Heat on gossip

Dear Auntie, I'm a lifelong leftie with a secret addiction to celebrity gossip magazines. So when I've had my fill of reading about Hezbollah and the FBU, I like nothing better than to slip a copy of Heat between the pages of my Socialist Worker and ponder the sex lives and misdemeanours of former Big Brother contestants. Does this make me a counter-revolutionary?
October 2006

Yours, Mel Bouzad, Primrose Hill, London NW3

Dear Mel,

When I was a young anarchist I used to throw pies at celebrities. But now I share your passion for c-list tittle-tattle. No need to be ashamed of that - just start explaining dialectics through the negation of the negation of Britney's love for Kev and you could have yourself a whole new revolutionary recruitment technique.

Admittedly, there was never much room for celebrities in the class struggle unless they were lauded as leaders. But there has always been plenty of space for drink, drugs and casual sex.

Marx himself loved binge drinking and spicy food, which would have lent itself well to 3am Brick Lane gutter pics. A simple Heat-style exposé would no doubt have revealed what Lenin really got up to in Paris with Inessa Armand. And as for Tito? Well, his selfmanagement didn't extend to fidelity on nights at the opera.

That'd all be okay nowadays, presumably, because celebrity-driven politics is hip. Personality is political, as my Trotskyite mates tell me. And with no trust left in political institutions - surely a good basis for revolutionary fervour - why not invest our passions in celebrity leaders who embody our values? Having gone that far, it makes perfect sense to go the whole hog and gossip like cheeky schoolkids...

Luckily, things are already starting to change in socialist publishing, with two of Britain's main socialist newspapers soliciting regular comment from a former Big Brothercontestant. Why stop there? I'd love to see this season's Big Brother winner, Pete, covering the party conference season; Jade Goody getting her teeth into commodity fetishism; and Jennifer Anniston explaining alienation (post-Brad, of course).

Bring on that revolution, and we'll have no more need for Heat.

auntie@redpepper.org.uk






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