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Celebrity Speak and Millennial Mumbo Jumbo

I am always complaining about the things celebrities say and preach to us but I am getting increasingly irritated by the way they do it.  I mean the way they speak.  And now, people are copying them.

Celebrities are celebrities because they are famous for having a talent (a debatable description in some cases), entertaining us in some way, or for just being famous.  Many are able to rise to celebrity status and sustain it due to their extrovert personalities, their confidence, their massive egos and their single-mindedness in pursuing fame.

More and more of them are using their fame to be ‘celebrity activists’ and to tell us how to make the world a better place and to prattle on about the causes they believe in.   Of course they are entitled to their own opinions but if I want serious advice on a subject I will listen to an expert, not a celebrity.  I’m sick of them telling everybody that if they try hard, they will be successful and accomplish all their dreams.  I really don’t think it’s that simple.   Of course many celebrities who have championed a cause have done so for publicity and some have been caught out further down the line for not practicing what they preach. So I tend not to listen to celebrities very much, and if I do, I will take what they say with a pinch of salt and a roll of the eyes.

The problem is that even when they are talking shite, it’s very difficult to not hear them. Some are expressive and charismatic and I am full of admiration on how they can command your attention and power talk their way into your consciousness.

I think many celebrities have gone to celebrity school and one of the things they are taught is ‘power talking’.  This includes voice training, using body language such as hand-waving whilst talking (Gordon Ramsey is really good at this) and something that I believe is called ‘linguistic supersizing’.  This is where normal words are not good enough and extreme ones need to be used to stand out.  A celebrity wouldn’t be able to call anything they experience ‘good’ or ‘nice’. They will say ‘awesome’ or ‘insane’. Bigger and louder is the way to go.

You know what?  They also use meaningless terms to grab your attention. See, I’ve just done it.   

When celebrities overdo these things, I switch off.  

It’s not just celebrities that can annoy me merely by speaking.  There are some speech patterns commonly used by younger people that make my ears hurt.  Some of these have been inspired by celebrities and copied.

The first is, ‘uptalk’.  This is where people under 35 finish a sentence with a rising tone of voice so that its sounds like a question. It’s irritating to the ear and it makes me wonder whether they are sure about what they are saying or not.

The next is something called ‘vocal fry’. This is a kind of creaky, throaty, exhaled speech sound which is particularly used by young women to create a deeper pitch of voice to sound posh and authoritative. The female cast of ‘Made in Chelsea’ use this lot.  It just sounds smug and very un-authoritative to me.

Using ‘filler’ words is very common and the most irritating one to me is, ‘like’.  It is superfluous and ‘like, totally annoying’! The next is ‘literally’. It ‘literally’ drives me mad.  It must be the most misused word ever.

Using meaningless phrases is another irritant.  I hate, ‘at the end of the day’, or ‘at this moment in time’, and especially, ‘it is what it is’.  ‘Going forward’, we should ban these.  That last one is a favourite of managers and politicians. I also hate ‘forward planning’ or the ‘plan going forward is…’.  How can a plan be about anything but the future? Planning the past would be rather pointless.

I also can’t abide people who are over familiar and use cringy terms (often of American origin).  My wife and I are often referred to as ‘You guys’ and I am apparently a ‘mate’ or ‘bud’ of many a tradesperson. If anyone calls me ‘hun’ or ‘babe’, I will explode.

Its not just the things people say that annoy me. Its the silly dramatic gestures that go with modern communication, often copied from celebrities and actors. Whenever I see a female wafting their hands in front of their eyes as a sign of getting upset, I feel I want to slap them across the face.

I know I am an old fart and getting grumpier by the day. But I can’t help feeling irritated by these things.  Of course, every generation has its own speech trends and these will go out of style and new ones invented all the time.  But I fear they will be just as annoying.  I think it will only get worse because it is the younger generations and celebrities who influence the media and therefore their use of language will dominate.

