Belfast Telegraph

Friday 4 September 2015

The celeb hangers-on who will never make my day

By Gail Walker

Published 05/09/2012

Why do they do it?

Odd sight of the week was Clint Eastwood speaking to an empty chair at the Republican Convention.

So the personification of granite-faced individualism now looks like a doddery old man - all that was missing was the 'waistband under the armpits' trousers to complete the look.

All Clint had to say was 'I'm backing Mitt' to be effective. But no, he had to give a little more to the cause - his 'talent'.

Clint is a relatively rare 'right- wing' celeb, but that's not the point.

The truth is there is little as embarrassing as 'political celebs'. Whether it's Madonna crushing French fascism and/or Putinism under her stiletto or Jim Davidson wanting to run for the Tories, there is something massively aggravating about somebody whose life is mouthful after mouthful of jam from a silver spoon telling us our lives would be better with just a touch more Eastwood/ Madonna/Davidson in them.

Didn't we have enough of that in this country in the 80s? If it wasn't Kenny Everett, Bob Monkhouse, Tarby and Ted Rodgers smarming up to the Iron Lady, it was Red Wedge millionaire pop stars dropping in to show support for the miners and, worse, to spread the word that Neil Kinnock was the man. Or Damian Hirst, Mick Hucknall and the Gallaghers hanging round with Tony Blair.

In all examples, it was the entertainers who emerged as diminished figures. It was they - not, surprisingly, the politicos - who looked to be opportunistic hangers on to the zeitgeist; it was they who were exposed as looking for a spurious credibility.

Why do you need it? Isn't it enough to entertain people? Why should being a talented director, actor, singer, comedian give you any more insight into 'what should be done' than, say, an accountant, a company director or a postman? Give me a charisma-free zone any day rather than 'celebs' who are so conceited it never crosses their minds why we should want their opinion on subjects they are - at first, second and third glance - not particularly qualified to talk about.

We're not that desperate.

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