If you want to appear like you’re at the cutting edge of net culture but can’t be bothered to spend hours online, then never fear. Scotsman.com’s pathetic team of geeks, freaks and gimps will do the hard work for you. While you sip wine, read a book or engage in normal social interaction, they will burn out their retinas staring at badly designed web pages and dodge creeps in chatrooms to prepare for you: Scotsman.com’s lazy guide to net culture.
This week’s online curio: the ultimate celebrity site
The cult of celebrity is a terrible thing.
The TV, the papers and the internet are awash with the white noise of celeb tittle tattle. These false idols are incessantly worshipped by the media and by those desperate to lose themselves in trivia. The sexual peccadilloes, choices of outfit and "thoughts" of the famous crowd out the things that actually matter.
They are the spam of humanity. They're worse than spam. They don't just clog up our email, they clog up our lives.
Hardly any of them are truly exceptional. Most are just perfectly average individuals enjoying an entirely accidental Warhol-sized portion of fame. They believe the myth of their own importance while all the while oblivion beckons, for nearly every one of these Golden Calves is wandering inevitably down the primrose path to panto - or worse I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.
Any celebrity who is taken in by their own hype should be forced to read the "graves, worms, and epitaphs" speech in Shakespeare's Richard II. After careful explanation utilising big pictures and short words, he should be encouraged to see that Fame is just
Allowing him a breath, a little scene,
To monarchise, be fear'd and kill with looks,
Infusing him with self and vain conceit,
As if this flesh which walls about our life,
Were brass impregnable, and humour'd thus
Comes at the last and, with Ant and Dec,
Bores through his castle wall, and farewell celebrity
And hello Puss in Boots with Jim Davidson.
But if there's one thing worse than the cult of celebrity it's the cult of wannabe celerity.
And - oh sweet Jesus help us - Big Bloody Brother is here again, complete with web site so we can track the activities of the inmates - and vote to evict them if they don't entertain us.
Inevitably there's a brouhaha over whether or not there's going to be some live on screen wannabe-on-wannabe action. Gie's a break, if you have an internet connection and want to watch people fornicating you should be able to find what you're looking for in 3 seconds max.
Call me a prude but in a world where children starve it's obscene that people care whether Random Yahoo A has sexual congress with Random Yahoo B in the Big Brother House.
It's also obscene that the Sun is offering 50,000 to the first pair of meat-heads to make the beast with two backs on Big Brother.
50,000 would feed 1,500 children in the Third World for a year. It would immunise 800,000 of them against polio. But then again the Currant Bun's greenbacks aren't really meant for people from the Third World, are they? (Asylum seekers? Oh yeah, wink wink, we know what you really mean…)
Of course, the super soaraway moral arbiter's bonktastic prize only applies to heterosexuals. As in so much else of the tabloid press, it's political incorrectness gone mad…
However the tabloids serve a very useful purpose in the celebrity life cycle: as well as building them up the papers tear them down. It's a process very similar to that identified by Friederich Nietzsche in his theory of the superman.
He believed that the crude masses pinned all their hopes and dreams onto individuals who had rejected conventional morality (ie attending Stringfellows, appearing on the National Lottery show, etc). However eventually these "supermen" must disappoint hoi polloi, who then destroy them (ie vote them off I'm A Celebrity…).
I'm sure Nietzsche is a big part of the Sun's editorial conferences. Mind you he did write The Gay Science so he's probably regarded as beyond the pale.
The net mirrors this mixture of adulation and destruction. Fawning, nausea-inducing fan websites litter the internet. However a sizeable number of people take the time to create "hate sites". Only some of these only psychotic, most simply poke fun at the celebs, giving the little people a chance to chip away at their feet of clay.
Some are very straightforward, like 'N Sync 'N Sux. Others take a more inventive approach, like this site, which gives users a chance to chuck spears at a cartoon Britney. Britney spears, geddit?
If only there was a sensible middle way. If only someone somewhere combined irreverence with respect we might have a model for a more appropriate relationship with celebrity. If it could have an improved version of the reader participation so crassly trialled in Big Brother and I'm A Celebrity then so much the better.
The internet has given us such a solution. You will find it at menwholooklikekennyrogers.com, which features page after page of, err, men who look like Kenny Rogers.
There is no ridicule here (well apart from the Papa Smurf image), no desire to destroy the country and western singer. Similarly there is no sycophancy (but the guide to looking like Kenny Rogers is a bit iffy). There is simply the psychological levelling of the celebrity playing field. The identity of Kenny Rogers remains intact but instead of being a Superman he becomes one person who looks like Kenny Rogers out of many.
It is surely the ultimate celebrity site, its existence ensures Kenny Rogers will never do panto.