Am I being too harsh on the way celebrities speak? I have a boring, quiet voice and am not a natural conversationalist.  I struggle to tell jokes and I’m not very expressive unless I’ve had a few glasses of the something alcoholic.   (I could never have pursued a career in media.) Though I might be reasonably articulate, I am rubbish at linguistic supersizing and ‘power talking’.  But I don’t think I would annoy anyone either.

Mental Health ‘experts’ are not good for my mental health

Image by Polina Zimmerman, Pexels

Talking about mental health is ‘trending’

I’m not a big user of social media. As I’ve said before, I don’t trust it and it seems to involve too much time and effort.  One of the reasons I distrust it is because, as a cynical person, it is so difficult to understand people’s real motives especially when they appear to be providing helpful advice or claim to be an expert on something.  Just recently, my news feeds and social media notifications seemed to have become obsessed with mental health and how we should deal with mental health issues.  I didn’t go looking for this information.

Everyone’s an ‘expert’

From what I see on social media, on news feeds and blog sites there appears to be a lot of self professed mental health experts out there.  Like men and women’s lifestyle magazines, they constantly regurgitate advice on how to cope with depression, anxiety and stress. They tell us how important it is to look after our mental health as well as our physical health as if we didn’t already know that.

I doubt if there are many people suffering from mental health issues who are not aware of the potential benefits of psychotherapy or talking to someone, exercise, lifestyle changes, medicine and complementary medicine, breathing exercises, meditation etc.  What I have come across is that some people who are depressed and anxious find it very hard to motivate themselves to take those steps.  I also know they get very pissed off being given glib advice on what to do by someone they don’t know or trust and who doesn’t provide any real empathy.  

Celebrity ‘victims’ (Helping others or themselves?)

We are constantly bombarded with stories of celebrities who have had mental health issues and have suffered all sorts and have made it through. Some are fabricated; some are true.  Some genuine ones I suspect are of their own making.  In many cases, their social media pages present these stories either to get sympathy or to show how they beat it and therefore what a successful a person they are.   And of course it keeps their names out there and makes them money.

Many ‘victim’ celebrities are so obsessed with their own self importance and the need to show off their perfect lives that they can’t cope with any kind of failure or setback.  Also, those that project their wonderful and successful lifestyles can lead us normal people to become dissatisfied with our comparatively mundane lifestyles. The impact on people with real depression is to compact their feeling of helplessness.  

When celebrities speak out about their depression, anxiety or other forms of mental illness, it can help people by taking away the stigma of admitting to a problem.  When people managing mental illnesses share their experience and what works for them, it can help others. When those with a clinical or medical background provide intelligent support, that’s fine also.   

But, the majority of social media coverage I’ve come across regarding mental health advice seems to me to be a load of bull. I’m sure it has the effect of encouraging people to think they have clinical depression when in fact they are just feeling pissed off, stressed or emotionally distressed as a result of life’s events.  It’s when these feelings don’t go away you have a problem. 

Is it ‘fashionable’ to have a mental health issue?

The other thing this coverage does is to make it fashionable to have a mental health issue.  According to new research by the world’s largest online therapy and coaching platform, 1 in 10 young teenagers view certain mental health illnesses as ‘fashionable’. The poll also found that 34% of these respondents had lied about having a mental health issue in the past.  Asked to explain why, 49% claimed they made people ‘unique,’ whilst 16% believed that celebrity sufferers had made them fashionable. A quarter, 24%, stated it was ‘just cool’.  (Source: conducted the study of 1,192 young people in order to find out more about their opinions towards mental health problems.)

I’m sure people with genuine mental health problems must get really pissed off about this. 

Social Media is not always good for your well being

Spending too much time listening to social media ‘experts’ may be counter productive but just spending too much time on social media can be bad for you.  In several studies, teenage and young adult users who spend the most time on Instagram, Facebook and other platforms were shown to have a substantially (from 13 to 66 percent) higher rate of reported depression than those who spent the least time.    

So, you self proclaimed social media experts and celebrities, I am suspicious of your intentions and motivations.  Please shut up and show some respect to those people out there with real mental health problems.   

(Please note: This is a personal view from a grumpy (but not mentally ill) old man)

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