With the news media dominated today by the news of Michael Jackson's death, it set me wondering about the modern appeal of celebrity.
Mr Jackson illustrated, perhaps more than most, the terrible price that fame can extract: a number of tributes have testified to his loneliness and how unhappy his childhood was. And all this hard on the heels of Susan Boyle's well-publicised strugles to cope with the surge of media attention after her appearance on "Britain's Got Talent".
Yet, still we seem obsessed with celebrity, whether deserved (as in Mr Jackson's case) or not (as in the case of the late Jade Goody). Perhaps now might be a time to ponder whether a focus on more important issues , more lasting pleasures, and hard-earned, real achievement would be a good thing for our society?