Monday, April 27, 2015

The Dark Side of Fame, the Cult of Celebrity and Today's Youth

The Dark Side of Fame ... and why the cult of celebrity is destroying today's children

By Sharon Osbourne
28th February 2010

My husband Ozzy and I once met Andy Warhol. It was in New York in the Eighties, about a year before the artist died, and at the height of Ozzy's solo success. We had a call from one of Warhol's people saying Andy wanted to meet Ozzy. We were intrigued so we said: 'Let's do it.'

First came dinner in a restaurant in Greenwich Village. Ozzy and I sat opposite Warhol, who was exactly like you see him in pictures, only more exaggerated - skinny face, and his collar too big for his neck, so the effect was a bit tortoise-like. Most of the time he didn't say anything, and when he did, it was so quiet you couldn't really hear.

Dinner over, he said he wanted to take us to a Manhattan club. It wasn't long before Ozzy got agitated. 'I'm bored,' he told me.

'So am I,' I said. 'But we can't leave yet, it would be rude. Just give it another half an hour and then we can disappear.'

Ozzy went off to the bathroom and didn't return. When I realised he'd done a runner, I did the same.

Of course, Andy Warhol is most famous for saying: 'In the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.' These days I'd put that figure closer to five minutes.

I thought of Warhol's prediction when I was watching a morning chat show on TV recently.

It featured a girl aged about 14. Her one aim in life was to have surgery so that she would look like Katie Price. Her reasoning seemed to be that if she looked like the glamour model, she would become as famous as her idol.

How depressing that the loftiest ambition a child of 14 can summon up is to have breasts the size of barrage balloons. It was bad enough that she regarded 'being famous' as a worthy goal - not 'being talented', you note.

When Ozzy was starting out as a musician in Black Sabbath, for him and his contemporaries fame was simply a by-product of doing something they loved, not an end in itself. Of course, they wanted to be successful and to make money, but they certainly didn't expect it and that wasn't the reason they were in a band.

Today, though, young people regard fame as a birthright. They have a sense of entitlement the size of one of my houses.

I recently heard about the work of an American psychologist who discovered that in the Fifties only 12 percent of youngsters agreed with the statement, 'I am an important person'. By the end of the Eighties, that figure had risen to 80 percent. I think we can all guess what it is now.

Children leaving school today no longer want to be doctors or lawyers or architects. All I ever hear is 'I wanna be famous', or 'I wanna be a celeb'.

There is an epidemic of fame-obsessed youngsters - aged between 10 and 25 - who wrongly believe celebrity is a shortcut to wealth and happiness, and who are convinced it will bring them everything they want. An entire generation that doesn't understand that nothing worth having comes easily.

I'm not a politician - and that's politics' loss - but it seems obvious to me that many teenagers part company with the schools system with little or no actual education.

And because the traditional family unit has more or less collapsed, these children probably haven't been brought up with any real values. We used to call them latch-key kids. How many people do you honestly know who sit down together and have a family dinner every night?

Read the rest of this fascinating article here.