By Hans Ebert

It’s been a rough couple of weeks. I’ve had a house guest from the States who is obsessed with all the comings and goings of celebritydom that’s rampant on social media and, especially, E! Channel. So, for the past ten days, the television has been spewing forth non-stop verbiage from E!

E! is really a celebrity shopping channel for those who wish to live vicariously. And many do because they’re either bored with their lives, or have no lives. It’s why so many live on Facebook and Twitter etc and buy everything that’s sold on THOSE shopping channels- gossip, stories, Lemonade, Tay Tay, Trump, Hillary, #BlackLivesMatter, Kylie, Kimmy, Khloe, Pokemon Go etc etc.

As with anything that’s being sold, some are better at it- smarter, more persuasive, more manipulative. How else could something as transparently choreographed as #Hiddleswift or the love lives of the Kardashians travel so fast and become such late breaking global news? News?

What IS “news”, anyway? Obama slo-jamming with Jimmy Fallon? Adele demanding for a pizza? Who’s there to believe? Then again, what’s worth believing in? Not much, because there are no priorities. We are awash in overkill and need a break from it all. The Information Highway is on overload and we keep feeding it more fuel.

Back on the homefront, whether having a meal or being intimate, E! is on and flickering away with inane sound bites from celebrities I am told are really really popular. Lamar Odom is popular? For marrying a Kardashian? We’re meant to feel sorry for him being a drunk, drug user and overall loser who almost died in a brothel? Why? The man, apparently a basketball player- does every Kardashian drop to their knees when in front of a black basketball player?- is a serial loser. Yet he’s a celebrity. He’s news. He makes #BlackLivesMatter sound absurd. He makes everything look off-kilter.

Why has the love life of Robert Kardashian and some other unknown named Black Chyna become news? What does Robert Kardashian actually do for a living? Missionary work in Tobago? He’s a fat rich kid with “issues” who lives in a huge mansion with his rich whiny sisters. We should all be so lucky.

No one saw Bruce Jenner turning into Caitlyn? Not even his sons who have escaped from the Kurse Of The Kardashians. How was THAT kept a secret? From The Breakfast Of Champions to a transgender icon and no one saw her coming? There’s a touch of the Bates Motel here and Mother.

Why are Kylie Jenner’s lips expanding? Who’s this boyfriend of her’s who’s receiving so much publicity- Tyga- and who was married to Chyna? Talk about all these names giving me a mind f*ck. And then there’s momager Kris Jenner, now with her very own unknown black man, and still pimping her family- and two daughters barely out of their teens. She’s a good mother? Really? An ambitious woman who once ran around with OJ Simpson, has cheapened sex and taken it mainstream and peddles crass materialism and a hedonistic lifestyle? How can this be acceptable? The woman is no lady and the lady is no tramp, she’s the Madam at the house of the Kardashians.

Thank gawd for Kendall Jenner, who, somehow, manages to keep away from this theatre of the absurd, and a truly dysfunctional family. But imagine everything she must be keeping inside of her. All the secrets she’s had to live with, because nothing about this family is real and there’s so much there to get hung up about. Yet, this family is glamourised and paid millions to visit Dubai, Bahrain and party in Brunei. But that’s a story for another day.

What’s happened to great investigative journalism? Hunter S Thompson would have had a field day with the Kardashians, the twisted manipulation that has resulted in Hiddleswift, E! and the whole lot of them. Sadly, the good doctor and great entertainment and music journalism is no more. In their place, mediocrity is peddled as something special by fur balls like Perez Hilton, and very few call it right. Worst of all, there’s a market for it, especially on social media, and one really has to wonder what role in society are played by all these delivery platforms, or whether too much of anything that’s available 24/7 only results in a world so full of everything, you end up losing priorities and are not able to distinguish black from white and substance from quick fixes and superficiality.

Yes, everything is at your fingertips, but easy access doesn’t exercise the brain, and soon, those barriers that keep the superfluous at bay come tumbling down and everyone is invited into a non-stop block party where there’s no velvet rope.

This also affects being selective about who you want in your real life. Suddenly, this walk of life is laden with booby traps and Oliver Twisted individuals with their hands out and happy to even receive some crumbs.

