I was perched on my sofa last night, harbouring my own dreams of celebrity and world domination when a rather bright light went off in my head. After I mopped up from the explosion and things returned to their rightful place inside my cranial cavity, I thought about this burning desire for mediocrity that has pervaded every sense of our being: to wit, the need for one’s 15 seconds of bland.
I assume in the imaginations of teenagers, there is a thing called celebrity that is much different from those of a grown up. These titans of mediocrity seem always to fall short in my eyes. And its not just the folly of the youth. I am a former chef and I remember fondly the days when chefs were chefs – they cooked food and put it on a plate – some more fancy than others but that was what a chef was – men who were the subject of a Norsca ad were hidden in the privacy of my bedroom and paper towels and stock cubes were not cool enough to need advertising. It seems now if there is a celebrity chef behind it, you can sell anything.
What brought all this about was the Tuesday night lotto draw.
Stay with me…
The presenter of said draw was once a finalist in a reality cooking show. In the past 2 years, I have seen this young woman on television presenting something on a weekend 5.30 filler show, working behind the bar pulling beers at a city pub, appearing at freebie dinners at elite Melbourne venues (that I am also an attendee I have to admit, but I am not masquerading as a minor celebrity), and now, calling out numbers as they drop from a barrel. Oh how the mighty have fallen – what ever happened to finding a job in a restaurant or creating a food business? Or was the desire to always just be famous?
I also saw on the weekend, another couple of former tv reality lackies hawking themselves in cooking demonstrations in some back pavilions at the Royal Melbourne Show. I am not at all blunting the colourful crayon that is the RMS, but to put this in to perspective, I was asked to cook off against a Neighbours star at the RMS… That it is hardly the peak of celebrity is my point.
I dont really like reality TV – some of it is an excuse to advertise other dross disguised as reality TV in ad breaks. It really is an assault to the senses in so many ways. I have to admit to watching a few early editions of Australian Idol, American Idol and most recently, The Voice. The difference for me with these programs is that the contestants have talent. To see pre pubescent boys strutting about on a stage in their tight little skinny leg jeans, singing tunes that have lewd lyrics about things that they have not yet done, causes me some grief… it is just so manufactured. These kids strike me as the progeny of bored middle Australian parents who were too lazy or indeed too stoned to follow their dreams to stardom, especially in a day where you needed more than a Facebook page and an internet service on the phone to do it. So they foisted their offspring on to a Myspace page and sat back to count the money.
Maybe I miss the olden days, where people really had to work hard to achieve the fame they sought – where talent was usually a requirement. Now it seems all you need is a killer rack, a great ass or a much coveted haircut. There is a supreme lack of something to offer. Do we aspire to be those so soon forgotten?
Kardashians – case in point. These people are famous for being, well, famous. I don’t know what great feats any of them have had to offer except for sharing some DNA and the same first letter and surname.
What have they contributed to the fabric of a better society other than filling up magazines average people feel a compulsion to buy? Then, they, like so many ‘celebrities’ feel a need to remind us of their moral authority.
And yet they are worshipped – their derriere’s and their every move is plastered across magazines like people actually give a shred of a toss.
Another disaster of a program is about to hit our screens, documenting the life of one Brynne Edelsten. I am scared that our society has stooped to such depths that we actually consider giving a shit about this woman. Who is funding it? Why is it on our tellys and have we not learned from the disaster that was The Shire?
Maybe I am getting old and grumpy, maybe I just need a reality check… or maybe just maybe, there are many others who think that reality TV has made us so stupid that it is like a sugary donut – we know its bad for us but we want more and more.
Reality TV has taken the words journey and passion, and bastardised them so severely that they can barely be used any more without people bursting into fits of uncontrolled mirth. Though the cult of celebrity has been around for some time, never have so many been so awed by so few with so little – little talent that is. Tits and ass are separate to the measure of talent.
So as I crawl back in to a book, and look to the past for those real celebrities that earned their moniker through hard work, sheer grit and determination (not to mention the occasional afternoon on the casting couch), I rue the days ahead where for not much more than the cost of a dull crayon, you too can be a celebrity. Just remember as you slide down the burning banister of mediocrity you are careful not to burn your arse.
Or I might just go and have a dose of reality.