A problem with celebrity

I have a problem with celebrity. The way we lionise certain individuals and develop a fascination for every aspect of their lives – whether meaningful or not. The media industry is a celebrity engine, feeding this fascination and pandering to our appetite for making certain people special.

Take Jimmy Saville, who was in many ways the first UK celebrity to be famous for being famous. His ability to rope people, from the Queen to the Pope to innocent members of the public, into his nightmare was staggering. Just by being famous he could get people to set aside their sense of judgement and allow him to influence them. There is a madness in making people so “special” that they think they are above normal checks and balances, and then letting them get away with it.

Part of my hope for the web and social media is that we overcome this focus on certain individuals and all feel able to find our voices and have influence. Whether in business, music, or public life generally we need to break down this divide between those who have huge impact, despite often having nothing interesting to offer, and those who have real talent or insights and ideas to share but don’t do so because they don’t feel “special enough”.

2 thoughts on “A problem with celebrity

  1. We were discussing exactly this at lunch yesterday with my parents. We were talking about the terrible power of ‘celebrity’ in the light of all the recent revelations etc. It feels like it is all imploding now in an ‘evil is ultimately self destructive’ kind of way … And we were talking also about the same hope you express for social media to help prevent this kind of damaging celebrity culture to flourish because of exactly what you say about all feeling able to find our voices … devolving the power and the ‘influence’ … expelling the myth ‘celebrity’, discouraging blinkered adulation, encouraging appreciation and respect where it is truly deserved … promoting a generally more wholesome and balanced dynamic within society!! 🙂

    Interesting times – I feel we are living through a communications revolution and watching how our children use social media and all the tools of communications they have at their fingertips is fascinating … but that’s another blog post I guess …

    I always enjoy reading your posts btw – thought provoking and inspiring …

    Thank you



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