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Celebrity: How Entertainers Took Over The World and Why We Need an Exit Strategy [Paperback]

Marina Hyde
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
RRP: 11.99
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Book Description

2 April 2009

These days, entertainers no longer just entertain: they advocate dubious 'religions', work for the United Nations, get face-time with heads of state and monopolise problems they are infinitely qualified to solve - problems like Africa, the Middle East, and AIDS.

We stand at the beginning of a bright new chapter in human history. Feast your eyes, then, on Sharon Stone's peace mission to Israel, on a world where Angelina Jolie advises on the Iraqi reconstruction effort or Charlie Sheen analyses 9/11, and in which Jude Law's attempts to establish contact with the Taliban are reported without irony.

Celebrity is a roadmap, a survivalist's guide, a Rosetta Stone for our times: without a copy you are not equipped to engage with the world...

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harvill Secker (2 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846552591
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846552595
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 610,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


`frequently hilarious, with incredibly bleak undertones'


`frequently hilarious, with incredibly bleak undertones'

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius 4 April 2009
Hilarious. Hyde nails our bizarre elevation of entertainers into UN spokespeople, unqualified medical advisers and pushers of alien religions. Some of the stories seem too extraordinary to be true, but check them out and apparently they are. Madonna hijacking UN headquarters to help Gucci sell handbags, Angelina Jolie allowing Namibia's borders to be shut to journalists so she could give birth, congressional committees calling Elmo from Sesame Street to testify, etc etc. Loved it.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
If you like Marina Hyde's column in The Guardian, you are going to LOVE this. It is hilarious, but rather worryingly the book's entire content is actually 100% true. How on earth have celebrities got away with this kind of stuff for so long?! I can tell you one thing for free, I will NEVER buy a copy of Heat magazine or the like ever again. Celebrities are truly vile and we need to stop them from taking over the world any more than they already have!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Marina Hyde is young, bright and funny. Having read her weekly columns in The Guardian I more or less knew what to expect from this book.

She is not "anti-celebrity" as such but has over time become enraged by celebrities stepping out from their own sphere into arenas that they really don't know much about. It is the celebs who take on the role of spokesperson for the developing world, weird religions or peace initiatives that are recipients of her wrath. And many of the examples quoted are cringingly terrible. Madonna (sponsored by Gucci) taking over the UN gardens to draw attention to her Malawan charity is in receipt of Marina's opprobrium. And Sharon Stone gets numerous special mentions as she manages to promote both her forthcoming films and peace in the Middle East at the same event! When Angelina Jolie gave Namibia the privilege of being the country in which she gave birth she was actually granted a no-fly zone over the resort she was staying in and was also able to vet the entry visas for visiting journalists!

Over and over again she gives examples of how people willingly indulge celebrities - UN officials, politicians, charity organisers, government officials, TV presenters etc etc. Have we, the public, actually reached the stage of only being able to understand poverty/disease/war/ if it is pointed out to us by someone who is actually an actor, singer or model?
But apart from the neediness of the so-called celebs Marina Hyde also points out that the culture is driven by the tabloid newspapers and gossip magazines. Much of what they print is vicious and cruel - and if no-one bought them a whole industry would die.

