.........when they agree to appear on a celebrity reality show !!
Not so long ago, a celebrity WAS someone. Simple as that. Usually a film star or a tv star; someone you'd probably go to the end of the street to see. On a wet day. In winter. In Normanton.
Then we got divisions. Levels of celebrity. As well as the big names we got the expression, minor celebrity. Even B-list celebrity. And that was about the lot.
Now though, loads of tv shows and magazines have made a mockery of the word celebrity.
As an aside, I've never understood why groups like the paparazzi even exist. They spend their nasty intrusive lives trying to get photos of celebrities going about their daily business. Why ? They'd say it's because WE want it. WE buy the magazines that contain the photos. Photos of Britney in her car at an LA fast food outlet. Photos of Madonna pushing a pram in a London park. Photos of Brad Pitt or George Clooney arriving in Venice for a film festival. Whoop di do. Who gives a damn ?
But at least these people could be classed as celebrities, A-list ones if you like. But what about these sad, sad people who pop up on the ridiculous reality shows that fill our screen these days ?
It's got beyond a joke and I thank God (and Virgin Media - oh a bit of a dubious connection there !!) ) that I've still got sport and movies and the occasional soap to watch as the rest is celebrity crap.
Have a look at the UK line up at the moment :
Cash In The Celebrity Attic
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire ? Celebrity Special
Celebrity Entourage : The Powder Room
Extreme: Skinny Celebrities
Extreme: Skinny Celebrity Mums
Alan Carr's Celebrity Ding Dong
Celebrity Weakest Link
Celebrity Ready Steady Cook
And there are also at least a dozen one off shows like :
Shortest Celebrity Marraiges
Celebrity Diet Secrets Revealed
Celebrity Near Death Experiences
Celebrity Plastic Surgery
30 Most Outrageous Celebrity Feuds
Sexiest Celebrity Brunettes
I kid you not. All these shows are currently being shown here in the UK and I can guarantee you that, apart from the one off shows where the 'celebrity' has no say in being a part of it, all the rest of the shows contain celebrities you have to Google to find out who the hell they are, or were, or want to be.
And remember these are just the shows with the word 'celebrity' in them. There are others.
'Celebrity' has become as debased a concept as 'hero' in modern terms. Anyone can be one. You don't have to do much.
And flying along in a few days time we have a new one. Oh God help us all.
Yes it promises to be as bad as it sounds and the first indication of this is that it's going straight to the B-channel, ITV2. No mainstream prime time spot for this one.
The idea is that a bunch of has beens or wanna bees or who the fuck are yous are given airline jobs on the ground or in the air and the ones that piss us off the least get to stay each week. Now hasn't that got ratings winner all over it ?? I'm just worried that our love of all shows airline-y might overcome our loathing of giving these Z-list celebrities any of our valuable viewing time.
And don't expect Clint or Brad, Harrison or Leonardo to be taking part. And Angelina and Julia, Natalie and Cameron won't be on board either. And there is the point. We know THEM by first name alone. These Z-listers we don't even know with their surnames and DNA.
In true celeb style, they threatened a revolt when they were asked to resit some Civil Aviation exams due to overdoing it on the alcohol and were only placated when promised a day trip to a spa for their troubles. Can you see Brad or George settling for a trip to a spa ? They have those in their limos !!
I'd like to think I'm not on my own here but then again, enough people must be buying the magazines and watching the shows to make them worth producing. I suppose if this new airline show just had a bunch of average John and Jane Does as contestants, it would never get off the ground, so to speak.
After all it would just be what happens in real life. The ultimate reality show.
And no one wants that on their tv screens.