Thursday 16 September 2010

Celebrity overdose

I was tickled to find out about the huge demand for the Pope's visit over at the Bristolian:

Thousands of tickets remain unsold for events during the visit of the Pope, who arrives in Scotland on Thursday.

The largest organised event is an open-air Mass at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow on the opening day of Pope Benedict XVI's trip to the UK.

The capacity has been reduced to 80,000 after a slow take-up of tickets.

I wonder if the root cause of this isn't anything like what Dave thinks: he believes it's because fundamental Christianity (or indeed any Christianity) is increasingly irrelevant in our modern society.

I'm not so sure. Back when JP2 was Pope, there were many fewer celebrities than their are now. Many, many people would have gone to see the last Pope speak, not because they were fervent Catholics, but because it was a chance to see someone famous. Marginal Catholics would have gone to see the Pope for much the same reason.

But we are so inundated with "famous" people nowadays that the genuinely famous are reduced to mere high points in a wall of noise.

I was stuck in the doctor's surgery the other day and flipped through some or other "sleb" magazine, featuring the earth-shattering news that some former Big Brother "star" went and banged her equally "famous" co-star and ex-husband.

People were clearly willing to pay good money to read this tawdry drivel about two people who were not actually "has-beens", but rather "never-weres". And they pay this money on a weekly basis to find out more of this important and world-changing news.

Given that it's so easy and cheap to get a fix of "sleb", and given that most slebs have happily reduced the presentation of their lives to the same vacuous low standards, is it a surprise that no-one is happy to pay big money and expend any effort to go gawk at someone who really is famous*.

*This does not imply any kind of endorsement of Popes, Catholics, paedophiles or skyfairy fuckwittery.


The Grim Reaper said...

I like your angle on this, Obnoxio. Must admit I hadn't thought about the subject in this way before.

He certainly is a more major celebrity than most of the ones doing the rounds these days. Even so, I'm still not interested in seeing him.

Jill said...

I think you are on to something.

Also, the popularity of minor religions/sects/sky fairy groups has increased. And surely globalisation and mass communication advances have something to do with that. Which sky fairy you worship is much less an accident of birth these days.

I shouldn't really say sky fairy, should I?

Bill said...

The Clown wins again!
Superb analysis.

Leg-iron said...

What's a Pope? Is there free beer at these events?

Tim Almond said...

It's a mix of that and something else: the modern, money-making celebs are better at what they do.

Look at old monarchs. They went off to war, slaughtered johnny foreigners, came back and shagged one of the hottest chicks in the land. That's what makes monarchies work (whether through propaganda or reality): having two people running the country who represent idealised versions of man and woman.

What's the monarchy now? An ageing, confused hippy married to a horse-faced woman.

The fact is that the private sector produces much better versions of this. Like them or hate them, that's what Posh and Becks were. He is an athlete who goes off to fight our battles (on a football field now), while she's all over magazines like Grazia.

Religion lost its way because it stopped being so epic. You used to have the likes of Mozart, Bach and Handel writing religious music, performed in grand settings of cathedrals. Susan Boyle singing at an open air mass isn't exactly going to cut it, is it?