Thursday, 17 July 2008

History Repeating Itself

A while back my mother and I watched a historical documentary about the period after Mount Vesuvius erupted; the actual eruption took place on 24 August AD 79. The reason why I know this is not because I'm that keen on history, God forbid, but because 24 August is my birthday.

In that documentary, the historian/presenter discussed the class structure at the time. He said at the bottom of the pile were the slaves. The next level up were the gladiators, prostitutes, pimps and actors. When we heard that "actors" were on the same level as the pimps, my mother and I were literally falling off our chairs laughing. I can't recall now what the other levels were because I was too busy laughing my head off to pay any attention.

Given how actors are considered to be celebrities that people aspire to, it was quite hilarious hearing they were so low down the echelon of society during that period. When I pointed this out to my friend who is an actor, he said there is a definite hierarchy in the acting profession. There are the A-listers, the B-listers, C-listers and the "nobodies" at the bottom frantically trying to make a living.

Last night I watched Celebrity MasterChef where celebrities are put through their paces in order to become the Celebrity Master Chef. In last night's programme, the four semi-finalists had to cook for 500 builders with huge appetites. We're talking donkey-work here, no offence to donkeys. Watching those celebrities slave over a hot stove felt to me like history repeating itself where the actors were a rung above the slaves. I was exhausted watching those celebrities trying to prove themselves.

That's the world of celebrity for you. I guess when you are famous and want to remain famous, you'll do all you can to claw your way back from the C-List to the next rung above or even higher. I believe these celebrities are never going to be A-listers because those on the A-Lists will never go on these kinds of shows anyway. I can't imagine actors such as Michael Caine, Anthony Hopkins, or Judy Dench ever going on MasterChef or Celebrity Big Brother.

Still it makes for very entertaining television.

I can't wait to see who the semi-finalists are cooking for next.


Related articles: What is the Ego?; Love Dissolves Grudges; The Personal versus the Universal Approach