Late last year, Benjamin Pearson wrote a provocative piece damning “offense criticism”, in which he posited that he, and many others, had spent 2013 not “worrying about the state of the real world” but “obsessed with online debates about the media’s representations of it”. What are the consequences of making the doings of celebrities a major terrain for our ideological arguments? Does the sugar coating fundamentally change the nature of the pill?
Something vital is arguably lost in the focus on a parallel celebrity world that exists at some distance from our own. In her sharp, perceptive book No Logo (first published in 1999), Naomi Klein argued that “the slogan ‘the personal is political’ [had come] to replace the economic as political and, in the end, the political as political as well”. I’ve also previously criticised this slogan on the basis that the left should leave the cult of the individual to libertarians and focus on the collective as well as the self. However, at least a concern with the personal is rooted in the reality of everyday life, concerning experiences largely absent from our popular culture: work, scarcity, stress, illness, poverty.
From my friend, Sarah Burnside in The Guardian.