Kevin Myers: The words 'celebrity' and 'Ireland' belong in the same sentence much as 'lush' and 'Gobi' do
Published 30/09/2010 | 05:00
PERHAPS the most forlorn television programme in Ireland is 3E's salute to Irish celebrity, 'Style Me Famous'. Now, we all know that the words 'celebrity' and 'Ireland' belong in the same sentence in much the same way as do 'lush' and 'Gobi', or 'Zaire' and 'ballroom dancing' or 'Pakistan' and 'welfare state'.
There are only two true world celebrities in Ireland. One is Gerry Adams, the other is Bono. Both are preening self-publicists. But the mark of a true celebrity is that his or her fame invariably survives whatever allegations are made about them. So Adams has risen above all the largely true revelations about him, just as Bono/Hewson will escape unscathed from the controversy over his 'One' charity, which has spent just $187,000 in Africa out of the $15m it raised in 2008. But that's the simple truth about real celebrities: a witless and unprincipled media -- yes, in Celebrityland, 'media' is a singular term -- will continue to adulate and fawn before their feet, like abject courtiers in an imperial palace.
But there is no one else in Ireland who comes close to the status of true celebrity: nor anyone indeed of Irish stock abroad. Irish-America largely ceased to produce A-list celebrities with the Kennedys, who got away with their various shenanigans simply because they were covered with the titanium re-entry shield that makes celebrity so untouchable. But since the JFK and RFK and EFK, the clan has been in a downward spiral, which has now taken them to just below the Kennedys of Castleross.