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Thursday, 17 April 2014

The celebrity royal tour swindle

The celebrity royal tour swindle


The celebrity royal tour swindle

David Donovan 16 April 2014, 10:00am 50

(Image by John Graham /

The mainstream media is filled with non-events like the
current royal tour and other celebrity "news" to sell us things we don't
need and fill our minds with pointless trivia, writes managing editor David Donovan.

WELL, HERE WE GO AGAIN. Another royal tour.

William, Kate and the little one started their Australian tour today
in Sydney, in case you've been living in a cave. The media, especially
Channel Nine – the most unabashedly sycophantic of all the Australian
networks – are jammed full of royal watchers and royal "news".


Let's be quite clear, the obsession with royalty is simply
symptomatic of our society's unhealthy obsession with fame, celebrity
and royalty. I am a republican, but whether we were a republic or not,
the TV stations, newspapers and women's mags media would still blow it's
Andrew over a tour by Will and Kate — we can see that from royal visits
to the U.S. and Germany.

The royals are merely uber-celebrities. Some of the most famous
people in the world. Ones that every person recognises and knows. And
these particular ones have only a possible, contingent , peripheral role
in our democracy — one being second in line for a figurehead role as
our future head of state, that is.

It might be unfashionable to say this during a royal tour but, like
most Australians, I am not the slightest bit interested in the private
lives of celebrities, the well connected, the rich, the regal or the
unaccountably famous.

I couldn't care less what they do, where they go, who they see or
what they say. I wouldn't look out the window if I was told a celebrity
was in my street, let alone go downstairs to get a closer look. They are
just people I don't know. Well, apart from the few I do happen to know.

But what's more interesting is that I strongly suspect I am in the
majority, rather than the minority who couldn't care less about
celebrity — royal or not.

The importance of celebrity is, I am convinced, vastly overrated by the mainstream media.

Most people aren’t interested, but you can’t get away from it because
the media offers celebrity “news” constantly on every station until you
can’t help but become conversant in the private goings on of these
people — unless you find some way to expunge your brain from meaningless
trivia. It is literally jammed down your throat at every opportunity,
even though it has next to no intrinsic news value at all.

The truth is, celebrity news is actually a con-job to extract money
from our wallets and to keep us from thinking about what is actually

It's the old pea and thimble trick — don't look at that, look at this!

I have met my fair share of celebrities over the years — actors,
actresses, sports people, writers, musicians, politicians and so on.

None of them – not one – stand out as being as anything especially
out of the ordinary or to particularly to be admired. Just ordinary
people doing their stuff. To be honest, they were no more interesting to
me than the people you would bump into on a Thursday night at your
local Woolworths. An individual becoming self-obsessed and conceited –
as many have almost no choice but to be become, with the spotlight so
often upon them – generally leads to less interesting conversation —
unless you are as fascinated with them they are with themselves, which I
never am.

It’s true that some, though by no means all, celebrities have a skill
that gets them noticed by the media. They might be able to sing, dance,
swim, run or paint well, for example. But if you went down to the
Woolies crowd, you would find that each one of them had a special gift
as well.

Almost everyone does something exceptionally well.

In short, celebrities are just ordinary people put in extraordinary
situations by the media. And most of the meaningless BS you read about
them is downright fiction written by their PR people or unethical
opportunistic hacks.

This tour by William Windsor, Kate Middleton and a small baby, if
that's possible, is even less interesting. They aren't even remotely
interesting people. Some might say that it is important because he is an
heir to our throne. But by the time his turn comes around – in, say, 30
years – we are more than likely going to be a republic.

Has anyone ever heard William or his wife say anything remotely interesting?

In fact, the media is positively denied the opportunity to hold
unstaged, unscripted, interviews with William. The Palace obviously
don't trust him to stay on message. Maybe he is not especially bright?

Certainly, William always reminds me of a Harry Enfield depiction of a British toff — 'Tim Nice But Dim':

But who really cares? The only interesting thing about royalty, and
aristocracy in general, is that they have a long and colourful family
tree and are generally rich beyond the imaginings of most ordinary
people. As an egalitarian, I do not regard those as notable or admirable

And I believe most people feel the same way.

Many will watch the tour because their curiosity has been piqued. A
lot will tune in because there won’t be much else on, since it will
probably be screened on four of the main free-to-air channels. Most
people will probably switch channels and find something more meaningful
to watch — such as the cartoons.

What a lot of hype for nothing.

The Australian media contingent covering this royal tour will be immense.

What a despicable waste of resources when there are important and
interesting events happening all over the globe that should be covered
in preference to this. How many crew are in the Ukraine? How many will
be analysing the next budget? What is Channel Nine’s commitment to
bringing us credible information about global warming? Running
investigations into organised crime and Government corruption? Nowhere
near the number covering the royal tour, you can be certain of that.

Of course, the powers that be – the big corporations, the political
parties and the media – want us to be disengaged from what is really
happening, and that's another reason they continually, breathlessly
serve up these circus sideshows.

For the mass media, they want us to be interested in celebrity so we
keep watching their TV shows and movies, to keep buying their cheap
supermarket magazines and whatever merchandise they have the
celebrities selling or product placing this week. For the media,
promoting celebrity is largely a self-interested commercial decision.

For the political parties – represented by politicians and big
corporations – they want to maintain the comfortable status quo that
keeps them in power and to keep us ignorant about the activities they
would prefer us not to know about.

To paraphrase the words of John Howard — they want us to feel relaxed and comfortable”. 

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