Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth
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Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth

Saturday Night Social: Sally Rooney Agrees! Fame Is 'Hell'

'It doesn't seem to work in any real way for anyone, except presumably some shareholders somewhere.'

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Happy Saturday night, Jezebel readers. For tonight’s Saturday Night Social, I’d like to quote from some of my favorite passages from the Bible I mean this new Sally Rooney profile published by The Guardian this morning.

Speaking to Guardian columnist Emma Brockes, the 30-year-old Irish writerwhose third novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You?, comes out next month—has some thoughts on fame and celebrity that I found quite insightful. For example, she describes the act of becoming famous as one that generally “happens without meaningful consent—the famous person never even wanted to become famous”:

As far as I can make out, the way that celebrity works in our present cultural moment is that particular people enter very rapidly, with little or no preparation, into public life, becoming objects of widespread public discourse, debate and critique...

They just randomly happen to be skilled or gifted in some particular way, and it’s in the interests of profit-driven industries to exploit those gifts and to turn the gifted person into a kind of commodity...

[On account of achieving fame, the famous person in question ends up] enduring variably serious invasions of their privacy from the media, from obsessive fans, and from people motivated by obsessive hatred...

Of course, that person could stop doing whatever it is they’re good at, in order to be allowed to retire from public life, but that seems to me like a big sacrifice on their part and an exercise in cultural self-destruction for the rest of us, forcing talented people either to endure hell or keep their talents to themselves.

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In the end, Rooney sums up this “poisonous” system of fame as a kind of “hell” and concludes that it doesn’t seem to work in any real way for anyone, except presumably some shareholders somewhere.” Honestly, checks out!

Read the full profile here.