Celebrity books take center stage.
Proclaiming oneself “truly humbled” often signals that one could use much more humbling, preferably via a knuckle sandwich. Yet self-serving announcements of humility have become the posturing trend of the moment among celebrities. Leo DiCaprio is “deeply humbled” by his Oscar nomination. Kanye West is humbled by the love of his fans. Ridley Scott is “truly humbled” by his recent knighting. In modern parlance, humility is the natural outcome of a crowdsourced tongue bath.
C. S. Lewis wrote that “humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” Try telling that to the surge of celebrities determined to translate their superior lifestyle choices into a brand, one that might include jewelry or recipes or fragrances or even startlingly optimistic euphemisms for divorce. Nothing is less humble than urging people to dress like you and smell like you and cloak their painful rites of passage in your awkward catchphrases of choice.
And perhaps the least humble trick in the Truly Humbled celebrity bag of tricks is the celebrity book. Not only do most such titles expound upon the marvelousness of their subjects, they’re also usually written by professional ghostwriters—i.e., people who are paid to follow celebrities around, listening to how truly humbled and truly blessed they feel, and then to translate that rambling positive self-regard into a coherent narrative that makes its subject sound faintly humanlike and mortal-ish.
Good ghostwriters are magicians, in other words. And if there were justice in the world, reviews of a celebrity book would award