We’ve been reading everywhere that the media has claimed another victim after the tragic death of Caroline Flack. I must admit that I had never heard of her, but the outpouring of grief tells me she was very well known and liked. It seems much like the death of Princess Diana, where press attention was the major factor in her demise, and the media must own up to this in so far as it’s actually true.
There’s a deeper dynamic at play however that has been lost in the coverage so far, something it’s important to acknowledge: it’s we, normal people, who have created and maintain a culture of celebrity, setting certain people on a pedestal, being intrigued about their private lives, and waiting on their latest photos and footage from whatever big event comes next.
We are the consumers of endless reels of information about certain individuals, and boy do we eat it up, filling whatever bizarre need we have to follow people we’ll never really know.
We are the reason tabloids and TV are filled with the latest celeb gossip and showbiz scandal, because editors and producers know that’s exactly what sells. They give the people what they want. We have created the culture Caroline Flack occupied and found too cruel.
Perhaps it’s to fill a void that we are so obsessed about the lives of others, but what we’ve allowed to develop in most countries is not just unhealthy, it’s actively damaging people on both sides of the screen.
A lot like social media, this culture of celebrity serves mainly to make normal people unhappy with themselves, that they haven’t a similar body, boyfriend or boat, and in turn this kind of disillusionment and envy sets the scene for other problems to develop not only in one’s mental health, but also in what we strive for in life.
Filling our minds full of entertainment, fluff and great expectations, we’ve become one of the most decadent, narcissistic societies ever to darken earth’s door, always looking for the latest bit of gadgetry, pageant or comfort to distract and titillate for just a few more hours, rarely able to fully switch off.
If you don’t believe me, try sitting alone in a room for 30 minutes, in total silence, and you’ll quickly be faced with your own existential angst, a restlessness that’s often reluctant to take up the more taxing search for deeper meaning and peace.
Removing ourselves from celebrity culture in all its guises would be a solid step in the right direction, freeing up time for what’s most important, maybe even taking the bold step of reading a book, of all things.
It would also spare a lot of people the sometimes vain, sometimes painful experience of living under the cloud of other people’s expectations, whether it be the glare of paparazzi or the teenager who has to be pristine on Instagram.
In our hyper-stimulated world, where all sorts of products and people are vying for our attention, we would surely be better off without this toxic relationship.