A regular spot to share some ideas about what’s good and what’s not on the interwebthingy. But, you know, it’s your life, so feel free to agree, disagree or ignore what follows.
What caught my attention last week
This week it’s all about fame, and in particular how famous people might use their fame for things that are not related to what they are famous for.
Clive Muses On Fame
The famous help us live. What they do, they do for us. Fame is what we do to them. We turn them into characters and put them in a show, a modern version of the passion play. The ones we respect burn like angels. The ones who ask for worship burn like witches. Fame, like happiness, ruins anyone who pursues it for its own sake, and exalts only those who have proper work to do.
Those who are famous have their importance only to the extent that they help give meaning to the lives of those who aren’t. Ordinary life isn’t just the hardest kind to lead, it’s the best, and the famous people we like the most seem to tell us that by their way of staying human, as if there were a fallible, frail human being behind the glory – which there always is.
Sports Fame And Colour
It’s been a pretty big story over the ditch for the last couple of weeks: Goodes calling out parts of the crowd who heckle and boo him, others responding that it’s obviously political-correctness gone wrong. Goodes’ view is that “If people only remember me for my football, I’ve failed in life.”
Andrew Webster, the Chief Sports Writer at the Sydney Morning Herald, brings the strands of the Goodes story together, including his own experience at the intersection of sport, commerce and social change:
A few years ago, a leading sporting code flew this journalist and three of its reasonably well-known athletes to an Aboriginal mission in Far North Queensland.
The players were armed with “free stuff”: signed hats and gear, all heavily branded with the code’s major sponsor. There was also a photographer and video operator in the tiny plane that flew us to the island.
No more than 20 minutes were allocated from the time we arrived, handed out the gear, and then flew out. It was a shameless exploitation of an Indigenous community to promote a sport and one of the country’s biggest blue-chip companies.
No story was written.
Acting Fame And Age
I was prepared to use this headline to riff on the degeneracy of modern media:
For goodness sake Stuff, why they hell are you putting such rubbish about a UK morning programme before a New Zealand audience? And it’s not even swearing: she said “it pissed with rain non-stop for like three days”. And Stuff went all coy and said she said “p**sed”. FFS. (Sorry: F*S.)
Worse was that Stuff missed the lead. It’s here:
Mirren who turned 70 a few days ago also discussed her age, saying she couldn’t understand why everyone is so interested in it.
When the hosts told her they couldn’t believe her age, she wanted to know why?
“Why can’t you believe it? Yes I do, I look 70. I just have a lot of make-up on. I do totally look 70.”
She told them her age was “boring”.
But the hosts apparently didn’t register her irritation and pushed on with the questions about her age, which she told them were “boring”.
Shephard clumsily tried to explain that people are fascinated because she “looks fantastic”.
“No,” Mirren said, “I don’t understand your fascination with it, and I don’t think you’re fascinated with it. You’re just saying what your editor told you to say.“
What I’m Trying To Ignore Next Week
Celebrities. Famous for being famous. Yawn.
I think I’ll invent a new word: nobodity. Noun, someone who’s not famous for being not famous, as in “The nobodity Ned Davy was completely ignored when he expressed an opinion about something he knows nothing about.”