Celebrity shake-out

It is not often that we draw especial attention to the musical achievements of Marshall Bruce Mathers III, or, as he is more popularly known, Eminem. Nevertheless, we feel that Mr Mathers’s latest opus, Relapse, is to be commended – if only for his decision to have a pop at a host of celebrities on the album.

The efforts of Mr Shady (as he also likes to be known) to deflate the froth of a culture that has elevated fame, earned or unearned, transient or enduring, to a virtue above all others may well be on the crude side. But others are joining him in this worthy cause, not least the Guardian journalist Marina Hyde, who has written a book titled Celebrity: How Entertainers Took Over the World and Why We Need an Exit Strategy.

Is it too much to hope that such a strategy is already, miraculously, falling into place? And that the legions of those whose empty fame lasts barely 15 seconds, never mind

15 minutes, are beginning to be consigned to the margins? It has just been announced that Maxim, a magazine which mirrored the grotesque materialism that spawned celebrity culture, is to close its print edition. Encouraging, too, to hear that this year’s Sony Awards (“radio’s Oscars”) feature nominations for a Brixton prison station and even the RSPB – but none at all for Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand.

Sadly, it will be a long time before that last name prompts the response, “Who he?” But that day – thank goodness – may just be a little closer. Happy Easter.

This article first appeared in the 13 April 2009 issue of the New Statesman, Easter 2009