2002 November 20 Wednesday
Theodore Dalrymple On The Appeal Of Princess Diana

If you found her as unappealing as I did then take heart. It speaks well of you:

But the very qualities that would once have damned her in popular estimation are precisely those that have raised her in it in our own age. Her cult was that of vacuity worshipping, and also justifying, itself: people “loved,” “admired,” and “esteemed” her precisely because she was so banal in her tastes, emotions, and responses to the world. Apart from the fact that she was icily pretty and moved in high circles, she was just like us: this gave us hope that people of no accomplishment might accede to a glamorous, rich, sex-suffused world, and reassuringly demonstrated that there was nothing inherently limiting about our own mediocrity. Her appeal goes to the heart of the modern cult of celebrity. It represents the total triumph of the banal.

Here's my question: do the cults of celebrity worship in some sense lower the people who invest so much of their thoughts in thinking about celebrities? Or are the people who engage celebrity worship already sufficiently flawed in character and personality that their time spent worshipping celebrities is just an acting out of how they already see life? Even if the latter is the case then does celebrity worship make it less likely that the people who engage in it will outgrow their character flaws? Also, will celebrity worship just grow in the future? Or will an increasing number of people eventually come to see it as passe and even as mentally unhealthy?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 November 20 01:23 PM  Civilizations Decay


Comments
Bob Hawkins said at November 21, 2002 12:34 PM:

Princess Diana, patron saint of golddiggers. With her social advantages and expensive education, she had the job of kindergarten teacher's assistant, i.e. babysitter. Then she snagged the right man and became one of the most famous people in the world and, supposedly, one of the top 100 Britons of all time. That's gotta be a record.


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