Thursday, 7 October 2010
Idolising people and reading about their lives is a mug's game isn't it? Maybe so, but we all do it. Who's wearing what? Who's dating who? Who's having a melt down? We wait with bated breath for any triviality to be reported, regardless of their A or C list status. Why? Some readers use it to connect with their idols, others to feel smug. An escape from the monotony of life - the modern equivalent to keeping up with the Joneses. I liken it to being addicted to junk food. You know it's bad for you, but the temptation to indulge is always present. Personally I try to avoid getting caught up in all the latest celeb tittle-tattle. I don't buy the gossip rags or care about who's doing what. Snippets are inevitable though. They leak into every facet of life – TV, Internet, Radio, the local shopping centre etc. It beggars belief that celeb goings-ons are worthy front page news. Is this what we want the kids or adults of today to aspire to?
Fame nowadays is a “Cinderella” story. A media-made conveyor belt of wannabe stars. Each of them hand-plucked from obscurity and thrust into the dazzling array of lights, camera, action. Five minutes of fame is all it takes to grab the headlines and apparently the love or hate of the nation. Who do we blame for this phenomenon? Reality TV? Social Networking? Media? Ourselves? Why are we so interested in the lives of others? Hearsay only fuels us to be overly judgmental. The interactive Channel 4 reality show “Seven Days” demonstrates this point perfectly. Seemingly normal adults have consented to being filmed and allowing others to comment on how they present themselves and choose to live their lives. The negative comments have been flowing, while the positive ones have been few and far between. Many of us would retort that this is the price you pay for fame, but should this be the case? Yes, criticism can be constructive, but personal insults are vindictive. Nobody benefits from this feedback or humiliation. Isn't this leaving the door open for all of us at some point to be on the receiving end of such candid behaviour? What gives us the right to be judge and jury?
You could argue that reality show participants have invited intrusion into their lives, but what about bona fide VIPs? Is this intrusion justified? Should careful conduct be necessary both in public and private? As public figures, I agree they have responsibilities to uphold, but they're also human and liable to make mistakes. Flawed just like the rest of us. Why can't the press accentuate the positive – their achievements and contributions to charities, and focus less on their appearance and latest relationship break up? What message are we sending the youth of today? That idle celebrity gossip and subsequent fallout is more important than global wars, famine, and the good deeds of others?
This led me to think about veggie VIPs. Who in the world of vegetarianism do you look up to? According to various websites, there's quite a list, but how do we know these are the real deal? Often those identified as such turn out to be pesky pescetarians! Others who proclaim themselves as veggie are unable to sustain this once the spotlight's faded. This media-governed world is a fickle one. Perhaps this is a lesson to us - we should leave celebrity out of it, be guided by our own principles, and let veg be the star of the show.