Ba­nal fame

The Washington Times Weekly - - Culture, Etc. -

“Fame con­fers author­ity, and the prin­ci­pal way of ac­quir­ing great fame is via the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try. En­ter­tain­ers are the popes of our age, with de facto — though as yet not de jure — pow­ers to call down anath­e­mas on or be­at­ify whomever they choose. [. . .]

“Celebrity is a source of moral author­ity, as if it were the case that no one could be fa­mous who was not good. Celebri­ties also must be clever, for how could some­one have as­cended to great fame with­out some su­pe­ri­or­ity of mind?

“One of the curious things about mod­ern celebri­ties, how­ever, is that al­though they should be glam­orous and un­ap­proach­able in some way, they also should be com­pletely ba­nal at the same time (that was the great ap­peal of Princess Diana). Noth­ing could il­lus­trate this bet­ter than the Web site of Rosie O’Don­nell, the co­me­dian, les­bian ac­tivist and re­cent chief at­trac­tion on ‘The View,’ who pro­nounces on so many sub­jects and whose ut­ter­ances ap­pear to be taken se­ri­ously by many.

“Peo­ple e-mail her ques­tions, to which she replies. Com­pared with the ques­tions and an­swers on the site, the av­er­age barfly sounds like Socrates.”

Theodore Dalrymple, writ­ing on “Pope Rosie? Pray for us,” May 20 in the Los An­ge­les Times

A tar­get for Mus­lim ex­trem­ists? Pope Bene­dict XVI

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