A daily blog on the thrills, spills, and frequent absurdities of the world's one and only 'non-imperial empire' - as Barroso himself called it - the European Union.

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Monday, 6 February 2012

The Prolier-Than-Thou Cult of Celebrity

Wear a picture of a smoking mass-murderer? You're 'hip'! Wear a picture of a Tory? Crossing the line there, pal...

Am I the only one who thinks that an odd assemblage of music personalities falling over themselves to be prolier-than-thou actually rather funny? First we had a long list of self-appointed men of the people publically forbidding Republican presidential candidates from using their lyrics, following on from our own home-grown storm in a teacup when UKIP leader Nigel Farage attempted to use Tubthumping by British alternative rock (and anarchist) band Chumbawamba. The band reacted with 'total and absolute outrage and horror,' helpfully adding 'Nigel Farage is an arse' by way of justification. Oh, and Morrisey banning David Cameron from liking his music. Now, we have Noel Gallagher explaining comments he made about Lady Thatcher, which, he claims, were misconstrued.

Originally, media reports had him praising her, stating that 'under Thatcher there was a work ethic,' and it was better culturally, to boot. He even seemed to take a dig at modern celebrity culture, noting that under Labour and the 'coalition thing' all people want to go is get on television. Sadly, for those right-wing celebrity watchers who thought someone from the music industry was finally coming out of the world's deepest closet, it was not to be: he later claimed that his comments were misinterpreted, saying on his blog that 'all great working class art...came about in spite of that woman and her warped right-wing views, not because of it.'

In doing so, he's obeying two rules that prominent critics of Thatcher have to adhere to: one, they have to be tremendously rich. Three years ago, he was worth $27,000,000 (£14,000,000), which definitely puts him in the '1%' category. He then added 'if anyone's reading this - particularly from the Inland Revenue - I haven't got fourteen million quid in the bank...not in cash, anyway.' Not what I'd call a man of the people, but he certainly fits in well with New Labour. Two, his experience of the Thatcher years is limited. Unlike most of her critics, he was actually alive at the time, which I guess is something - but I doubt he was a prominent conniseur of working-class art at the time. Examining the finer points of proletarian expression is not that high on the list of priorities for a twelve-year-old, just below buying a skateboard and climbing trees. Not to mention finding a new source of milk after that warped right-wing witch took it all.

Still, Noel Gallagher's personal views aren't important. This is: if the left is as committed to stamping out societal inequality as it claims, so much so that it has put numerous examples of 'affirmative action' legislation in place to disadvantage white males, why does it not tackle what is perhaps the most glaringly public inequality of all - the total lack of right-wing celebrities? About sixty per cent of the European population is right-wing, according to election results (look at the domination of the EPP, bearing in mind that EFD, and ECR are also right-wing affiliations). Almost all the US electorate is right-wing by British standards. So why is there no celebrity worth mentioning who espouses anything to the right of Nick Clegg? There's the occasional waft of right-wing rhetoric from some virtual non-entity (as proven by the fact that you can't guess who that could possibly be), but the number of radical left-wing ideologies in comparison to moderates and right-wingers is hypocritically disproportionate.

Believe it or not, this is a serious problem. The chief argument for affirmative action is to represent society accurately. How accurately, then, can celebrities - doubtless the biggest influence on most people's opinions today - reflect society if one half of it is excluded, and the other is represented by its most radical elements, such as Michael 'capitalism is evil' Moore and Sean 'those who criticise Hugo Chavez a dictator should be jailed' Penn?

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