Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Celebrity -How entertainers took over the world and why we need an exit strategy by Marina Hyde

DATE PUBLISHED: 2009 DATE READ: June 2009 NOTES: Marina Hyde is young, bright and funny. Having read her weekly columns in The Guardian I more or less knew what to expect from this book. She is not “anti-celebrity” as such but has over time become enraged by celebrities stepping out from their own sphere into arenas that they really don’t know much about. It is the celebs who take on the role of spokesperson for the developing world, weird religions or peace initiatives that are recipients of her wrath. And many of the examples quoted are cringingly terrible. Madonna (sponsored by Gucci) taking over the UN gardens to draw attention to her Malawan charity is in receipt of Marina’s opprobrium. And Sharon Stone gets numerous special mentions as she manages to promote both her forthcoming films and peace in the Middle East at the same event! When Angelina Jolie gave Namibia the privilege of being the country in which she gave birth she was actually granted a no-fly zone over the resort she was staying in and was also able to vet the entry visas for visiting journalists! Over and over again she gives examples of how people willingly indulge celebrities – UN officials, politicians, charity organisers, government officials, TV presenters etc etc. Have we, the public, actually reached the stage of only being able to understand poverty/disease/war/ if it is pointed out to us by someone who is actually an actor, singer or model? But apart from the neediness of the so-called celebs Marina Hyde also points out that much of the culture is driven by the tabloid newspapers and gossip magazines. Much of what they print is vicious and cruel – and if no-one bought them a whole industry would die.

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