This morning we received an unusual letter through the post. It was a buff yellow envelope franked with the House Of Commons mark. It felt like an invitation and was about that kind of size. For a few minutes before I opened it I was quite excited, imagining all sorts of things. One of the visions in my mind was an Invitation to the Queen’s Garden Party. Why I was thinking along those lines I don’t really know since surely that kind of missive would have come from Buckingham Palace and not the House of Commons. And whilst I know the Queen does invite mere mortals to these parties it is usually because they have done something of merit or raised a significant amount of money for charity. Unfortunately neither my husband or myself fall into either of those categories, at least not yet!
Imagine then my face dropping when I opened it and it was an invite to a soiree put on by our local mp. No offence to him but the cynical part of me thinks it’s being done to raise votes. Probably the only reason we received an invitation was because my husband had contacted him about something previously.
However it got me thinking. Why do we venerate some people? Why are we impressed by fame? Why do we think these people are more important than others? The majority of people who are admired and adored are usually there for a reason, ie they act, or sing, or dance, or are beautiful.
When my mother was younger people were famous for worthy reasons such as they’d been to the Moon or they’d discovered a cure for an awful disease. But now, with the advent of reality and talent shows people are famous just because they have been on tv. People can be famous by association with these people hence we get the range of celebrities from A list to Z list. Andy Warhol once made the remark “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes”. I don’t know how accurate that is but I’m still waiting for my 15 minutes!
Some people are well-known for notoriety, they have done awful deeds and only come to public notice because the newspapers are full of the court cases. You would think the sheer horror of these crimes would put people off but some deliberately seek out such people and write to them and some even marry them!
Why oh Why do we look up to certain people? They are the same as the rest of us and to put it slightly crudely, still have to wipe their own bottoms. Unless they are Henry 8th who employed his own royal bottom wiper!. They have flaws like the rest of us. They have dark secrets, they behave in good and bad ways.
Some celebrities complain about fame and say they just want to do their craft and not deal with the fame. I am sympathetic to a degree , it must be awful to not be able to visit your local shop or toilet without somebody wanting your autograph. It’s different if you are famous because you were born into a famous family, like the Monarchy. I suppose in that situation you get a certain amount of preparation taught you. I think the Queen does a good job, she’s been reigning over the country a long time.
My honest opinion with those who put themselves in the limelight is that they have to take the good with the bad. Easy for me to say I know since I’m never likely to be well-known. If they want to enjoy the perks that come with the trappings of fame then they have to put up with a certain amount of dross.
I do not support press intrusion or Paparazzi hiding in bushes etc in any way. Peoples families should be off-limits too. There are celebrities I like for certain reasons but I don’t want to see pictures of them doing the school run! The whole reason we like and admire them is because they seem mysterious and aloof.
In the century we live in things have gone topsy-turvy. We celebrate a pop star having a new baby or a new presenting job but we don’t celebrate the paramedics and doctors and nurses who are saving countless lives. Not that many of them would want to be celebrated. They for the most part are selfless people who do their jobs for the love of it.
Princess Diana died 31st August 1997 at a tragically young age leaving behind 2 young sons. She had been what the world thought, a fairytale princess. It was a desperately sad time and the public came together in an unprecedented outpouring of grief at Kensington palace laying floral tributes. People who did not know her were devastated at her death but why? If it was on compassionate grounds for her children and family then fair enough. She was known for her humanitarian efforts and was called the People’s Princess but most of the people didn’t know her and with all due respect she was a flawed human being like we all are.
Barely a week later on the 5th September Mother Teresa of Calcutta died. Such was the hysteria over Diana I didn’t even know Mother Teresa had died until a few years later. She founded The Missionaries of Charity which in 2012 consisted of over 4500 nuns and was active in 133 countries, running hospices and homes for people with HIV , Leprosy etc. She went to India to teach but was so moved by compassion for the people she devoted her life to caring for them. One of her mottos was “A life not lived for others is not a life”. She too had her critics and has been accused of failing to provide medical care or painkillers, misusing charitable money and maintaining positive relationships with dictators.
Two very different women, both flawed human beings. Which one is more deserving of praise?. Forgive me, I’m not meaning to be cynical or critical of 2 women who were admired by many. My point is we must stop putting others on a pedestal and look to what we are doing with our own lives. Are we doing the best we can with what we;ve been given?
The problem with looking up to others is we are devastated when they fall, as they surely must, as human beings.
Respect people, admire those you admire, be interested in the public figures you find interesting but in the end , save your hero worship and praise for God because He is the only one truly deserving of it.
Till next time.
Some information gleaned from Wikipedia with thanks.