There is something primal about this song, isn’t there? Gary Glitter had huge stage presence; he was right up there, in your face, glam as anything you can name in the Glam Rock era and before we found out what he was capable of he was a rock hero. The fact that he was jailed for 15 years for abusing young girls came as a surprise and shock to fans but this is an example of the power and entitlement of celebrity. Nothing much changes there it seems.

Why is this song still so evocative despite the shame of the singer? The answer lies in its raw power. It is simple, it doesn’t appeal to the intellect or the soul, it appeals to the part of us that wants to follow and be included. This is an outright shout of sheer narcissism – and how we went for it as teenagers! We all aspired to be part of the gang or even envisaged ourselves as a leader. The appeal was universal, the message empty and the numbers that came on board were phenomenal.

Where am I going with this? Well, there are some parallels and I will avoid the more obvious ones. I am really trying to behave myself here, believe it or not, but my own political convictions and experience in a country where politics is, thankfully, far less tribal and visceral won’t allow me to remain silent. Yes, I try. Yes, I fail. Every single day. I don’t know what frightens me more, the monosyllabic grunts of “cuck”, “loser”, “libtard” and “sheep”, the threats against prominent liberals, the gun waving and flag waving; or the frank corruption of a political party that would allow an emotionally fragile man and a foreign power to win an election that will primarily benefit the very mentality and behaviour that encourages these dangerous feelings of entitlement.

I don’t know what dismays me more; a group of people buying into the myth of a self-made man who was made by his father’s enormous wealth, a series of investment opportunities and regular appearances on Reality TV or the fact that for the ordinary working class men and women he claims to represent there will never be a chance of becoming a star or rising out of poverty. Why do I think this? Because the days of the early twentieth century when anyone could be successful by virtue of talent and hard work are now long gone. To succeed requires celebrity, to gain celebrity means to be born into it, or wealth, for they are one and the same.

The perversion of Christian values into something utterly monstrous is a theme I will leave for another day, besides, John Pavlovitz does it so well. At the end of the day what we are faced with is a very real defeat for the working masses. They wanted to be in his gang, but they will never get to be leader – however much all the insults and foot stomping chants make them feel empowered, however much they may hate other tribes in society they feel have unjustly excluded them in the past. Leadership? Leader of the Gang, yeah? That is the provenance of the rich and entitled and nothing will be changed by any number of rousing choruses. Who are the “losers” now?

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