Friday, September 11, 2009

Andrei Is Paris Hilton a saint?

"Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with that; I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first - rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me."

John Lennon - March 1966

This is a question posed by Stuff this morning in the lede to an article based on an interview with a visiting Sociology Professor.

Chris Rojek is Head of Department and Professor of Sociology and Culture at Brunel University in the UK.

His thesis is that since most of us no longer look to the Church, that would be organized religion in sociology speak, celebrities have replaced the saints as our role models.

This is a concept that has some merit, I suppose, but it is sad to think that the heroes of the church many of whom were martyred for their faith have been replaced by utterly banal celebrities in modern public consciousness.

You have to wonder though how many people actually give a damn about the stories reported in the entertainment sections of media. So Ellen DeGeneres is to be the new judge on American Idol, it is who cares as far as I am concerned.

Anyway the professor reckons
"We always need someone to look up to. If we don't believe in a god, who else is there to look up to except celebrities? Politicians are so mired in bad press, in letting the people down and every five years we get rid of them. Our business leaders have lead to the current collapse in the western banking system.

"The celebrities offer us hope for a better future and even when they are not doing that, they are showing us how not to be, how not to get involved with drugs and alcohol and wild women. Celebrities give us that constant message," said Rojek.

"And maybe society needs people like that. We need people to make us feel better because if we don't have those people, we're reliant on nothing really," he said.

"When you look at Michael Jackson's life you can see certain aspects of his life that you would want to emulate and certain aspects that you would feel are not good to copy and celebrities in general, I think, do that for us. They are role models; they give us standards of behaviour."

I can't think of anything in Michael Jackson's life I'd want to emulate but then again I have something far more worthwhile to look up to I suppose.

And when you look a the Church, its history over the past 2000 years and the enormous cultural impact it has had modern celebrity culture is shown to be what it really is, utterly vapid and ephemeral.

1 comment(s):

Lucia Maria said...


I suppose if Paris Hilton and Michael Jackson exemplify the highest aspirations of our culture (in a sense, that could be how one would redefine a saint), then it doesn't really say much.

Rather than the culture holding fast to truth, it instead allows redefinition using relativist values.

Says it all really.

On another matter, Liberty Scott's comments on another thread have me thinking about the real Saints. Christian Saints are those that we can look at and say, yes, these people show us what it is to live as Christians, what we should be aspiring to. With God's help, it is possible. Sadly, most don't aspire to perfection.

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