Skip to comments.Theodore Dalrymple: Pope Rosie? Pray for Us
Posted on 05/20/2007 12:35:09 PM PDT by TFFKAMM
As entertainment becomes omnipresent, more people look to celebrities for moral and political guidance.
THE CULT OF CELEBRITY is not new, but it is increasing in its scope and effect. At one time, people wanted simply to gawp at the famous, and possibly dress like them. Now, many take their moral and political opinions from them. For example, most young people's view of Africa, insofar as they have one at all, probably derives more from the pronouncements of Bono, U2's lead singer, than from any other source of knowledge about the Dark Continent.
As it happens, Bono has boned up on his subject, even if his conclusions about what should be done to help Africa are eminently disputable and deeply hypocritical. His authority arises from his celebrity, not from his knowledge. An equally knowledgeable but otherwise totally obscure person would not be able to hector the leaders of France, Germany and Italy for falling behind on their promises of aid, as Bono did last week. When Bono speaks, they have to listen he is more famous than they are.
Fame confers authority, and the principal way of acquiring great fame is via the entertainment industry. Entertainers are the popes of our age, with de facto though as yet not de jure powers to call down anathemas on or beatify whomever they choose...
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
——”Theodore Dalrymple”—one of the greater living English writers—
“During the 2000 election campaign, the Pew Research Center found that 21% of 18- to 19-year-olds got their political news and views from “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”
“The cult of celebrity trivializes everything it touches.”
That's a good question, except, of course, for the fact that for thousands of years, it mattered little what most folks thought. If they got really out of hand, they could generally be repressed by the king; if they had a powerful leader, sometimes they could overcome him and end up in charge themselves (as in France). But normally it didn't matter if they liked him or not.
I think this situation, where you have a large group of completely ignorant people being manipulated by slick, ignorant, shallow people with an uprecedented outreach capablity, is probably specific to post-electricity society, and perhaps even post-mass advertising society (because advertising is where people have learned this behavior).
Well, of course. There is little else written about it that has received any attention in our media. Naturally, it is the 'bible' on Africa, by default.
Here is one of my favorites:
The Frivolity of Evil
When the barriers to evil are brought down, it flourishes; and never again will I be tempted to believe in the fundamental goodness of man, or that evil is something exceptional or alien to human nature.
If the franchise to vote had been limited to those who have a positive stake in our system, most of our societal problems would not exist. Oh, and repeal of the foolish 1910s amendments would help too.
So, you wouldn't let the winos vote on whether there should be "free" wine? Oh, the intolerance!
Definitely. He doesn't have the fun writing style of Mark Steyn, but I learn so much from his articles.
That’s a superb piece.
Oh, grow up!! This doofus acts as if "column journalism" never existed before he was born!!! What a loser!
Did he never hear of the "yellow journalism" of the Hearst years? Of Hedda Hopper? Of Walter Winchell?
Drudge is the heir to these folks and this silly author has no clue.
Fame confers authority, and the principal way of acquiring great fame is via the entertainment industry.
Well, the easiest, to be sure. It's been that way for a very long time. But what it actually provides isn't so much authority as it is the ability to command attention, which is not exactly the same thing. It is passing marvelous that the one should be mistaken for the other so commonly.
Was there ever a time when it wasn't so? Not many, perhaps, but I can think of one at least - that happy day when musicians such as Mozart entered and departed their patrons' houses by the back door. That age had its own attendant problems in that the fame that idiots with beautiful voices were not granted was granted to idiots with the good fortune to be swaddled in the right cradle. It probably wasn't an improvement.