Celebrities. Theyâre weird, arenât they? Just take a look at Dean Gaffney. Last Wednesday, he appeared on the front page of The Sun, talking about how heâd applied to join MI5. He said: “MI5 put out an advert looking for people and I thought, ‘How hard can it be?’ Most spies spend their lives pretending to be people who they’re not. I do that for a living.”
Apart from not being the best way to handle an application to a covert intelligence organisation – itâs certainly why my application was rejected – itâs clearly ridiculous. Hereâs a bloke best remembered for being fired from a soap opera while they kept his dog, and he wants to be James Bond. Letâs all laugh at the nerk. Go on, laugh at him.
And while youâre laughing, take a look at yourself. Get up, waddle over to the mirror and take a look at yourself. In the mirror. The same mirror youâve pulled the gun barrel pose in a hundred times. The same one youâve said âBond. James Bondâ? to like itâs the worldâs easiest casting agent.
Most of us like the idea of being a spy. The less intelligent among us might even think itâs just like it is in the Bond films. Either way, how many of us havenât, on a cold, lonely evening, baked beans bubbling in the pan, The One Show warming the lesser parts of our brain, wondered what it might be like?
MI5 even take applications these days.
I know people whoâve applied and none of them are idiots. Theyâre intelligent folk who realise theyâre smart enough to have a stab at getting that dream job. Iâm not saying Dean Gaffney isnât an idiot for using the front page of a tabloid newspaper as his supporting statement for a job which relies on anonymity – not unless he has a damningly honest opinion of his own current profile – but celebs arenât some weird cult class.
Every year we laugh at the D-grade icons they drag out for Iâm a Celebrity. We scoff at the horrible tasks we put them through and laugh at the idea that anyone might find it worthwhile. How desperate are these people for a shot at fame? Canât they see that really theyâre making us do this to them?! Now eat worms, Bristow!!!
But how many of those viewers sat at home, speed dialling with Greggs-fattened fingers, wouldnât do the same if the reward was a five minute segment with Phillip and Holly? Any number of prank shows have shown what the general public are willing to do to themselves for their 15 minutes.
Yes, itâs Christians-to-the-lions and the Victorian freak show and all that, but itâs the same mentality that made the big boys pick on the camp one at school: a punishment for people willing to show the thing weâd rather hide away. Most of the celebâs behaviour isnât even odd. I see Cheryl Coleâs had a bad hair day. So? Walk down Stoke high street and youâll see things a thousand times worse, they just havenât got a camera pointed at them.
But these people are celebrities, they must perform for us. They let us photograph them and interview them when they walk the red carpet to promote their new film, so obviously we have a right to see their babyâs face the moment itâs plopped out of their womb, to oggle them as they struggle with a soul destroying divorce, or ramp up the Mail Onlineâs ad revenues whenever they dare pop out for milk without makeup on.
Is it any wonder Scientology flourishes in Hollywood? If you had to live your life in a bubble, at the centre of and yet completely disassociated from popular culture, wouldnât you feel alienated? Extraterrestrial warlords and ancient volcanoes donât seem so weird when you had a pap shot of your tits plastered across a double page spread on your sixteenth birthday.
Celebrities arenât weird. At least, not most of them. In the week after the publication of Leveson, we should be particularly mindful that questions of privacy, of public interest and sheer nosey-ness seep down. Hacking Hugh Grantâs phone may not be as bad a hacking that of a murdered teenager, but our outrage relies on the same principle. Donât hate them, do something constructive with your criticism and hate yourself instead. It worked for me: I got 745 words out of it.