Paul Syvret on Heath Ledger

Paul Syvret is one of our best newspaper commentators. His article in The Courier-Mail on the topic of this obsession with celebrities is well worth reading.

I wrote the following to him since I also have similar views.

Dear Paul,

You poor misguided soul. Evidently, you don’t know what is important to the average reader. We want more about Heath, more about Britney, more about Amy Winehouse. We want interviews with people who never knew Heath. We want experts to tell us that it is wrong to hypothesise and then spend fifteen minutes hypothesising as does the Fox Channel . We want to hear from the masseuse (an “unregistered” masseuse…I believe that even if others wouldn’t). We want to deify Heath, cannonise Heath and we want to shed crocodile tears for him at a film event as did Daniel Day Lewis at SAG. Ever since Anna Nicole was laid to rest, dug up, laid to rest and dug up again, we have been starved of real news, so thank goodness, Heath the mumbler came to a rotten end, because now we can get our vicarious thrill.

They say that we get the media that we deserve and I used to go along with that view but am not sure sure about it any more. You and I can’t be the only people in the world who are fed up with that celebrity rubbish. I have several friends who say “Heath Who?

Rome had its Colosseum and Nero knew how to entertain the masses. Hitler, Stalin and Mao had great processions and ceremonies. We have had Live Aid and Bandaid and hands across the bridge for reconciliation which I like to call “Lemon aid”. We are still sucking on that one as I write.

Paul, the average person thrives on trivia. His or her life is quite mundane, so if celebrities can’t get their acts together, it is a comforting thought– schadenfreude is a sad but very true feeling. We are but a handful of dust and a pretty pathetic one at that.

As one cynic to another, I have to tell you that God loves fools or he wouldn’t have created so many of them. Think of it, though, if it weren’t for fools where would the fashion and entertainment industries be? How about advertising? It relies on gullibility, promise and fantasy. The entire celebrity circus is simply another facet of catering to the masses of whom there are many and growing.

Stepping off the soap box for a minute, I would like to suggest that your writing is superior to the usual Courier Mail standard and I believe you should expand your readership by going Australia wide.

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