The cherry on the festive cake is that Gilmour is a history student who didn’t know what the Cenotaph was. What do you bet he thought THE GLORIOUS DEAD was the name of a band? Make no mistake, this was not a foot-soldier of the wretched of the Earth rioting in defence of his survival – this was the spawn of privilege and entitlement rioting in defence of his privilege and entitlement.
Since even the tiny bit of social mobility there was in this country came to a halt, the young rich have seen areas previously open to bright working-class youth become as mindlessly theirs as a trust fund. The Word magazine noted recently that – while fewer than one in 10 British children attends a fee-paying school – 60 per cent of rock music chart acts are now ex-public school, compared with one per cent 20 years ago.
…the accountancy firm Deloitte plans to start hiring school-leavers rather than graduates from next year, as businesses become convinced that university degrees are worthless.
University-educated hacks are forever banging on about how dreadful it is that all young people today want is to become famous on reality TV shows, but in a society where all the interesting jobs automatically go to the dreary spawn of the bourgeoisie, it’s often the only option.
Burchill touches on something here that I’ve been trying to work out myself, fame and celebrity being two of my hobby horses.
When 20th century writers tackled the theme, those desperately seeking fame were portrayed (correctly) as freaks and/or villains: Bonnie & Clyde; Day of the Locust; the lone assassin; All About Eve…
However, satirical warnings about the rise of such twisted individuals went largely unheeded and may have actually served as how-to guides and metaphysical permission slips.
We mock “people who are famous for being famous” but clearly they get something tangible out of this apparent ephemeral state or they literally wouldn’t be able to survive.
They are more accurately “famous for being rewarded for being famous,” perhaps through free meals and clothing, regular spots on TV then an advance for a quickie book and maybe their own line of perfumes and other products. It beats working.
Yes, young people crave fame because it looks quick and easy and often is. That was always the case. But one thing has changed: fame is no longer “fleeting” — which was the classical slap against fame and its shallow accolytes.
Rather, today you can almost never become “un-famous” — anymore than you can unring a bell or “unsee” a particularly disturbing viral video.
I’d still love someone to pay me to write a book called Famous People You’ve Never Heard Of, a cultural history of that soon-to-be extinct phenomenon. (There was a time, for example, when the name “Albert Schweitzer” was internationallyy synonymous with philanthropy; eventually that name became “Mother Teresa” instead and Schweitzer is largely forgotten. How, exactly, did that happen?)
So today, investing in fame is like investing in gold, except in a world where a gold standard still applied. Fame is the new “Owning your own home” or “Buy land: God’s not making any more of it.”
Shameful personal behavior has little impact on fame, any more than, Kelo excepted, you can never lose your home once you own it outright. Elliot Spitzer now hosts his own eponymous television show, to cite just one of countless examples.
So young people groping for fame may not be able to articulate their reasons why, but their instincts aren’t entirely unsound. They have considered the odds in their own slapdash way, observed the world around them, and believe they are making a good investment.