Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Forgetting Hollywood, one celebrity at a time

There's a character in Italo Calvino's story-novel-book thing If on a Winter's Night a Traveller who is teaching himself to unread. That is, instead of looking at printed words and instantly knowing what they mean, he is trying to be able to look at words and not know what they mean; every day he practices unreading in the hope that one day all printed words will have completely lost significance for him.

I feel a little like that chap these days when I looked on a list of Hollywood celebrities and realised I had no idea who these people were. It is a particularly refreshing feeling, to each day know fewer and fewer of these people. Perhaps one day I will wake up and not know of any celebrity at all, and what a pleasant absence of knowledge that will be. Browsing through a long list of people being famous for being people who are famous taking photos with other people being famous for being people who are famous becomes a rich and rewarding experience, like meeting strangers for the first time and discovering how boring and dull they are. They have all starred in films I haven't seen or been the sons or daughters of people I don't know or been involved in some scandalous contretemps with other equally fatuous people or been in songs I haven't listened to and are probably pretty shit anyway. What is a Leto? Do they all have to come with a Jared? Why is Channing a Tatum?

A while ago I would at least have known vaguely that I ought to have seen such and such a film that so and so was in, and been able to sort my whosiwatsits from my watchicallits. But this year, these lists often inspire in me complete apathy and ignorance: there are names of people I will never know  and never care to know.

It would seem my long years not watching television, avoiding film, disregarding popular song, and ignoring all but the most unpopular news stories while spending most of my time on unsocial media sites like blogger are having an effect. I can't wait to see who I'll forget tomorrow. My only regret is that I won't be able to remember which unimportant person I'll have forgotten in order to be able to take pleasure in it (though I'm certain everyone will keep talking about them anyway, so maybe I'll be able to find out that way).

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