Badassery Magazine April 2018 Issue 23 - Page 27

"Living on a lighted stage, Approaches the unreal, For those who think and feel, In touch with some reality, Beyond the gilded cage..." - Limelight by Rush L adies and gentlebeings, I owe the Kardashians an apology. Ok... that probably wasn’t a sen- tence you were expecting to hear from me my dear and long suf- fering readers. To be fair, it’s not a sentence I ever thought I would seriously utter either. Regardless, it carries with it a certain ring of truth. It’s not just the Kardashians that qualify for this unusual declara- tion of contrition on my part. This sentiment extends to many of those who are labeled with a term that represents one of the most loathed and feared aspects of late twentieth-century life, a greater scourge of our times than cellular telephones and spray-on hair put together. Celebrity. Even writing the word causes a small shudder of revulsion. Its worst incarnation as a sort of ad- jectival descriptor in phrases such “celebrity golf tournament,” “ce- lebrity stock car racing” and “sur- prise celebrity guests” tells the whole grim story. It’s an easy thing to dismiss and traduce those who carry the mon- iker of “celebrity” as being vapid, vacuous and ridiculous. Their ev- ery utterance, no matter how ba- nal, is presented to the world as if it were holy writ. It’s become a popular (and quite lucrative) pas- time to observe and interpret ev- ery movement celebrities make, from their relationships to their choice of groceries. “Oh my! [In- sert actress / singer / model here] is shopping in the health-food aisle and just passed within fifteen feet of the baby food section. Looks like those pregnancy rumours ar- en’t just a rumour any more!” Ad nauseam. So then it seems obvious: celeb- rities are simply overpaid, overin- dulged parasites who have traded self-respect and dignity for the chance to prance across our mov- ie and television screens correct? Not so fast. While it may be true that some ce- lebrities do end up with an over- inflated view of their own lives, being pampered to the point of ludicrousness, I would argue that there’s a far more insidious culprit here. The media. Steady on dear reader. I know that in recent times it's become de ri- gueur to hoist "the media" by its own petard and excoriate its every deed as injurious to integrity and simple decency. I'm not so syco- phantic or obsequious as to latch on to every trend that comes along. However, I believe a case can be made that the media plays a large role in the intellectually corrosive malady that is "celebrity culture." In 2011, the New York Times re- ported that the celebrity gossip industry was valued at around 3 billion dollars. Sites like Radar On- line and TMZ (names which I admit are difficult to write with a straight typeface) claim to be feeding the public’s “insatiable” appetite for celebrity news, from scandals to relationships. 26