Celebrities Are Not Monarchs

Ilya Yefremov

But what about celebrities?

Surely they are debauched and immoral enough to provide us with enough Aristotelian Schadenfreude and vicarious bling. That they are, but I would point two issues, which make the celebrities unsuitable for the expressions of our collective unconscious.

The first is that the current model of creation and consumption and celebrity is inherently self-destructive. I hope I’m not too wrong to say that for the largest part the celebrity status these days is awarded not on the basis of talent, but on the basis of being newer, hotter, and more outrageous and shocking than the previous laureate.

Sheen may be banging seven gram rocks, but this in a game of quantity that number can be easily outdone by someone with a stronger heart and more tiger blood. It does not require advanced probability algorithms to see where this trend of “bigger, sexier, fouler” is going. In my opinion the contemporary art of the last fifty years has gone through a similar process. I may not wish to call Hirst’s “art” degenerate, but the search for new level of innovation and shock is definitely self-exhausting.

The second aspect of celebrity that makes them unfit for godhood is that in the days of instant YouTube stardom and celebrity blogging, the lines between us and them are blurred. The accessibility of becoming a celebrity (saint, hero) was always something that was an inherent part of the mythos – anyone can be the lucky one to receive the touch of the gods.

Gift from the Gods?

But in a world where the only thing that makes a celebrity different from us is the fact that they are a celebrity, this gift of the gods is missing. This removes the celebrities from their Olympic laurels and reminds us that they are exactly like us. Though this is true, for the purposes of social catharsis a degree of unattainable perfection is required: Thor may be a drunk who gets cuckolded by a horse, but he is still divine and smites giants with thunder. An unfortunate star of a tabloid headline who got drunk and cuckolded by a horse is just a moron.