Looked at the news today to find this utterly silly celebrity news story about the Pope adding another 22 Cardinals to his team (they had been part of the lower-tier Archbishop team that performs with Pope on tour). What is the big deal that this gets classified as World News? I specifically unsubscribe/remove celebrity news and sports from any news content I consume. Because it’s not meaningful to me.
The question is why the Pope is considered meaningful enough to garner mention in a non-religious news context. The answer is that historically the Pope had a lot of power to cause people to kill each other. Same reason they still cover the various Royal Families of the world without properly sequestering those to Celebrity News.
Having had the ability to get a lot of people killed, they were relevant. You might be one of the people that would be killed, or that would kill, or know some of those people. It was good to know if people were going to be killed.
But these days, I don’t think the Pope can have anyone killed, and if he or she can, a stop ought be put to that Papal power. Same for the Royal Families.
It’s different for Roman Catholics, as it is for the subjects of the Royal Families. But is that any different than being a fan of a pop singer or a fan of a sports organization, when viewed from the outside?
At best, isn’t the modern non-Royal, non-Religious celebrity just a counterpart to the former celebrities that were ordained by the gods? And the other counterpart, the leaders and politicians, they are news only because they have the power to get people killed and otherwise harm society in similar ways.
But high profile figures are harmful in and of themselves, as they are seen as archetypes for the rest of us. If the politician or the Pope resort to certain types of rhetoric, the average person for whom they represent archetypes will follow their leads.
This is clear when we look at nations brought to war on the backs of bad arguments and shoddy evidence. The debate isn’t just shaped, but fabricated by the hands of these archetypes. Whether the war is on illegal immigrants or a foreign nation, the capacity for the average person to make their voice heard depends upon the archetypes’ ability to show respect for the rest of us, and they seldom do so.
So, celebrity news is not news, but seldom is the new authority’s view news. It’s agenda, it’s propaganda. It is the cloth that the followers hang inside their minds, and when they look out to the world, their view is framed with that cloth.