Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Like Sarah Jane with a Shiny Sixpence*

I happened to catch Starsuckers on More 4 last night. I don't know how legendary it's got on the intertubes yet, but for those of you camped out at one of the more farflung webtaps, it's a doc that looks at how and why the celebrity industry is maintained and why it's a Bad Thing.

Chances are if you read this that you're already some kind of pinko commie type who is quite happy in your own mind about why celebrity 'n' circuses are a bad combination, but Starsuckers stood out as an entertaining and neat job, looking at how the cult of celebrity is nurtured in childhood, the extent to which public images are manufactured and the way it feeds into churnalism.

To top it all off, it's been the subject of complaints from Bob Geldof and Max Clifford, which has a pleasing symmetry to it (as well as reminding you that if these two are the alpha and omega of celebrity the alphabet must be somewhat adumbrated).

It also has this rather neat ad:

In short the only qualms I had involve the programme's suggestion that celebrity is linked to a biological imperatibe to seek the alpha male and female. I'm always suspicious of Evolutionary Psychology, and I don't think that celebrity is simply about finding an alpha to look up to and get close to. Celebrity is a fully grown cult, a bastard culture, the sum of its social parts - any biological imperative can only be a component of that. Where is the biological imperative for the Priory? Yet it is an essential part of many celebrities' public narratives, recorded by the wandering minstrels** of our times, the 3 am girls. *ahem.* If you see what I mean.

Nevertheless, a smart, funny and insightful documentary.


**Wandering Minstrels:

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