SOMETIMES I wonder what this apparent infatuation for ‘Celebs’ (famosos in Spanish) says about us and our civilisation. One can’t open a newspaper or magazine these days without stumbling over a story informing us of the comings and goings of some celebrity couple: pronouncing their undying love for one another, or that (more likely) they’ve decided to separate, or that they are expecting their ‘Love Child’.
This last phrase paints a pretty clear picture of how they see the rest of us.
We, not being ‘Celebs’, don’t have ‘love children’: generally, we get married before starting a family. How quaint. How so very retro!
Some women achieve their celebrity status by marrying it, like the Gaiety Girls who, in the late 1890s, entered into holy matrimony with scions of the aristocracy, the difference being that most of them had the wit, and the tenacity, to stay married.
This latest crop, having no skills or career to help them through life, become celebrities simply by marrying a Premier Division footballer – a risky business, given the moral predilections of some of these over-paid and irresponsible children. Not all fall at the first hurdle, of course.
The Beckhams are a rare example of those that, despite the pressures of publicity, do make a go of it. Success probably depends upon one of the couple, usually the woman, being strong enough to control, and perhaps overlook, any wayward behaviour on the part of her partner. It helps too, if she is a canny businesswoman. The Beckhams are wealthy, with a likelihood that they will remain so for the rest of their lives. ‘Posh’, it seems, is no fool.
Unfortunately, such couples appear to be in the minority.
A lucrative divorce seems to be a considered option for many of these football wives, and perhaps they enter into these unions with that ‘lifebelt’ in mind. After all, it can’t always have been the personal charm of their men that lured these girls into matrimony. Most of us could name a couple of footballers who, shorn of their skill with the ball, would probably be spending half their lives in jail, and the rest on the dole.
The saddest thing though, is that so many famosos have no skills or charm to impart. They are famous only for being seen at the right celebrity events; they are, in short, manufactured by agents, who take money from foolish, over-ambitious, wannabe stars. Perhaps these unfortunate young women – and most of them are women – have been pushed into it almost from birth by mothers who want to bask, if their daughters should at last succeed, in their reflected glory.
But what of those who never make it? How will they be feeling when they realise the promised jet-set lifestyle, the appearances in glossy magazines with a millionaire on their arm, will be never be theirs. Glancing through the pages of ‘Hello’, will they be thinking: “That might have been me. That should have been me?” Such emotional pain; and all because of a publicity industry that somehow has achieved – for itself – a sort of spurious respectability.
Decadence has historically heralded the downfall of many a civilisation.
Perhaps this ‘Celeb’ culture is a warning to us.