Fate Worse Than Death – The Rampant Media and Catastrophic Celebrity

It is saying something to state Prince Charles is doing a better job than anyone in Westminster in supporting flood victims, even if this is just pumping the flesh and discussing the uselessness of sandbags. Placing Britain in a Dunkirk spirit adds to a sense of performative nationhood, echoing nostalgic achievements in battle feeding into the diabolical Brexit myth, bookended by new blue passports made in Poland. Then the paradoxes surrounding misinformation kick in, the spuriousness of this nationhood, because who is controlling who? There was Russian interference in the British and American elections; neither state wants to release documents confirming this, and the legal system and press of what are apparently free countries are no longer able to challenge power. So, is it game over?

Indeed, the right to have a free press is becoming eroded in the UK, making us more akin to Russia. Hermetically sealed in a Westminster bubble, politicians of most sides are out of ideas and a backward vacuity rules; is it 1984, 1948, or 1930, when Churchill condemned the rise of Hitler, but those in power thought Churchill was insane and Hitler was such a nice dude really (1.). No one likes a realist, it goes against the insanity of positivism. Controlling the message counts more than anything else. Jean Baudrillard predicted this of course, but I argued against his brand of cyber-metaphysical-fatalism in my 1999 book ‘The Metaphysics of Mass Art- Cultural Ontology Vol. 2 ‘ (2.). Nothing is inevitable, it only feels so retrospectively, when we start telling a story about it, grandly theorising in such terms, offering false assurances. It’s easy to find villains, for sure: high and low celebrity culture, the BBC, Piers Morgan who is the incarnation of this narcissistic culture; but that’s only part of the Punch and Judy show, functioning to distract people from deeper concerns, such as the proliferation of abuse, corruption and lack of accountability at the highest of levels across a multitude of spheres.

Fatalism is not at work here; choice is. We can choose to be sucked into the mindless vortex of celebrity chasing, or wake up as all great teachers in all cultures across all times have implored. As Chris Rojek explained, following Smiles: ‘achieved celebrity presents standards of emulation for the mass. It is reproachful because everyone knows that there is no necessary connection between merit and achievement’ (Rojek 2001 198) (3.). People know full well it is sickening but they still stare like rabbits asleep mesmerised by the headlights, glaring into the vacuous horror show of celebrity culture, creating an empty mindless and mind-numbing dream mirror from this ultimately meaninglessness morass offered up by a rampant and vacant media.






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