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Tuesday, September 25, 2007 

The downfall of humanity inexorably approaches.

For those who like to believe that there's some sort of equilibrium that ensures that for every attack there is an act of defense, they'll have doubtless enjoyed the juxtaposition of a judge denouncing the Jeremy Kyle show for its "human bear-baiting":

He said: "I have had the misfortune, very recently, of viewing the Jeremy Kyle show. It seems to me that the purpose of this show is to effect a morbid and depressing display of dysfunctional people whose lives are in turmoil ... for the purposes of titillating bored members of the public who have nothing better to do in the morning than watch this trash on TV.

with the revelation that Jordan's latest "novel", Crystal, has sold more copies than the entire Booker shortlist combined. Kerry Katona, probably Jordan's main rival, has announced that "her" first novel is also shortly to be released.

On one level, you have to admire the diligence, inventiveness and sheer success of the PR firms that have managed to so skillfully sculpture and buff these very ordinary individuals into apparently multi-talented superstars who can turn their hands to seemingly anything. Monitoring the Sun as I do for my sad, creepy purposes, there's hardly a day goes by when there isn't some sort of story about either of these pneumatic women, whether it's yet another outspoken, vacuous assault on some other celebrity and their misdeeds, or alternatively a flash of their bodily assets which long since lost any of their already feeble allure. For all its inherent vileness, a recent headline on one of the celebrity magazines featuring Katona was perhaps the greatest example of the horrible hole at the centre of their work: announcing the birth of her latest baby, which had been born premature, she described it as looking like a frozen chicken from Iceland, plugging the supermarket that has featured her in its adverts. That to describe a living, breathing child as looking like a frozen dead bird shows a remarkable lack of apparent humanity was neither here nor there; far more important was repaying her dues to the company which has doubtless poured wads of cash into her bank account.

All of their work though is directed at exploiting the very people which the newspapers which print their releases are meant to be speaking for, and/or protecting. Despite all the fury recently directed at the BBC and other channels for various fakery and deceptions on their programmes, such manufactured phony characters are still to be feted, celebrated and endlessly pursued. Not a single one of Jordan's books has actually been written by her, and as Hadley Freeman points out in the article, while autobiographies are widely known to be ghosted, this latest development, the fictional book from a celebrity is trying its hardest to keep the reality from the actual readers. Rebecca Farnworth is the ghost behind the bust of Jordan, but the only mention you'll find of her anywhere in Jordan's supposed novel is on the copyright page.

Does it really make any difference that such books are vastly outselling the works of literature which are plucked from usual relative obscurity to be feted as a novel of the year? After all, as widely despised as Dan Brown and his equivalent of taking a shit on the manuscript of Ulysses or Crime and Punishment the Da Vinci Code is, at least it's got people who usually wouldn't read to pick up a book, or at least the argument goes. You could also argue that the reason that Jordan's opus has sold so many copies is probably because it's been both heavily pushed and heavily discounted, while the Booker shortlisted works are mostly still in hardback and as much as £4 more expensive, at least going by Amazon's prices.

None of this however explains why a woman known only for her numerous breast augmentations and widely considered to have around as much grey matter between her ears as a rocking horse does can somehow even begin to be able to sell copies of a book that widely mirrors her own attempts to become a singer, except one suspects that in the novel "Crystal" succeeds where Jordan has notably failed, especially when she has not one but two autobiographies, presumably for the same reason as the Queen has two birthdays. Rather, it suggests what perhaps some of us have long feared: that these women, fucked up blow-up dolls rather than anything approaching human are not just becoming role models but that their contempt for anything outside their own tiny little world is spreading. Why bother to expand your mind when you can expand your breasts? Why take something a little challenging to the beach when you can read another fatuous tale along the lines of the television programmes and magazines that you read at home?

I realise I'm being melodramatic and overstating my case. The rise of the idiots though is certainly real, and they're being helped along in their rise through those who most certainly aren't stupid: they're just another cog in the system of contempt for the average person which isn't the preserve of the metropolitan elite as the right likes to have it, but by the magazines and celebrity filled rags that are inextricably linked to the most powerful in our society. Their preference is certainly for compliant rather than questioning, and this latest branching out is certainly helping with the former.

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