Alice in Texas

Not writing here anymore- see top post for details of my new blogs.

Monday, August 01, 2005

how tortured is your soul?

Why are we so obssessed with celebrities? Are they false idols in a heathen modern world? I think it depends how you look at them. In one sense it is phenomenally difficult not to regard the rich, famous and Versace-bedecked as superior, because that is the prevailing social convention: celebrities are to be looked up to and adored! The are success, brilliance and everything aspirational all rolled into one! Everyone would be like them if only they were good enough!

Which is patent abject nonsense, of course. Personally, I find them sometimes passingly interesting because they have the zeitgeist reflected on them more than other people. They are like mirrors of the culture, reflected in the face of individuals. The way celebrities live today is the way we are all going to be living tomorrow, in many ways. They often do what most people (not necessarily you or me, but that's the cultural zeitgeist part) would do if they had the money, the contacts and the other material powers. But at the same time, they are human, which is constantly revealed in their embarrassing failures, and they pay for their material freedoms with a near-total loss of personal freedom. To maintain a private life as a celebrity, you have to work extremely hard indeed and be very clever, whereas nobody is in the least interested in most of us living on Mere Mortal Street.

As for idolatry, it is my view that human beings are capable of idolising just about anything and everything if that is what they are determined to do. Nobody's first priority in life should be fast food, television, socialising, or any kind of obssession for its own sake. People idolise their children, each other, and being religiously observant is not a guarantee against it. You can idolise your own religious practices, by using them in games of one-upmanship over other humans, inside or outside your own group, instead of anything to do with any actual G-d. Although I would rather people obssessed about covering their hair than plenty of other much worse things, obviously.

Which brings me to Tom Cruise. I went to see "War of the Worlds" yesterday. Very scary film, very cleverly done, and you will be glad to hear that good triumphs over evil. And there is something very wrong with Tom Cruise at the moment. It was easy to see that the whole movie was a projection of his tortured fuming soul, he barely needed to act at all, and right at the end when he was supposed to have achieved safety and relaxation, all he could do was stare into the distance with his eyes twitching maniacally. I don't think Scientology is helping this fellow very much. He should read The Trail to Tranquility instead, that would sort him out.


At 7:47 PM, Blogger Stacey said...

I can't stand Tom Cruise, esp. his behavior as of late. Somehow Mr. High School Dropout believes he is an expert on psychiatry. I was never a fan of his to begin with, but now he's sunk to a new low.


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