In a recent interview with GQ magazine, Beyonce Knowles was reported to have said: “I am more powerful than my mind can even digest and understand.” Elsewhere in Celebville, the normally mild-mannered Reese Witherspoon got arrested for drunkenly slurring at police, “Don’t you know who I am?” Whilst we might expect such behaviour from traditionally ‘troubled’ celebrities such as Lindsay Lohan, these latest displays of arrogance are more surprising. Are we, one wonders, to assume they are momentary lapses of concentration – wherein the masks of niceness that Beyonce and Reese wear so well have slipped and exposed the ugly natures that lie beneath? Or could it be that they were goaded into making what many no doubt view as being obscenely self-indulgent remarks – that these incidents were, in fact, one offs, never to be repeated?
To be fair to Reese she was – allegedly (no libel lawsuits here thank you very much) – under the influence of considerable amounts of alcohol at the time she made her remarks, so we could perhaps give her the benefit of the doubt. But Beyonce? It’s hard to speculate, but subsequent news reports insinuating that the only photographers allowed at her concerts are those employed by her own company (lest she be photographed from an unflattering angle, revealing – once again – that in reality she’s actually less than perfect) add weight to the argument that she’s a control freak; a quality that is in itself but a hop, skip and a jump away from blind arrogance and egotism.
Whether we like it or not, the fact is that obsession with celebrity is a feature of our times. We have, by virtue of our continuing interest in the lives of pop stars and actors such as Beyonce and Reese, created the monster that we see before us. It may well provoke outrage that stories of celebrities mouthing off about their power and success are interspersed on popular news sites with ‘real’ news stories – like those of the Boston bombings, Waco explosion, Chinese earthquake and recent factory collapse in Bangladesh – but the truth is our society is just as interested in them, if not more so.
Of course everyone is entitled to a slip of the tongue every now and then. And there’s no reason why celebrities shouldn’t revel in the fame they’ve worked hard (in most cases) to achieve. But before they revel too much it might be worth sparing a thought for their legions of adoring fans, and considering the example that they’re setting for future generations. You may well be powerful, Beyonce, but why not use that power for good instead of as a bragging tool for ugly self-promotion?