by Max Myers

In reading BJW Nashe’s fine article on Murderabilia, I was prompted to consider the much deeper socio/political implications of the issue. It seems that the more we advance as a society, the more we forget where we have come from. I love science, innovation, art, music and literature. I despise, with every fiber of my being, the globally exploding Cult Of Celebrity. So many are not just influenced by it, but actually want to be one of its members and will do almost anything to gain entrance. Famous just for being famous. No talent. No integrity. Nothing to offer the world other than vanity, and the emptiness that brings.

celeb3This is symptomatic of a much deeper issue within the structure of society. Sports celebrities, movie stars, rock stars, CEOs, bankers, multi-nationals, et cetera, are paid insane amounts yet teachers, firemen, cops, paramedics, nurses, and members of the armed forces are not — the argument of supply and demand notwithstanding. Yes, many celebrites do contribute to charities, build green housing and pay it forward to the less fortunate. But they are probably in the minority. The disparity between the celebrity class and everyone else is so vast — what does it teach our children?

Take a look around and I doubt that many would disagree that society, globally, is in turmoil; some would say decline. Maybe it’s always been that way and the Internet is making information instantly available, which, in and of itself, can be overwhelming. The web is amazing and as an author, I can tell you it’s been a vital research tool. Curiously, it has also created, or perhaps more accurately, facilitated the explosion of bizarre sub-cultures and Internet stars that, at least when I was a kid, would have been laughed at and rightly ignored. For example, on youtube, there’s a 43 second clip of a woman sitting on the loo, filming herself with her cellphone, glaring insanely into the lens, swaying around saying, yeah, you guessed it, “sittin’ on the toilet,” over and over and over again, ad nauseam, ending with the memorable line, “now flush.” That’s it. That’s all she says. Nothing else. Yet, it’s had almost 5 million hits, has given her a career, of sorts, and has spawned numerous copycat clips and parodies. Even as I write this, I find myself unable to fully comprehend the worthlessness of it all, and am trying to understand what it says about all of us.

celeb11I’ve never been a glass-half-empty bloke. I grew up hard and fought my way out of London’s East End — boxing, bouncing, playing in rock bands, funk and blues and yes, when I was younger, I, too, wanted to be famous. However, I only sought that if society felt that the music I was creating was worthy of recognition and the punter was willing to pay to see us perform, or buy one of our tapes. I toured for a long time, played many gigs as a sideman in crappy, smoke-filled clubs and ended up as a tour manager and minder for some famous musicians. However, I never, nor did anyone else that I knew, ever want to be famous for being famous. It was always based on talent.

I teach acting, writing and filmmaking and have applied my knowledge at the college level here in Los Angeles and as a private instructor. About 10 years ago, I noticed something in the new batch of 18 to 26 year old students — an overwhelming sense of self-entitlement. I know that every successive generation believes they invented sex; mine, the 60s generation, absolutely did. But, we also had a sense of respect for ourselves and our parents, to greater and lesser degrees. Now, that seems to have gone by way of the dodo bird and a cultural malaise, a sense of desperation, has informed society at large.

celeb12More and more as I read Patrick H. Moore’s All Things Crime Blog, (who the hell invented that “B” word?) and the internet at large, I get the sense that heinous crimes are  increasing and permeating the very fiber of everyday life to the point where the general public have become immune to them. I certainly have had bouts of not being able to read about another horror committed by some drug-addled miscreant, or greedy bastard, or sociopath. Yes, I get that as the global population increases, crime keeps pace, but I don’t remember it being so horror-filled. The part of London I come from is where a lot of East End gangsters were born. Yes, murder is nothing new. Nor is robbery, violence, embezzlement, et cetera and the world has always produced perverts and miscreants, but I can tell you this, there was always a sense of honor amongst thieves and no, this is not fanciful memory, this is because I know it first hand, although the Kray’s were certainly the exception.

British model Jordan arrives at the Brit Awards in London.It is nothing new that some sociopaths have committed their heinous acts to leave their mark on the world, forever preserved in infamy. However, I believe that the desire to be famous, or, perhaps, infamous, is increasing. One can check any myriad of social networking sites and there, for all to see, are more and more clips of someone doing something horrible as a co-conspirator sucks it into their smartphone, to be instantly posted, for all to see.

Where this all leads, I don’t know. I suspect that as technology increases, criminals and the fame-obsessed, will find ever increasing ways to both circumvent it and — more bizarrely — to exploit it for their own entry into the Cult of Celebrity.

 

 

Click here to view Max Myer’s previous review of the Coen Bros. classic western noir film, No Country for Old Men:

All Roads Lead to the Graveyard in “No Country for Old Men”

 

maxxNew All Things Crime Blog contributor Max Myer’s life has been as colorful as his writing. At age 12, he landed on the mean streets of East London, where he joined a rock-n-roll-band, learned to play drums and a respectable blues harp, and did some serious amateur boxing. He left home and school when he was 15, eventually moving into tour management and sound mixing, working and playing for many famous musicians from such notable European acts as Mungo Jerry, Manfred Mann, Wings, Berlin Rock Ensemble and Moonraker. Inevitably, he was drawn to the American shores…

In the early 90s, Max relocated to New York and started a music production company, but soon the collapse of Wall Street left him homeless and penniless. He drew upon his early days as an amateur boxer and informed by his experiences in the violent neighborhoods of East London, took on a succession of jobs as doorman and bouncer at some of New York’s edgier nightclubs. It was in this era that he continued his street education, joining a biker gang and experiencing firsthand the lawlessness and corruption of society’s underbelly.

By 1994, he recognized there was no future for him on the streets, so he took a job waiting tables and began his writing career. His first big break came in 1997 when he landed a development deal with Martin Scorsese’s Cappa Productions, under the guidance of Barbara De Fina. Succumbing to the lure of Hollywood, Max moved west where he continues to write, direct and teach.

 

One Response to The Cult of Celebrity…

  1. Tom Davidson says:

    Excellent piece, Mr. Myers. This sentence jumped out at me:

    “About 10 years ago, I noticed something in the new batch of 18 to 26 year old students — an overwhelming sense of self-entitlement.”

    Again, well done! – Tom

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