Anyone who reads her Guardian columns will not be surprised by the high standard of her writing. She expounds her arguments well and is well armed with facts and figures. This book will make you laugh out loud as well as seethe with anger!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Celeb-bitty 12 Jan 2014
Marina Hyde's celebrity tells us Ina hundred or so pieces that look like journalistic opinion pieces through the world of celebrity self endorsement. If you are surprised at the extent to which celebrities promote themselves and get attention for opinions on topics they have no expertise in, amd have forgotten the details of Madonna and adoption and Cruise and Scienbtology you might learn something from this book. The absence of analysis or historical perspective (celebrity adoptions go back to at least Joan Crawford) make this book supremely forgettable, and an extravagance even at two books for five pounds at Fopp.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 29 April 2010
Marina Hyde is probably the best writer in any British newspaper at the moment. No one can combine pop culture references with works of classical literature in the way she manages it. This book sees her aim squarely at celebrity culture and it isn't just an aimless point scoring exercise at the expense of celebrities, there's a serious point here about how politics, charity and religion are being warped by celebrities and the media obsession with them. It will make you laugh and it will make you despair of our world. Excellent book well worth buying.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Work of genius 26 Sep 2009
Brilliant! If your friday morning is the highlight of your week reading the Lost in Showbiz column in The Guardian you'll love this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny, informative, frightening. 4 Jun 2009
I'm sure that for most who read this book, Hyde will be preaching to the converted. I would still whole-heartedly recommend it to all, whatever your views of celebrities and pop magazine culture. I was astounded by quite how deluded and bonkers many celebrities are. Marina Hyde is intelligent, clever and funny and reveals the staggering depth of some celebrities' craziness that has somehow failed to make it into the public's consciousness. Most interesting for me were the chapters about Scientology and Kabbalah. I couldn't decide whether to laugh or cry. I'd thoroughly recommend this book to those who despise the likes of Tom Cruise or Madonna, and indeed send out a plea to anybody who for whatever reason admire celebrities to give Celebrity a go. You'll be amazed.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
By Mooch
"In a world..." in which the grossly inflated egos of our superstars have broken free of their entertainment-land moorings and are looming large over the news-sphere, Marina Hyde - the snarkiest heckler on the back row - holds the corrective pin. With withering sarcasm and baffled incredulity, she shows who's crossed the line, who can no longer see the line, and who has never even heard of the concept of the line. But fan as I am of her newspaper columns on this subject, I felt this book was a missed opportunity from a talented writer. It's neither consistently funny enough as a work of humour, nor sufficient as a piece of thought-provoking analysis, when it is within Hyde's grasp to have achieved both.

Reading this book I was reminded of something Eric Idle said about the last Python film, The Meaning of Life. He said that in retrospect he felt it had been one draft away from a masterpiece, specifically he regretted that they had left it as a series of short films bundled together and hadn't linked the strands in a stronger way. That's also the problem I had with this book, in which Hyde takes on celebrities one topic-chapter at a time without managing to hang it all together as a satisfying whole.

It starts out with a chapter on 'Celebrities and the War on Terror' that feels like it was hurriedly tacked-on (perhaps at the publisher's request?), as it reads like a brief collection of her Guardian columns. It is however very funny and luckily after that the chapters are more pleasingly essay-like - but sadly the hilarity is sacrificed.

Don't get me wrong, it's fairly amusing and interesting and Hyde is a good writer but I was expecting much more from this book. It felt too diffuse, didn't come to any conclusions.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever, funny and frightening
The best of The Guardian's best writers. Some of this is serious stuff - or should be - but it's a collection of short comic stories and it's funny, enlightening and frightening. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Mr Geoffrey V Riley
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Amusing! Moral Panic for the Twittering Classes!
The whole premise that celebrities (read humans) cannot try to make a difference to society because they're entertainers is asinine and the stories used to illustrate the point are... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Mr. S. Walrond
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, caustic, and thoughtful
This is a very funny and occasionally disturbing look into how the celebrity culture has invaded parts of our lives better left alone. Read more
Published on 9 Nov 2010 by J. G. Speck
4.0 out of 5 stars Froth
Celebrity is an extremely well written book about a certain form of status. The author outlines a series of gruesome incidents where celbrities are given key signifiers of a wider... Read more
Published on 25 May 2010 by Chris Purnell
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious
Ok not every chapter makes you roll on the floor with laughter, but there are enough that do to make it worth reading.
Published on 22 Jan 2010 by DM
4.0 out of 5 stars "If you haven't got anything nice to say about anybody, come and sit...
If your mouth has ever dropped open in amazement at the latest 'celebrity' scandal / rumour, then this is the book for you. It's bitchy, funny and very intelligent. Read more
Published on 28 Aug 2009 by Nick Sydenham
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Really funny book which lifts the lid on celeb worship and what really goes on.
Published on 28 May 2009 by David Mcavoy
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