The “fifteen minutes” obsession

We are currently living in a world that is entirely obsessed and dominated by celebrity culture. There is, for some god-known reason, a shared belief that everything will be okay if we can just get that fifteen minutes in the limelight. That will obviously fix all of our problems in life, love, money, health, etc etc. (And if we can’t be famous just yet, then we crave every inner detail about celebrities’ lives. As if we can somehow live that celebrity lifestyle through them.)

‘Celebrity’ has, it would appear, become less of an elitist word than in previous years. There is a trend, through the use of social media sites, for celebrities to present themselves just as normal, everyday people. Fair enough. They are just another human being, the same as you or I. However, unfortunately, that de-glitzes ‘Celebrity’. It takes away the mystique. In the past celebrities have had to work (hard) in order to get to their level of success. They’ve had to actually have some form of talent, and they’ve struggled to achieve fame and success. Many “celebrities” of the past didn’t even want the fame (or even in some cases the fortune), they simply wanted to do what they loved and were good at. In today’s culture it is the fame that people crave. In today’s culture fame is marketed and advertised. It is presented as something attainable. It is too easy.

Reality television offers the chance to be broadcast to the country. To be given fifteen minutes in the spotlight for the small fee of your dignity. As long as you don’t object to being publicly humiliated you can be famous too. It’s disgusting. We are constantly being presented with face after face after face of people who are famous for simply being famous. They have no desirable skill or talent. In fact, the majority of them appear to only be good at being orange. Or at having an incredibly irritating speaking voice. They can’t sing, act, play an instrument, dance, cook, sew, make a house, write a book, etc etc. And yet they are apparently our current role-models. It could be laughable if it wasn’t so terrifying.

We now have an entire generation of people who’s sole ambition in life is to be famous. To be famous for being famous. No ambition to be successful, or inspiring. Just to have fame and fortune. There are teenagers who, when in discussion with careers advisors, simply state that they’re going to be famous. Or rich. Or famous and rich. And when asked how they think they’ll manage that, their response is an off-hand shrug and: “Oh I just will be.” There is no sense of realism. No idea of talent or hard-work or skill. They simply believe that someone will hand fame to them on a plate. And the sad thing is, that for a lot of people that’s exactly what appears to be happening.

Yesterday I watched the X Factor.

I am not proud of that fact. Nor was I a part of the decision making that went on to determine what we should watch. Therefore, I was not responsible for my watching of the X Factor. I cannot be blamed.

I am however, in one way, quite pleased that I did see it. After an hour of padded story lines, humiliating families, bitchy judges, and sobbing individuals, I was able to walk away having confirmed what I’ve always known without even watching the program. And that is that it’s a load of bollocks. A¬†commercialized,¬†legalized¬†form of public humiliation and bullying, with no real interest in musical talent.

In the hour that the show was on, we were shown contestant after contestant who couldn’t sing. Who had been put through that first round of auditions to appear in the live shows purely as a form of hideous entertainment. Purely for the audience to mock. To laugh at. To boo offstage. To boo the judges when they highlight how dreadful the individual is. To actually look affronted when they are told that they will never make it as a musician. For every awful humiliation we were shown a (less than) 5 second clip of a talented individual being put through to the next round. What happened to make us, the human race, crave the soul-crushing over the success? When did it become a national (pretty much international) hobby to watch as people are tortured before our eyes. That’s all I witnessed. One incredibly talented woman (who was, it has to be mentioned, mocked for her job as a pre-school leader) and a dozen acts who were laughed at, snarked at, and metaphorically pelted with rotten tomatoes from the audience.

Reality tv is like a modern day version of the stocks. We are no longer able, as society, to lock people up and throw things at them for public humiliation and entertainment. Instead we slap a few flashing lights around them and call it a music show.

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Sometimes I really worry about the British public..

..Then I remind myself that I have Yo Sushi issues and can’t even think about squeezy marmite without launching into a mighty fine rant, and so really don’t have much of a leg to stand on..

But really. What exactly is it about reality tv that grabs our nation’s attention and says ‘hey there I’m going to consume your lives and conversations for the next 2-4 months, and rack up your phone bill, and most likely take-over your dreams so I’m all you can think about’. I mean, why??

Now I’m not gonna lie.. I am most probably one of the hugest internet addicts about, a fact that has caused me some concern since this morning when I was directed to this link. (I swear I’m not considering self-harm. Nuh-uh.) But I really don’t understand the X Factor / Strictly / I’m A Celebrity.. craze that has officially attacked poor old Twitter. And most likely Facebook, but my homepage hates me and doesn’t really do what I want it to, except that now actually that doesn’t seem so bad, cause at least I can avoid “Say bye bye to Danyl, ladies and gents! #xfactor“, “Bored of Joe, hope he doesn’t win.” type comments. On every-other-single-flippin’-person’s-status. Major ouch. I just feel bad for the poor little website.. I mean it probably gets very bored just receiving the same comments over and over and over again from countless numbers of people. Show some variety dudes!

I’m all for variety. And would much rather read about.. well anything really. Even if it’s only 140 characters of anything. It’ll be a better 140 characters than those concerning Mister Cowell’s money-making-machines. No contest. No offence to Mister Cowell, of course. I’m a big fan of the dude. Just, y’know.. maybe give someone else a chance at Christmas number one, yeah? Excellent. In fact I’m pretty sure there’s a plot out there to get Rage Against the Machine as number one..

Let's get screamo-shit to number one (:

Which would be totally awesome. And the housemates may cool down on the mickey-taking of my ‘screamo-shit’.. Although they do at least agree that I don’t play ’emo-crap’ , just ‘screamo-shit’. Which I guess I can live with. Apparently “I like metal. Just not super super heavy metal. But not just soft wimpy metal” is too long a caption. So ‘screamo-shit’ it is (:

But anyway.. I’m really not fussed with what Cheryl Cole or Danni Minogue are wearing or have done to their hair, or which judges are fighting or not agreeing or being rude or being stupid. And I’m definitely not fussed with what the contestants are wearing, or doing with their hair.. I mean to be fair it’s a singing competition. And as a ‘singer’ I can relate that sometimes what you’re wearing can have an impact on the performance. But enough to warrant several hundred tweets about whether you’re wearing a toga, or a bed-sheet, or how it makes you look fat?! Nuh-uh peoples. C’mon.. And people say I talk a load of babble that really doesn’t need to be formed into little words and allowed to escape. This is the whole nation! Blimey..