A harsh reality
It struck me as odd in the 1980s that the red-top-newspapers’ page three girls attained celebrity status without doing anything other than to show-off their boobs to the readers of down-market tabloids.
The rather superficial nature of that kind of fame hit home again soon after when a then-defeated former world boxing champion was asked how he saw his future. Instead of wanting to get young kids off the street and into boxing clubs, or helping to heal the sectarian divides that existed in his country, he said that he wanted to become a celebrity.
How vacuous is that? And what happens after your fifteen minutes of celebrity fame? How do you deal it?
Sadly, the newspapers have this week been reporting the death of an apparently vivacious young woman who seems to have struggled when opportunities dried up after her fifteen minutes came to an end. A friend that had shared her experience of fame-through-reality-TV commented that the producers of such shows should invest in aftercare for the participants:
“It’s like you’re constantly reaching for some kind of high and when work dies down and things go quiet you’re constantly trying to chase it – and that’s where depression can kick in.”
I’m not a fan of reality TV. It seems to be the antithesis of reality as well as being shallow and voyeuristic so I don’t watch it. Indeed, ‘professional celebrity’ is an odd way to live your life and clearly it can take its toll if you’re soon forgotten.
In that context, I don’t think ‘aftercare’ is what is needed, but an appreciation that not all participants in reality shows are resilient to the loss of transient celebrity and shouldn’t be exposed to it in the first place. As an individual, you don’t have to seek fame (or infamy); true validation comes from within, not from the perspective of others, so it’s a rather serious limerick this week:
There was a young woman who seemed to be
A modern-day TV celebrity,
But how awful it seems
That the end of her dreams
Reflected a grievous reality.