart or Dostoevsky. They are largely useless, unintelligent, artificial creations whose existence means nothing. They exist, purely as a by-product of consumerism. The horrible notion that we NEED to buy useless items; advertising rammed down our throats to make certain companies huge profits to the detriment of society as a whole.
We’re all (including me) guilty of buying into the shit. We don’t think for ourselves. And suddenly the real problems laying right out in front of us are ignored because Paris Hilton has a new show that we must watch. Or we have bought a new Xbox game that we must play on. We buy crap celebrity magazines, from whose selling point is an upskirt photograph of Britney spears getting out of a car, we ignore that their photographer has waited in the gutter to get that shot. We accept it as normal. “WORLD EXCLUSIVE: CHARLOTTE CHURCH SEEN IN A BAR WITH MYSTERY MAN!!” … of course it’s a fucking World Exclusive, no other Country gives a shit. I live here, and I don’t give a shit.
Celebrities like Jade Goody are just commodities, to be bought and sold, regardless of quality. It isn’t their faults. They are just trying to live, to provide a better life for their families. It is the fault of a society that has came to accept mediocrity and uselessness can be used as a virtue. Something I cannot remember Aristotle suggesting as a prevalent and distinguished virtue.
We do not have heroes any more. A soldier who dies in combat is remembered for a day. The next day, his truly heroic name is forgotten again. But Paris Hilton’s will remain for a very long time. An intellectually dead society that promotes easy celebrity and ignores true talent and passion. Useless celebrities, famous for being famous, are the pantheon of modern times. Gratuitous fame.
A few days ago a guy called Peer Michael Portner died of Cancer. He invented a device that meant that those suffering heart failure could be kept alive until a heart transplant could be done.
In August 2008, a man named Alexander Solzhenitsyn died. He was a Nobel Literature Prize Winner. He was part of the Soviet Red Army during WWII, but dissented and endured a life in labour camps, he survived torture and persecution, and he survived cancer. He was exiled from Soviet Russia in 1974, and risked death by writing a book about the oppression of the Soviet Police State. Both Portner and Solzhenitsyn, were brilliant men. Surely they’re worth talking about much more than a woman who was largely forgotten until she said “shilpa poppadom“?
It’s a sad reflection on the way we live, that millions can die each year through simple problems like water and food deprivation, and no one stands up and says how terrible that is. No one shouts out with such anger and fierce hatred for the plight of the needlessly dying, It isn’t front page of every paper like it should be. It just “is”. And yet, Jade Goody, who exists less as a person, and more as a merchantable commodity, gets cancer and the Country comes to a standstill. As a 23 year old male growing up in England, i’m slowly closing the books I read to improve my knowledge; realising instead that they are largely fatuous in our times, that signing up to a reality show and doing something slightly outrageous will set me up financially for life.
The World confuses me.