I won’t be reading this one

How many autobiographies should a self-respecting celebrity publish? Well, if you ask Katie Price (otherwise known as the ‘glamour’ model Jordan), at least four. I gather (and not from personal knowledge, I can assure you) that this oeuvre has just been published. And why is it newsworthy? Because some of the major book chains won’t be stocking it, taking the view that, well, three was enough. I have made a half hearted attempt to find out what this one is called, and did a search on Amazon, but gave up trying to work it all out. Still, I have been able to discover that Jordan wants Julia Roberts to play her in the hoped for (by her) Hollywood interpretation of the work. Bless her.

I suppose I should come clean and admit something: I have met Katie Price, one to one. It was right here in DCU. She was appearing on the short-lived Dunphy chat show that went out from the Helix, and I sometimes wandered over to meet the guests in the green room. And I’ll own up a little more: I had absolutely no idea who Katie Price was and, armed with such ignorance, actually rather liked her. If I can put it this way, she was rather dignified in a slightly pitiful way. Maybe I would come away with the same opinion of, say, Britney Spears, whose autobiography (if that’s what it is, and please don’t feel the need to tell me) I also won’t be reading.

I try not to look awkwardly at popular culture – if I am to be the accessible university President I want to claim to be I need to know something about it – but yet I cannot work my way into the mindset of those who think that Hello magazine is worth whatever the amount of money is you have to pay to get it. But more to the point, I cannot believe that the destruction of a person’s life that almost inevitably follows on the heels of unwarranted celebrity is something we should tolerate so easily. There is something odd about recognising celebrity in a person when you would be hard pushed to say what, objectively, the celebrity status is based on. Maybe it’s worse than odd, maybe it’s nasty. We build up such icons because we know, really, that they make good targets, not least because we don’t have to temper our indignation at them with second thoughts about their talents.

If the current economic troubles cause us to reconsider what kind of society we are, this might be a good place to start.

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10 Comments on “I won’t be reading this one”

  1. Jilly Says:

    Actually I have found one very good use for Hello magazine. If you’re about to take a short flight, and have unaccountably found yourself without a novel and already having read the newspaper, Hello magazine is by FAR the best option to keep you entertained for an hour or so. It’s absolutely hilarious: a friend and I were once kept in fits of giggles all the way from Dublin to Paris by Hello. Opinions on which articles are the funniest vary – my friend prefers the ‘welcome our lovely home’ pieces about ‘stars’ she’s never heard of, but I prefer the billing and cooing over inbred minor European aristocracy. But either way, it’s highly entertaining!

  2. Vincent Says:

    My dental person has the National Geographic, which I think is a gambit to get the men in. But one should seriously worry about the soundness of a GP choices if his wife’s reading fodder is anything to go by.

  3. Aidan Says:

    For me one of the good reasons not to go back to Ireland is this fascination with English celebrities like Jordan. I think that she really has overdone the autobiography thing.
    However, I notice that you are sometimes very dismissive about popular culture in general. Popular culture and more specifically youth culture is the creative driver of society. Opera, as you mentioned yourself, was not always high brow. Where there’s much there’s brass.

    • Actually, Aidan, I wouldn’t dismiss popular culture at all – in fact, I quite like joining in parts of it. I’ve watched my share of soap operas and listen to more than a little bit of popular music. And actually, even when it gets really trivial it can be fun. Nor am I on Facebook for nothing. But I think that four autobiographies for Jordan is possibly more than what you might consider strictly necessary. And I’m not sure that that is where youth culture is, either.

      • Aidan Says:

        Well, I agree on the Jordan thing but my comment was more to do with what you things you have written about reality television or even your comment on Britney Spears above. The latter is an example of an artist who has had a very interesting life and has recreated herself as an artist.
        My favourite program is Miami Ink (reality show about a tattoo parlour). I don’t see a big division between high-brow intellectual culture and popular culture. In fact, watching Miami Ink and, say, Murakami might be said to compliment each other.

  4. Aidan Says:

    Sorry typo ‘Where there’s muck there’s brass.’

  5. Vincent Says:

    Off topic a tad, well a country mile really. But when a Senior Judge uses ‘legally erroneous’ to describe the ruling of a junior. Lord Justice Laws, Court of Appeal, Re. Mr Justice Eady. Is it not a bit loaded.

  6. cormac Says:

    The real danger of celebrity obsession is the constant message to the gullible reader that they are less important than these characters. When i lived in Denmark, I was struck by the total lack of celebrity culture…

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