When celebrities rule the Earth


General Culture

“The main criticism people direct at the media obsession with celebrities is that it clogs up the news with trivia. But it matters more than that today. As serious public and political life has withered, so celebrity culture has expanded to fill the gap, often with the encouragement of political leaders desperate for some celebrity cover. […] Take the fuss over Madonna. Since I criticised her high-profile attempt to adopt a Malawian toddler, irate pundits from around the world have asked how anybody could want to make that boy live in poverty in Africa […]. In fact the argument is not really about Madonna and her new trophy baby. What she is doing embodies the new ‘caring colonialismÂ’ underpinning Western attitudes towards Africa. It is based on the assumption that we know what is best for them, and the West must save Africans from themselves […]. This popular attitude effectively reduces the whole of Africa to a helpless orphan that must be carried on our backs, just as Madonna carried her chosen ‘sonÂ’ for the cameras in a native sling. And it rides roughshod over any notion of African self-determination.” - story