Missing the point

I am not the first, and nor will I be the last, to bewail the state of the nation. There are so many things to bewail it’s tricky to know where to start, especially as I am supposed to be looking for the positives. I bore myself with complaining. But it’s still quite fun, from time to time.

When Victoria Beckham and the subsequent rise of the WAG “happened” I hung my head. I found it depressing that young girls thought it acceptable to announce to the world their aspiration to become the wife or girlfriend of a grossly overpaid footballer. Obviously the sport is, in theory at least, arbitrary – though somehow football is the one that suits it best. I shan’t elaborate on that. The fame, the money, the spotlight – the ordinary transformed by association into glamour stars, their every high street jaunt the stuff of glossy mag filler for ever more. (The thin paper glossies though. Nothing over 80gsm. You know the ones.) A whole generation raised to believe that this is a Good Thing. That people like Paris Hilton (OK, I digress from the WAG theme, but bear with me) should be emulated. That being rude, spoiled, stroppy and prima-donna-ish are positive traits.

Why is no-one telling these girls that it’s OK to want to be someone yourself – not just a celebrity mind – a real someone, with real talent, and a real sense of self. Where’s the fun in always being an accessory? It is immensely sad.

The “celebritisation” of this country is one thing, if you’ll forgive the neologism, and I am not a fan. I dislike the notion that everything has to be immediate, (blame e-mail – whilst loving it, of course) that hard work is for suckers, that a 9-5 office job is for chumps – that being someone’s girlfriend is a valid career choice (do you think that they cover it in careers advice at school now? Along with raising ones “erotic capital” that is) We are becoming more American with every passing year, and somehow I feel the notion of the stiff British upper lip and proud understatement are long-forgotten in the rush to sell our stories to the highest bidder. We are spoiled and behaving as though we’ve had too much chocolate at the party. I could go on, but I’ll forget where I was going in the beginning. I may return to this subject in the future though.

So we have WAGs. We have It-girls, celebrities famous purely for being famous. We have a country where people are genuinely surprised to find out a famous musician is truly talented, not merely well edited. A country where no-one seems to have noticed that Scouting for Girls has only ever had one song, despite giving it several different names, and that even that one is a combination of refrains from 3 or 4 other songs by better bands. All this wondrous aspirational material… and then we have politics.

Politics in this country have been pretty grey for a long time. Gone are the days of polar opposites locked in battle over major policy views. Let’s face it – there is no particularly rosy option waiting for us after May 6th – a change may be sufficient to cheer the nation up for a few months before realising that actually, there aren’t that many differences. I shan’t go on – too many others know far more than I do about this subject, and I end up feeling I am letting the enfranchised masses down rather through my lack of expertise. But why (oh why oh why) the sudden rush to focus on the wives and girlfriends of political leaders? Everything is reducing to the lowest common denominator – it somehow feels as though the “media” feels that the only way to get anyone interested in politics is to position them like footballers – look at those naughty boys spending too much money, look how they have wives and girlfriends – just like footballers, really.

Are we so lowbrow these days that even our system of government has to be turned into a soap opera?

I don’t want to answer that question.

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~ by DelightingintheDetail on April 8, 2010.

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