Story by Clint, George, Mike & Mike
There is a rich discussion to be had about society's celebrity CULTure. Despite our best attempts, the bones of the discussion have not been picked clean. Like gonorrhea, celebrity CULTure is the gift that keeps on giving. Just when you think there's nothing more to be said on the topic... BAM, there's a new angle! What's best about it is how startlingly little thought it requires. Y’see, journos aren't coming up with new and gnarly ways to analyze the same thing: they’re coming up with new and gnarly ways to be ridiculous.
First up, lemme holler at the elephant in the room (and I don't mean the one that I saw when I was on acid, holdin’ my granddad’s head). Twice in the last paragraph, I capitalized the first half of cult-ure to emphasize its root. That's not something I do lightly– it's the intellectual equivalent of replacing the Y at the end of your name with an I. So here are my reasons: 'celebrity culture' could be a neutral term, simply referring to the culture that celebrities belong to, by dint of them being celebrities, but CULTs by definition have followers. Thus, when I say 'celebrity culture' (I'll stop the capitalizing now), I mean the one that we are active participants in – the one that I wish to God we'd all stop complaining about, since we've only got ourselves to blame.
OK, so imma be droppin' science on you like a butterfingers, gettin’ mad stupid with that science. You have two parents (follow?) which means you have four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, and 16 greatgreat-grandparents. After a while you have more ancestors than all the people who've ever lived in the history of the world. Actually you don't, your existence is possible because of inbreeding: nature has conserved the number of ancestors to a level that is physically possible by allowing a certain amount of inbreeding. Apart from my love of disorienting tonal shifts, why did I tell you that? Well, because it means that you're probably related to your favorite celebrity. No shit: They're a different race? No problem, that just means you might have to go back a little further; different races made contact with each other before the advent of recorded history. Europe wasn't completely ig’nant that Africa existed before Alexander the Great. You're not related to everyone; but the human genome is so limited, if you have the same nose as someone, you're almost certainly related.
Good news/bad news, right? Good news: Think of a celebrity who you bare a passing resemblance to. Set the standard of a 'passing resemblance' at rock bottom: say, same eye colour, or eye brows. You're related. Bad news: Think of an ex. The law of matching says that any ex will do. You're related. It all means one tenth of sweet-fuck-all, but the world just got a little smaller, DIDN’T IT? And that's what celebrities are for: They are there to make the world smaller. They’re model people that you can pretend to know, so that anyone else who knows them is a mutual friend. We blame celebrities for celebrity culture, but even the most recidivist attention-whores don't need us nearly as much as we need them. This last decade has blurred the definition of celebrity to the point where meritocracy is as alien a concept to celebrity culture as dreidels are to mules. Lemme run that by you one more time: celebrities don’t always deserve the attention, or expect to deserve it. Celebritydom is no longer an us-andthem type situation. It can happen by no
more than sheer force of will. To fulfill the role that our society most requires of its celebrities (model people), VISIBILITY has always been the only necessary attribute. If talent ever was necessary, I assure you, it was merely a byproduct of what really mattered. Hold the phone: surely someone must be above it?! You'd think so, wouldn't you. After all, there are so many people criticizing celebriculture that it can't be that popular. Well, that's the problem: they're too busy criticizing celebrity culture to actually do anything about it, because it only goes away if you ignore it. If you’re not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. Me, I’m not part of the solution, sitting here impotently complaining about it. The only compromise I can make is NOT pretending that I DON’T rely on celebrity culture for MY future livelihood. It's the gift that keeps giving... it gives journalists a way to fill their days, in perpetuity uity uity uity uity Still, I have noticed that no name-dropping occurred in this piece of writing. Which might count for... something.