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Look at Me: Celebrating the Self in Modern Britain Hardcover – 7 May 2008
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About the Author
Peter Whittle is founder and director of the New Culture Forum. A journalist and broadcaster, he writes regularly for the Sunday Times, for which he is also a film and theatre critic. He has also contributed to The Times, the Sunday Telegraph, the Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Spectator. He is a columnist for the new Standpoint magazine. Peter is a panellist on BBC 2's Newsnight Review, and has been a guest on Radio 4's Moral Maze and Front Row programmes. He appears frequently on Sky News, is a critic for Radio 2's Weekender arts programme, and was the host of the Culture Clash programme on 18 Doughty Street. He has also directed and produced numerous factual programmes for the major TV channels in the UK, as well as for the Fox and USA networks in Los Angeles, where he lived for five years. Subjects have ranged from Elizabeth I to the Hollywood paparazzi. Peter lives in London, and is currently working on a second book.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
A nice metaphor for the way in which Britain's cultural life has been debased by the cult of celebrity: 'the me society' over the past few decades. Now what is valued by people, especially they young, is fame (not talent), personal glorification, attention and triviality over things that are lasting and weighty.
This is a pessimistic polemic that does not throw up any great revalatory insights but does chronicle much that is wrong with modern life (the way in which people will ashamedly binge drink and desecrate town centres on a Saturday night, the manner in which people barge rather than queue for the bus).
Whittle does conclude with a positive note, that such a culture may becoming exhausted. I am a teacher at an inner city secondary school in London and I am pleased by the way in which the upcoming generation of children seem less celebrity obsessed and more focused on academic achievement than the generation above them. Teenagers nowadays also volunteer for community service type roles more than any previous generation of teenagers in the past few decades. This may be only temporary, and the potential for corruption is still there. But there is a glimmer of hope.
The epigram to this book, from Francis Bacon (the 17th Century philosopher, not the 20th Century artist), is apt: Fame is like a river, that beareth up things light and swollen, and drowns things weighty and solid'.