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 1, 2006 · 2 min read

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



The crack pipe of peace

Dear Auntie _ War, famine, economic depression and global warming - the idea that 'another world is possible' seems remoter than ever. Will we ever have a just and peaceful world? _ Desperate for peace, Preston

Learning by number

Dear Auntie _ At one of the Gaza protests in London, Stop the War put the number of protesters at around 100,000 but the police insisted it was only 20,000. Can Auntie reassure me that the Met has a scientific methodology for estimating crowd numbers? _ Numberless in London

No hope

Dear Auntie, All my left-wing friends seem to be overjoyed about Obama winning the US election, holding real hope that he will bring change, that he'll stop the wars, and that he'll somehow make America all cuddly and nice. But haven't we been here before? I'm getting flashbacks to the expectations people had of politicians like Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, and how quickly they betrayed us. Is it terrible that I think Obama will be just more of the same? Hopeless, London


Both feet not in the grave

Dear Auntie, Having reached 50, I've become invisible. It's the only explanation of why people look right through me. I'm ignored in shops and at bus stops; and getting served at the bar is an endurance test, as men and younger women always take priority. I have a lifetime of experience as an activist, but these days there's always a 'Darren' or 'Ryan' whose opinion matters more. I'd go as far as saying they don't even hear me speak! It seems white hair and wrinkles are taken as an early indication of Alzheimer's. But I'm not ready to go gently into the night and as Auntie looks of a similar age, does she have any advice? The invisible woman, London

Do what I say, not what I inhale

Dear Auntie, _ My daughter is starting to ask awkward questions such as 'Mum, did you take drugs when you were young?' I don't want to lie but I don't want her to venture down the same route. What do I tell her? _ Amy in London

Nice smelling poo

Dear Auntie, _ I'm a vegetarian who is fed up having to justify why I don't eat anything with a face on it. And it's the environmentalists who are also meat eaters who seem the most personally affronted by my choices. Do you have any suggestions how I can deal with this? _ Chickpea not chicken lover, Totnes