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Get me out of here

Does 'celebrity' describe someone who has been on television regularly, or someone who commands public fascination, or someone who is known to be eminently talented? Perhaps it means simply that someone is well known. In this case, Jack the Ripper would have counted as a celebrity.

However, Jack might not have been included as the word 'celebrity' seems to imply approval. The ground for this approval is often explained by invoking the notion of charisma. Here we have a very good example of explaining the obscure by the even more obscure.

Please help me! Is there anybody out there who understands the world where the concept of celebrity has taken root? What worries me is the possibility that my solicitor also may qualify as a celebrity. I don't want my solicitor or my doctor to be inhabitants of a vacuous world.

Philip O'Neill
33 Edith Road, Oxford

Irish Independent