Friday, 19 August 2011

Celebrity and Heroism

And so it would appear that Celebrity Big Brother is upon us again…

Twitter is all a-Twitter about it, the tabloids will no doubt be full of endless commentary about who should or shouldn’t have been kicked out.  And then there will be the endless Jedward outfits.  (Apparently they’re making an appearance for a £1M fee – the boys I mean, not their outfits!).

But really.  No, really, seriously, why do people care? 

Now, I’m not going to go down the path of annihilating the characters of those who find it entertaining.  I will confess that there are occasions when I like to wind down watching drivel on the TV!  But, I accept that it is drivel.  I don’t try and pretend it’s anything more.  It is, quite simply ‘escapism’.

But I don’t think that’s how everyone watching CBB regards it. 

I find it alarming when young girls are impressed by the ‘celebrities’ they see on these programmes, and set out to emulate the plastic, fake tanned ‘stars’.  And I find the constant use of the world ‘celebrity’ rather nauseating.  According to the dictionary, celebrity is:  the state or quality of being widely honored and acclaimed.   But I’m at a loss to understand what these people have done to deserve such an accolade. 

Meanwhile, back in the real world, I have recently encountered someone who does not dress up in ridiculous outfits and may actually be able to sing… (that’s a pop at Jedward, keep up!). 

What he does on a daily basis, quietly, without the hubbub of TV cameras, makeup artists and an assortment of other ‘flunkies’, is probably more valuable than anything these people have done in a lifetime. 

This gentle, humble, kind man is a full time carer for his wife.  He doesn’t go around shouting and drawing attention to himself.   He just gets on with a life which is, frankly, quite a challenge.

Without his consent I would not wish to divulge too much, but he is a full time carer to his wife.  She was diagnosed with a degenerative illness within a year of their marriage.  It developed rapidly, and as a result, she is confined to a wheel chair and needs 24 hour care. 

He had to give up his career and move to an area where they did not have an established group of friends, in order to be near a specialist hospital.

From the details he's told me about his daily life, I am reminded that I am very lucky.  It reminds me not to moan about the trivial things I don’t have, and frankly don’t need.

What worries me about the ‘celebrity’ culture is that it does quite the opposite.  It creates ‘envy’ and a desire to have a ton of fakery (fake boobs, fake tan etc).  And a desire for “stuff”: bling jewellery; handbags; waxed perma-tanned boyfriend; etc.  None of which is in anyway likely to lead to real ‘happiness’. 

So, if a celebrity is the state or quality of being widely honored and acclaimed I cannot claim that this friend is a celebrity… 

However, the literary definition of “hero” is: to possess extraordinary qualities or to perform an outstanding act that helps others.  And he does that.  Every single day…  And for that he should be a celebrity!

1 comment:

  1. Spot on, though I do wonder if "art" imitates life or life imitates "art". In this case are the Big Brother people pandering or parroting? I know it a bit of both at this point, but I do wonder which came first.


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