Once a graveyard of earnest polemic, The Guardian is now fast becoming the Hello! and OK! of national newspapers, rivalling perhaps only the Daily Star in the vulgar pursuit of celebrity. This can only be for the good.
Today, in his Guardian blog, the well-known cultural critic and polymath Graham Norton expounds on celebrity culture and how he hopes it eats up the world. Apercus include: “Our obsession with celebrity just proves that we’re Village Britain”; and “The trashier and more aggressive celebrity culture gets, the more people want to be famous”; and “I can’t see celebrity culture slowing down.”
Nostradamus - if not Madame Arcati - would have been proud. As if to prove Norton’s points, the front page of the Guardian’s G2 Arts section today is dominated by a painting of Paris Hilton – ostensibly to illustrate a piece on painter Karen Milimnik but really just to fill a page with the pretty lingua franca of Hilton’s low-slung visage. Another piece, this on photographer Gered Mankowitz, is overwhelmed by a snap of the Rolling Stones. If it’s not celebrity that obsesses then it’s the artists and artisans of celebrity that will do.
I noted only a few months ago that MediaGuardian was now the Hello! of the journalist trades with names, names, names everywhere: even some lowly half educated 23-year-old hack who gets the chop on The Sun is likely to get a name-check simply because of association with The Sun. Dumped hacks from outside Fleet Street can fuck off. A star must be allowed to dazzle and the Guardian certainly knows how to shimmy. Lest we forget, the Guardian dedicated more column inches to Celebrity Big Brother than either the Mail or the Sun.
Those who decry the Guardian’s star struck swooniness should first read some of the comments on Norton’s blog – here is the authentic voice of an enfranchised readership who populate an upmarket ABC1 profile:
“I think it’s sad we don’t have any heroes anymore,” why-oh-whys MissLouise
“Heat can be an artform …” salivates ArmchairPundit
“What does prurient mean?” begs Katewashere
True, of the 88 comments posted so far, many are a tad cynical of Norton, reviling celebrity for its own sake and noting that he has a new chat show to promote - but Comment Is Free, as they say at the Guardian, which is probably why it's largely ignored by the editorial starfuckers.