Okay, we’ve had time to mull over the latest New Year’s Honours. Many comments have been made as to their debasement. This revolves around the number of celebrities and incompetent civil servants honoured.
Dealing with the latter first, it has been normal, for centuries, to award civil servants with honours as almost part of their promotional structure. It was an attempt to pacify them for rubbish wages. To argue this demeans honours is an old argument, not new.
As for celebrities receiving ‘gongs’, it rather depends on the celebrity. A knighthood for Parkinson is richly deserved, and whilst Kylie Minogue used to be simply a ‘pop star’, she has blossomed into a talented entertainer. An OBE is a fair ranking honour.
But there is celebrity and there is celebrity. Being a celebrity for celebrity’s sake is a pathetic slur on a once decent culture. But being a celebrity for a real talent is worthy. Luckily, it is only this type of celebrity who is honoured. It shows the difference.
It’s worth it just for that.
© Anthony North, December 2007
Are you interested in World history? Try my on-going History of Man - here - for a short, accessible history.