The International Writers Magazine: NY Comment
Had enough of celebrity culture?
I know I have! Not that there aren’t some decent athletes or performers, but we never hear about the good ones, only the fuck-ups. Life has always been messy, but now, with the 24-hour media cycle, we are having it relentless pushed in our faces on a continuous basis.
The new technologies are propelling humanity to the verge of a new democratic age, the same as the printing press shook up the social order by giving voice to anybody with a pen and paper. We are at the threshold of a new democratization of culture by allowing writers like me to bypass the entrenched media interests and socially approved arbiters of “taste” like The New York Times, and take our message directly to the mass audience, like the political pamphleteers of seventeenth century England, who finally succeeded in separating the head of Charles I from its body.
And not a moment too soon. If I ever saw a social order that was in its death throes, it’s this one. Do Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner or Larry Summers deserve to keep doing their jobs? Do the Republican roundheads, deluded psychotic reactionaries that they are, deserve another chance to drive the world off a cliff? No way! And as the chorus of bloggers and video agitators continues to pick up momentum, throwing the established order into chaos, it’s clear that the undeserving inheritors of a social structure they never built will be trampled underfoot as the world population rushes to The Next Big Thing.
Nevertheless, it’s a messy process and we are choking on the afterbirth in the form of putrid coverage of less-than-inspiring personalities. Nobody could stand the scrutiny that these people are subjected to, and the class of personalities that has emerged today is even less qualified to handle the attention. Who told Kanye West he could sing? Oh yeah, a hundred million adoring knuckleheads. So now we reap the harvest of our bad taste by seeing him go on Jay Leno and mumble, “As a celebrity, I should have behaved better”. Then we get to see him perform an absolutely worthless song with Jay-Z and Rihanna, the three of them somnambulating with all the artistic inspiration of a gang of streetcorner crackheads.
Why stop there? How about Lindsay Lohan, who continues to get a lot of attention here and in Europe. I have never heard one song by her. The only thing I know about Lindsay Lohan is from reading The New York Post, which is a trade journal for idiots. After years of seeing Lohan in various stages of shabby degradation and following the worthless details of her and her whole pathetic family, I can only ask, why am I reading this?
At least you don’t see her on TV much, which is shocking, considering all the opportunities she might have to humiliate herself on that elephant’s graveyard for wasted specimens, Dancing with The Stars. How many shows do you get to see one-legged dancers like Heather Mills? Or indicted disgraced politicians like Tom DeLay fall on his butt while doing the tango? It can’t be too much longer until we get to see Rudy Giuliani in his Marilyn Monroe dress doing high kicks with Eliot Spitzer to “New York - New York” as part of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Extravaganza.
But in the last week we have been treated to a guest appearance by Tiger Woods getting a little Thanksgiving golfing lesson form his charming wife, who allegedly tried to wrap a wedge around his neck and, failing that, beat up his car.
No matter, within a few days a cast of female hangers-on (guess what they were hanging on to?) emerged from the woodwork that must have given Spitzer fits of envy. Now, as Woods scrambles frantically to pay off all his women before the bad publicity kills his commercial endorsement income, we should take a moment to reflect on why a guy can be ruined for having some girlfriends. What is the big deal anyway?
In fact, what is the big deal about any of these pineapples? OK, Tiger Woods can play golf, A-Rod can hit a baseball and Susan Boyle can sing a song, they say. But don’t people have anything else to do but dwell on the faults of people who might have a particular commercial talent, but who aren’t any more intelligent or even any more glamorous than they are?
Ultimately, the question is the answer. Talent is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. As French author Gustave Flaubert once observed, “To have talent, you have to believe in yourself” (my translation). People who never put themselves up front in any endeavor tend to live through the lives of those who took the chance. Sad but true. Microscopic inspection of other people’s lives and faults gives the average loser comfort that fundamentally we are all the same, and since the really talented performers are lumped in with the worthless exhibitionists for purposes of selling newspapers, that oversimplification tends to gain currency. But it’s not true. There are plenty of talented people you never hear about because they have the brains to stay out of the news. Like Tiger Woods – until last week.
© Dean Borok Dec 6th 2009
and Nothing But
My girlfriend, gave me a queen size piece of her mind on the way
out the door. "Youre never going to get a job with
all the vituperative invective you spew on the Internet, you
Exposing Roman Polanski to the wrath of the U.S. criminal justice system
would be the equivalent of a death sentence for the 76 year-old