On Sunday evening I placed a message on my Twitter account which read ‘have you heard the latest rumour about Gary Lineker?’
Within minutes I had received a dozen or more responses asking for the Goss! It is the biggest response I have had to anything I have ‘tweeted’ before, and it was a further illustration at how weirdly interested the great British public now appears to be in ‘celebrity’.
In a week when the once semi serious business reality programme ‘The Apprentice’ kicked off its latest series with a bunch of Muppets who clearly have more interest in appearing in the News of the World than the Sunday Times Rich List; and in a week when the news was full of debate about the rights and wrongs of the super injunction, it is depressing that what was once seen as tabloid tittle tattle now masquerades as a newsworthy story.
Why does this matter, and how does it impact on business?
Well, the quality, or rather the lack of it, in terms of media, is important. Media shapes agendas, debates and culture. And, in terms of the impact it is having on business, well, apparently, it is both stark and negative.
At the opening Manchester Business Week event on Monday, ‘Here Come The Girls’, an audience of mostly female delegates pondered on why women were failing to make progress in boardrooms; and why so few women see setting up their own business as an option.
One of the key points to emerge was that young girls aspirations are driven by what they see in the magazines they read, the TV they watch and the radio programmes they listen to. That leads them to the conclusion that WAG, reality TV ‘celeb’ or at the very least a big win on ‘Deal or no Deal’ is the quickest and easiest route to success.
This environment of ‘celebrity’ obsession is unhealthy not just for those who find themselves on the end of wide angled lenses doing something they shouldn’t, but for us as a society too, who, let’s face it, ought to have better things to do with our time.
Newspapers continue to argue that super injunctions are wrong because they betray the ‘public interest’. In respect of things like MP’s expenses, I can buy that. But our need to know who Wayne Rooney may have been undertaking extracurricular activities with is of no real value to anyone, other than, perhaps, Mrs Rooney.
Don’t give me this garbage about these overpaid boys who happen to be good at a game that is awash with cash being role models to kids. If you allow your kids to hold these guys up as role models, then it would be in the public interest for your children to be taken into care.
The only reason newspaper editors want to publish ‘the whore and the celeb’ feature is because they know it sells papers. And we, as a nation, should be ashamed of ourselves because they are right.
The Gary Lineker rumour? He’s dumping Walkers Crisps for KP Nuts!