All pride has left the building with Elvis along with words like ambition, creativity, purpose, dedication, inspiration. There’s no trust from those still trying their damnedest to make something special, because there are very few to trust. There are too many trying to hitch a free ride on the easiest gravy train they can jump on. Don’t these people know that those who have been shafted by the best can see right through them? But this results in more games, more tricks of whatever trade you’re in, and more time wasting. Walk away, walk away…

It’s like music. One cannot collaborate in creating music with those one doesn’t trust and who bring nothing to the party, but pretend they do, and where that solo effort becomes another block party with uninvited hangers-on believing they are owed a slice of the cake. Mediocrity, after all, survives on handouts and selective memory recall.

As for my house guest and her E! world which spills onto social media, it’s off-putting, especially when in bed, and she rolls the television into the room. Even this can be handled by exercising mind over matter, but now, after ten days of a diet of E!, the feeling is that it’s dumbing me down.

For those who have never watched the channel, it’s the home of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” (KUWTK) and E! News. And being on a six-hour loop, the same banal content is repeated and repeated and repeated- a complete breakdown on the timelines that has resulted in the obsession with “Hiddleswift”, coverage of all those red carpet events from the past, present and the future, a buffet of reality shows that makes KUWTK look like Citizen Kane- WAGS (the Wives And Girlfriends of Sportsmen), The Rich Kids Of Beverly Hills, the creepy kid in “Hollywood Medium”, the truly awful “It Takes Gutz To Be A Guiterrez”, the Philippines’ answer to the Kardashians, etc- and constant updates on Tay Tay, every Kardashian, Prince George (huh?), what Kate Middleton was wearing at Wimbledon ad nauseum.

All this fluff- this baptism of escapism- is reported as if these are life and death matters by hosts with the sincere insincerity of a Ryan Seacrest. It’s awful.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking: What the hell are you doing with this woman? I can only say, there have been worse, and it’s a bit like a warped version of Educating Rita. I’m getting a crash course in her dumbed down world and hearing music I never ever would have listened to before. YouTube sensation Sean Mendes, anyone? A few months ago, a woman in Toronto mentioned just how popular Mendes is with her youngest daughter. In one ear and out the other. While my current house guest was watching the same Jimmy Fallon show for the third time, the musical guest was Sean Mendes. “You will LOVE him!” she squealed- this from someone who has kinda heard of the Beatles and Led Zeppelin, and maybe Bob Dylan, but isn’t sure if she’s heard any of their music. Kinda.

It’s obvious that Sean Mendes, like Selena Gomez, has modelled and cloned his music on that of the new, improved Justin Bieber model. If you were to string together the latest music from all three, it would sound like one long synth-based song with one line repeated into submission. No one seems to care. It’s more about style and who and what everyone else likes. It’s needing to be led. It’s wanting to be sheep as independent thinking seems to have disappeared.

There’s keeping things simple, and there’s repetition, and what’s passed off as Top 40 music today is written so much to a formula that the song itself is an aside. It’s all about the beats and the arrangement, but even these have been produced to be formulaic “stickiness”. What makes any of this heard is the marketing of the celebrity. That’s the carrier.

Who’s really pulling the strings? Who are the tech puppet masters? Only The Shadow knows, but it’s all part of society gone haywire and a nightmare where Robin Leach and his “Lifestyles Of The Rich and Famous” have crashed into Fantasy Island that’s inhabited today by the inhabitants on E! world.

Everything today is a repeat and copy of everything else. Even Trump. Trump’s campaign for the Presidency is, basically, an off-shoot of The Apprentice. Britney Spears is back with new abs, her own brand of perfume, and a new song that’s actually exactly like one of her old songs, but with more helium in her voice. And yes, the team at E! believe this to be Britney “slaying them”. With helium?

As my house guest packs to return to LA, one can’t help but feel that, to many, there’s something missing in their lives and which can be found on social media, Pokemon Go- and by being sheep. There’s just too much time spent on nobodies who have been marketed to be somebody when they’re still nobodies. Music has become just as manipulative and just as discardable. If we can correct the music part, we- and the next generation- just might have a chance to create a paradigm shift and get back to the garden. After all, music has saved us before.

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