Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Celebrity Diseases

Some time ago the Guardian Saturday magazine had Leonardo DiCaprio on the cover as a 'Top 50 Green Hero'. I'm sure the Ecologist magazine had him on the front some months before too. Every worthy cause needs a celebrity nowadays to make it more credible, sexy, worthy – and important. Aid agencies, charities and worthy causes hold meetings discussing what famous person would suit them – remember Helena Bonham Carter for Oxfam (what a disaster!)? Then there was Greta Scacchi posing naked with a dead fish to promote sustainable fishing. It's hoped Stephen Fry can cure the world of bipolar disorder and solve global warming with his chin alone. Incurable disease charities probably sit around praying someone famous will get their disease so they'll add muscle (and money) to their cause. Not even necessarily money but recognition – like when Michael J Fox (or even Jane Asher's brother-in-law) was diagnosed with Parkinson's, the Parkinson's Disease Society must have leapt for joy. You can't buy that kind of publicity. Most famous people are more than likely to put me off their particular cause, charity or disease – especially if I don't like them. I've gone right off cancer since Kylie, Jade Goody and Patrick Swayze got it.

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