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Mar. 20 2010 - 4:20 pm | 2,202 views | 0 recommendations | 11 comments

Jesse James? You’ve got to be joking.

Jesse James unknown date

Jesse James, the prototype.

With occasional check-ups on living works of art who I admire, people such as Keith Richards and Peter O’Toole, I tend to shy away from so-called Celebrity News.

Yet, the Jet-Set Hobo is about to stumble, limp footed, onto the tough and arid terrain of so-called Celebrity Culture. Previous sallies into this territory have included well, attacks, on Madonna, Perez Hilton and English footballers & their wives. The flotsam and jetsam of our nervous era’s murky depths.

Aside from logging onto this site to see what I have to say about things, I actually come here looking for news on important topics. Half of the content instead seems to be ‘writers’; usually people in ther 30s or 40s, seriously discussing things like the state of Jennifer Aniston’s love life. Pretty much all the Jet-Set Hobo could tell you about Jennifer Aniston is that she seems like a grand girl with nice hair but most of the movies and shows she is in seem to be, well, unadulterated tripe.

This is about as much as I could’ve told you until recently about Sandra Bullock. Oh, now I remember something. I think probably the last film she was in that a GROWN-UP would go and see, was Capote. As in Truman Capote. She was good, ’surprisingly good’ I suppose. Aside from that, what I know about Bullock, is that she is a gamine and personable actress who was in some big action films back in the 90s and a bunch of allegedly romantic, allegedly funny ‘romantic comedies’.

While her personable qualities have never been in doubt, I’ve never taken much interest in her private life,  and in all honesty I can’t imagine anyone with an IQ over 110 wanting to do so.

Now because I’m not a serious journalist, just a lush with a soap box, I might be tainted by idealism here. But it is slightly disappointing to find supposedly ’serious’ journalists on True/Slant earnestly discussing the breakup of her marriage, on what I thought was meant to be a fairly ‘wonky’ op ed news site. (I realise my own blog is a total anomaly in this context, but bear with me, there is room for one exception to the rules, n’est pas?)

But then we come to an aspect of Sandra Bullock’s marriage break-up that was previously unknown to me. That Sandra Bullock is being cheated on by a dude, who, at best, looks like a bouncer outside a ‘high class’ lap dancing club. And at worst, like the assistant manager at a Harley Davidson dealership. Previous history? High profile relationships with porn stars. Really? Well, he sounds just immediately like suitable marriage material doesn’t he? Walking piece of panel van art admiring, mullet haircut & facial sporting paragon of bad taste that he would appear to be. The Jet-Set Hobo was really rather shocked, in as much as anyone as worldly as he could be.

I mean to say, is that the best the poor lass could do? Someone around here would have gladly stepped into the breech if the pick of chaps in Beverly Hills is really that dire these days. Anyway, that was just about as much energy as I can be arsed (bothered) expending on any given week on the detritus of celebrity news.

Clearly however, several of my fellow True/Slanters feel rather differently. Sitting at the top of the site not long ago was for example the headline, ‘Is Liam Neeson the new Mel Gibson’? I mean honestly. Really. ‘Is Liam Neeson the new Mel Gibson’?’ What kind of question is that? I suppose they both look good in a kilt. Liam Neeson’s Scots accent is a bit more convincing than Gibson’s, but that wouldn’t be difficult. What I’d like to know, is what sane, enlightened person sits around asking themselves questions like that in a serious tone of voice.

There seems to be plenty more where that came from. The other day I came across a story here which was a song-by-song critique of all the contestants on American Idol’s sad attempts to emulate Rock’s greatest carny act, the Rolling Stones. This, excuse me, not by a 9 year old, but a middle-aged man. It’s not so much how much spare time do you have, but what the hell are you doing with your spare time, if this is all you have to talk about. Either get outdoors, read a book or even go to a goddamn bar, but get your head out of the celebrity culture intellectual wasteland and, in the parlance of our times, GET A LIFE.

Anyway, I don’t know about you, but I’m going for a walk. I may be some time.


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  1. collapse expand

    It’s : N’est-ce pas ? your IQ is over 110 ? are you sure ?

  2. collapse expand

    Excellent piece! Intelligently calling out the destructive, vapid banality of celebrity “culture” is the first step on the road to recovery of the American culture.
    I would strongly encourage you to take the analysis much deeper. Most people fail to see the connection between our glorification of celebrity “culture” and the broad destruction of the once strong American culture. Specifically, the culture that embraces the “cinema” of Jennifer Aniston, Sandra Bullock, Matthew Mcconaughey, ‘The Rock’ et al is incapable of the intellectual, spiritual and creative qualities required to reject and defeat crackpot ideas such as trillion dollar baillouts for Wall Street criminals, trillion dollar wars “on terror” or corporate “health care” which rewards companies for denying medical care to citizens. One precludes the other. Celebrity “culture” is, as stated by author Chris Hedges, the revels of a dying American culture. It is the mentally and spiritually ill “culture” of mouth-breathing consumerism, easily tricked again and again by the low-brow antics of the marketing department. It expresses itself in the childish language of cynicism and sarcasm often confused with wit and the breathless squinting and mumbling which passes for acting. Calling out “writers” for focussing on garbage is the right thing to do. I look forward to your next piece!

    Mathew Thomas

    • collapse expand

      Thanks Mathew, and Lorraine, I have had a better look at your blog. And yes, there is obviously a lot more to it than just celebrity fluff. Still… “Team Sandy”? But perhaps my rant was just that, a rant. Road rage on the information superhighway. As Mathew’s comment shows, there are an awful lot of us just sick to death of this crap. It’s not journalism, it’s really not entertainment, it certainly has no resemblance to art. I’m calling it what it is: unadulterated arse gravy.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  3. collapse expand

    JSH, I’m’ frantic. Which article had your posts from Facebook? You said I could have one and now I can’t find them! Thanx

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    About Me

    I have never worked as a secret agent, but I did play one on TV: KGB spy Sergei Kukushkin in mini series The Company. More recently I played a debauched aristocrat in a tasty short film called Last Night in Buenos Aires. I was also the voice of the monster Buffalord in the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, believe it or not. In 'real life' I am a Travel Writer, Scriptwriter, After-Dinner Speaker, Entrepreneur and man-about-many-towns who has written and produced television for Fox Networks UK, the UK Sci-Fi Channel and New Zealand animation facility The Funny Farm. I have also edited or contributed to numerous guidebooks, to cities like Buenos Aires, Florence and London - as well as dear old Budapest of course. Between December and February I was Guest Editor at Time Out Beirut. I have also been fortunate enough to write about travel (and whatever else moves me) for True/Slant as 'The Jet-Set Hobo.' Well, it seemed a fun way to sum up what might laughingly be referred to as my lifestyle, and the label has stuck. There are worse appellations, don't you think?

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    The Wildcats of Piran

    pirancatIt may seem an odd occupation for a globe-trotting, nightlife loving bachelor, but over the last few months, I’ve been writing a children’s book called The wild cats of Piran. It’s about a colony of feral cats who live in a small medieval town on the Adriatic sea. The book is intended to appeal to very bright 9 year olds and up. The sort of thing a bookish, cat loving adult could enjoy whipping through in a long afternoon sitting in a snug armchair by an open fire. A great believer in letting the work speak for itself, if you’re at all interested, I suggest you contact the author directly, here and I’ll send you the first few chapters as an attachment. Thank you for listening.