Saturday, 4 March 2017

Slaying the Dragon

Celebrity, at the best if times, is something of a thorny proposition. One need only glance at the gruesome catalog of ‘celebrity casualties’ to draw the conclusion that fame on any level is a thing to best be avoided. At least by those who have a care for their well being. A condition not consummately to be wished, if the contemporary onus on celebrity culture is anything to go by. A situation contradicting times before, in which one needed have some measure of talent to attain fame. With the proliferation of digitally based video distribution, it is no great exaggeration to say that anyone can now be famous, if they are willing to make a fool of themselves. Or at the very least bear the whips and scorns of public opinion. Under such conditions, such fame saturation, the achievement of true notoriety can take a special and concerted effort. Taking things ‘full circle’ as the young people like to say. It is under such conditions that a very old method of attention gathering has seen something of a renaissance. What has come to be known as ‘trolling’ in the internet age, a term rapidly becoming one of dismissiveness, has its roots in what was once referred to as ‘tabloid  journalism’. A particular branch of the journalistic family tree stretching back as far as the printing press itself. Such is the tack adopted by the failed technology entrepreneur  and self-styled digital media villain and all around bounder Milo Yiannopoulos. Shock is his stock and trade. The more people hate him, the stronger he grows. The best way to beat him and his ilk, now that he has been damned out of his own mouth, in the most literal manner possible, is to ignore them. Or, if one can stomach it, feign agreement. There is nothing more toxic to the willful provocateur than consensus. It robs them of their constructed distinctiveness rendering them just one more voice, amongst the throng of millions, vying for attention from an increasingly fatigued and disinterested audience. 

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