Johanna Williams asks
Why shouldnt Jade Goodie have her five minutes of fame?
Shes basically famous for being famous. By her own
admission has no talent, she cant sing and she cant act. According
to Piers Morgan this makes her unfit to be a celebrity. So will someone please
explain to me how she differs from Elizabeth Hurley? They are both famous, both
recognisable faces, and another thing they have in common is that I personally,
do not give a flying fuck about either of them. Yet it is mooted that one is
more worthy of media attention than the other. Nobody would doubt that Ms.
Hurley is an A-list celebrity, and therefore newsworthy, yet Ms. Goodie,
according to Piers, is not. On his programme recently he subjected a number of
so called celebrities to a talent contest, the implication being that only the
gifted hard working amongst them should qualify as a celebrity. I dispute that,
or rather I would like to know since when? Talent doesnt come into it at
all, surely one only needs to be a famous face to qualify. Interviews with
various actors revealed that they themselves resented the big brother inmates
and other self styled celebrities. Feeling that fame should reflect talent.
Again since when? Only in an industry rife with old fashioned snobbery could we
have a former soap star criticising another less successful soap star. They
should have asked Michael Gambons opinion of Martine McCutcheon.
There seems to be a rigid hierarchy of fame with fine
distinctions between the levels. For example everyone knows a Blue Peter
presenter is trumped by a chat show host, and a cricketer is beaten by a
footballer. But really why should that be? Perhaps what Piers and his
interviewees object to most is that these newcomers do not conform to any
traditional type. They dont have their own neat little pigeon-hole. What
are they? They are not actors or sportsmen, the closest definition I guess
would be television personality. A coveted title until now reserved for T.V.
presenters and game show hosts. People famous for managing to read from an
auto-cue whilst smiling. Its hardly rocket science is it? Again please
someone tell me why the cat Dealeys of this world should rate higher than
these new common or garden varieties.
Now I think the problem with these people is nothing to do with
talent or indeed the lack of it. Its good old fashioned snobbery. How
dare these people with no discernible talent be rich and famous without any
effort at all? But why not? After all the British upper classes have been
getting away with that for years? Celebrity has nothing to do with talent. It
never was or our newspapers would be full of glossy pictures of scientists and
philosophers. Hellos front cover would sport pictures of Nobel prize
winners. It would include a smiling Stephen Hawking at home with his
family or sculptors Mo Jupp and Magdalane Odunda sharing a
joke. The media has systematically ignored talent and skill unless that
is, it is accompanied by power and/or good looks. Is this a new phenomena? I
think not, just ask Ivana Trump. The Horse and Hound and Vanity Fair have been
following the lives of posh people for decades and nobody seems to mind.
Isnt Hello just simply the Tatler of the working classes? Personally I
consider them all a total waste of time, but I do resent the notion that I that
I should care more about one than the other.
It cant be the fact that they are taking up page after
page of the newspapers that gets to Piers and his like. After all the colour
supplements of the Guardian and the Independent are full of people Ive
never even heard of much less care about. Huge full colour spreads showing us
round their lovely Moroccan retreats or North London flats. Ill just open
the Sunday review for an example. Here we are, perfect, an article about Carol
Drinkwater actress and novelist living in France. Who exactly, you ask?
Im sure shes perfectly charming and the journalist had a simply
wonderful weekend in the south of France doing the interview, but I dont
give a rats arse. So I will have to just go read another paper, it all
comes down to choice. If I want culture I dont look for it in Hello. You
want tits read the Sun. You want articles on smug middle-aged people, get the
Guardian. There is something for everyone out there and that includes
Get over it Piers, this is democracy in action. What the great
British public wants is people like them. The popularity of reality T.V. stars
proves this. The people want to see ordinary people being themselves and
hopefully fucking up just as badly as they do themselves. How else would you
explain the popularity of Eastenders? Coronation street is another fine
example. Here we have a variety of working class people in cramped houses, just
getting through their mundane lives in what feels like real time, isnt
this just big brother without the laughs? Ex-soap actress Martine was
interviewed as a bonafide star. So actors pretending to be ordinary people is
OK but ordinary people on T.V. is not OK? Thats ridiculous. The whole
reason people like to watch any of these people is that in our increasingly
isolated individualistic world it satisfies our deep-rooted craving for gossip.
People are by their very nature nosy, and now thanks to an ever more intrusive
media you can spy with impunity. Watch these people from the comfort of your
own home without the slightest twitch of your curtains. We love watching stars
come and go; the rise and most of all the fall. Their infidelities, heart
breaks and divorces read like cautionary tales. We love it because it makes us
feel better about ourselves. We can compare our own characteristics to theirs
and the more flawed they are the better. We can think at least Im not as
stupid as this one, or as vacuous as another. Just as the Jerry Halls and the
Hugh Grants of this world have been showing us for years, It doesnt mater
how much money you have or how shiny your hair, you are still human, still
vulnerable. Its therefore not just me. If things go wrong its not because
I have no money and need a hair cut. Its normal. They go through these
things too. It shows us that life can kick you in even the brightest and
whitest of teeth.
© Winamop. September 2005
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