Please note: this article is supposed to be entirely tongue-in-cheek. If you are offended by humour based against religion, you might not want to read on. You have been warned – please don’t get pissy at me because you can’t take a joke.
On my way home, I was thinking on the subject of celebrity culture. Many consider it a recent phenomenon, yet thinking carefully I realised that it went back further than we may first think – as long as film has existed, its stars have been revered in society. Before that, radio was king, and before that again literature ruled.
It was on this train of thought that I had a revelation – celebrity culture has been around for millennia, and one of the earliest recorded instances of such things is still produced today. Religious texts may not seem akin to the gossip magazines of today, yet upon closer inspection they are nearly indistinguishable in their purpose.
Now for clarity, by gossip magazine I mean things like OK and Hello magazines in the UK or Star and Us Weekly for my American readers. And although most, if not all, religious texts can apply to this, I will be referencing the Bible as this is what’s most familiar to me. Please do not think that this is just a slam against Christianity – indeed, I do not intend to slam any religion, I am merely pointing out something of interest to me.
There are several ways in which comparisons can be drawn between the Bible and gossip magazines, and I will break this article up thusly. Let us begin.
Gossip magazines often focus on a select cadre of people – the celebrities. These people have risen to such status by being involved in film, music, television or occasionally by being popular business moguls; they are all involved in media somehow, whether they appear in it or create it. The Bible focuses on a select group of people who have been chosen to be represented because of their involvement with God. One particular thing unites the people in both texts and as such rises them above the rest of humanity to become “celebrity”.
In gossip magazines, there are frequent columns and segments on virtually every page that tell the readers how to emulate the celebrities within – dress the same as they do, buy what they buy, and most importantly act like they do (you may disagree, but much has been made of gossip magazines glamorising the degenerative behaviours that they exhibit). Notably, the Bible is revered as a teaching tool, letting us know how to be more like the people within in a plethora of ways. Coincidence? It certainly doesn’t seem so, as the purposes of these two texts seems oddly similar.
Seriously, have you read the Bible? Mass orgies, people killing babies, smitings on a global scale – the stuff we see celebrities get up to in magazines today seems tame in comparison.
In today’s gossip magazines, we come across many people who claim to be celebrities, but in reality have done nothing at all – people who are related to actual celebrities, folk who were in the news once, and stars of reality television. These people would otherwise fade into obscurity and wouldn’t bother us with their presence, yet they are thrust into the forefront of pub-quiz knowledge by these magazines – indeed, the magazines themselves actually serve to make them into celebrities. The Bible features one such character prominently – God. It is widely held in scientific circles that God may not even exist, and that natural phenomenon can actually be attributed to “God’s work”. Even so, the Bible insists he’s the bee’s knees.
Well there you have it, what I consider to be a fairly watertight summary of the comparisons between religious texts and the gossip magazines of today. Does this mean that religious texts of old were in reality just the gossip magazines of yester-millenium? I do not know, and I leave you to make your own minds up about such things. One final thing to think about though, is that with both, the scientific community generally considers those who read them to be a bit gullible.
Seriously guys, I want to reiterate that this was a joke article. Nevertheless, this is the internet, and I know it to be a place of anger and the Dark Side, so let the controversy and hate begin. Just try to keep it civil.