Saturday, September 24, 2005

That Gibson is a genius

I have just finished reading "Idoru" by William Gibson, the man that coined the phrase "cyberspace." The science fiction novel raises some very relevant issues of celebrities being the ultimate form of consumer branding. The novel is situated in a highly consumerist society where even celebrities are treated as commodities. I believe that this notion, although raised in fictious setting, can be readily seen within society today. Over the past week the newspaper has been filled with Kate Moss' cocaine exploits (the girl can't even have a sneaky line without it being captured on celuloid and distributed globally!).

I am increasingly finding that the role of a celebrity, like Kate Moss goes beyond her contractual obligations to stand in front of a camera and look pretty, just as in the novel, a fan group decided it is there duty to go beyond listening to the music and buying the concert tickets; they have to get to the bottom of their favourite band member's (Rez) decision to marry an "idoru," which is pretty much just binary code made into a physical (2D) hologram.

This work of fiction substantially overlaps with reality; lives become intertwined and un-reciprocal relationships with people (famous and not-famous) are formed daily. I contend that mediums, such as the internet, are the agents for the formation of such unrequited relationships. The speed at which information travels is phenomenal and the effect of such information is global. Access is unproblematic; vast numbers of people who are somehow "connected" to a person, that they probably would never have known existed without the practically instant methods of communication that are now ubiquitous. I suppose it all comes back to the privacy issue and with being a celebrity such invasion of privacy is inevitable, but I do maintain that the information highway, feulled by instant communication and access invites people to "research" celebrities so much so that they truly believe that they "know" them, and subsequently that they have some kind of ostensible right to that person's private life and the decisions such a person makes.


[NB. Im not promoting cocaine use or anything, and perhaps Kate Moss is bad example because of role model issues and the fact that she is a Mother so that makes the allegations worse etc. I'm just using it as a topical argument]


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