L. Neil Smith's
Number 372, June 18, 2006

"Refuge in the Junkyard"

Celebrity Worship


Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

Well, I just finished my morning coffee. My wife and daughter have both gone to work, and I have sought refuge in the junkyard I call my office.


I thought you'd never ask.

The television in the living room—what a friend of mine calls "the ubiquitous 27" Sony"—is always on. We never turn it off. It has been on for about ten years. I have a TV in my office, too, fed by a "Rabbit" retransmitter from the living room VCR—what it sees is what you get—but my office TV is off just now, and will stay off throughout most of the day, even though, as a member of the first multimedia generation (most of us did our homework lying on the floor, by the flickering TV light), I like having it on as a kind of moving wallpaper.

It's off because, in addition to a handful of flamingly ignorant loudmouths, bigots, and fascists who call themselves TV judges, and an endless almost Dr. Seussian parade of so-far naturally unselected mutants displayed by even more disgusting organisms like Oprah and Rikki and Maury, I've already had my minumum daily requirement of celebrities.

And celebrity worship.

Now I know (mostly by a process of osmosis that occurs, whether I want it to or not, while I'm trying to find real news) approximately a hundred thousand times more about Tom and Katy, Brad and Angelina, Britney and Kevin, Paul and Heather, Jennifer and Vince, and Paris and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, than I ever wanted to. I sincerely wish that the Namibians would kill them all, cook them, and eat them, so that all we'd ever have to hear about them ever afterward is a little burping.

Why does anybody give a rat's ass about these creatures, anyway, let alone the premiers they attend, the tantrums they throw, the servants they threaten or injure, the bloated orgies they participate in, the bodily secretions of many different kinds they leave behind, the depilitory tanning lotion they use, what they spray on themselves to combat crotchrot, and the clabbered vegetable squeezings they gorge on?

What are actors, anyway? With rare exception they are barely human beings, bad-tempered infants so incredibly empty and stupid that they need a writer and a director to fill their mouths with words and tell them where to put their feet. The very best among them are addicts and drunks and bullies who seem to be able to get away with practically any crime that anyone cares to name, but who would be in prison for what they do every day if they wore bib overalls, flannel shirts, and had a '54 DeSoto up on cinderblocks in their front yard. Actors ought to be deflated, folded neatly, and put away when they aren't being used.

Instead, hundreds of millions of idiots flock to them—rather, to the tabloid rags written about them, anti-journalistic publications that William Randolph Hearst himself would vomit on—for guidance on what to wear, what to eat and drink, and worst of all, what social and political thoughts to think or how to vote. If Robert Redford imagines that the world is getting hotter, then so should everyone else. If Madonna is "into" the kabala, then everyone else has to be, too. If Nicole Kidman wants to have herself thoroughly flagellated with a dead wombat twice a day, then so must everyone else. If Milla Jovovich thinks it's "nobler" for a woman to be raped in an alley and strangled with her own pantyhose than to have a gun and know how to use it, then everyone must be raped in an alley and strangled with her own pantyhose.

If Jeffrey Dahmer or Charles Manson had been genuine celebrities, then everyone would be murdering and eviscerating and eating everyone else.

I don't get it. It only takes about two minutes of accidental TV watching to discover that these entities do a vastly worse job of living their own lives than the average individual. They are almost completely ignorant, which, quite naturally, makes them experts in fields like gun control and global warming. The men beat their wives and the women shoot their husbands. They're in and out of joints like the Betty Ford Center like you and I go to Safeway. Now and again, they're found lying on their alcoholic faces in a gutter somewhere. If a real idea ever entered their heads they'd have to have it surgically removed.

Does anybody care as Liz Taylor wheezes her way through what looks like her 147th birthday or Jerry Lewis more and more resembles Jabba the Hutt? Is anyone really interested in the comings and goings (more goings than comings these days, I'd guess) of the genetically depleted flap-eared, Prince of Notsogreat Britain and his ancient, horse-faced bride?

Mind you, I understand perfectly why they take up so much time and space on TV and magazine racks, and why the government likes it that way. It's time and space that would have to be filled, otherwise, with the President's illiterate utterances, his disastrous foreign and domestic policies, the atrocities being committed in our names by "our boys" overseas, and the rape and sodomy of the Bill of Rights here at home.

Some of it might even be filled with stories about those of us who want to put an end to power, and the very concept of power, over other people.

What I don't understand is why all this stuff has any audience at all.

But then I've never really understood why people buy lottery tickets.

Four-time Prometheus Award-winner L. Neil Smith has been called one of the world's foremost authorities on the ethics of self-defense. He is the author of 25 books, including The American Zone, Forge of the Elders, Pallas, The Probability Broach, Hope (with Aaron Zelman), and his collected articles and speeches, Lever Action, all of which may be purchased through his website "The Webley Page" at lneilsmith.org.

Ceres, an exciting sequel to Neil's 1993 Ngu family novel Pallas was recently completed and is presently looking for a literary home.

A decensored, e-published version of Neil's 1984 novel, TOM PAINE MARU is available at: http://payloadz.com/go/sip?id=137991. Neil is presently working on Ares, the middle volume of the epic Ngu Family Cycle, and on Roswell, Texas, with Rex F. "Baloo" May.

The stunning 185-page full-color graphic-novelized version of The Probability Broach, which features the art of Scott Bieser and was published by BigHead Press www.bigheadpress.com has recently won a Special Prometheus Award. It may be had through the publisher, at www.Amazon.com, or at BillOfRightsPress.com.


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