This speech (most of its content) was adapted for the toastmasters to be delivered on 25th April 2014 from Alain de Botton’s ‘The News: A User Manual’.
American Idol’s celebrity judge Simon Cowell, aged 54 and his partner Lauren Silverman, aged 36 take their little son Eric Cowell out to first taste of Easter Sunday to a local restaurant in Beverly Hills!
Guess what? This is flash news in the leading newspaper daily mail in United Kingdom! Perhaps here we might be following the K-Pop and J-pop celebrities!
The fundamental question is: Will our paparazzi thirst be ever quenched? Or is it a paid celebrity news to make them even more popular? Either way we’re at loss. What is the anti-dote?
District Officers, Fellow Toastmasters, and Distinguished guests
The news constantly introduces us to a parade of extraordinary men & women – those who makes us laugh, those who started revolutionary businesses and those whose faces are stunningly beautiful. Their achievements, personalities and looks excites us than ever before.
Why we have this mindless curiosity? Why fixate on the celebrity rather than on the accomplishment? This is a pity and indeed a problem too! Can admiration lead anywhere worthwhile? Is there anything substantial or important to be gained from revering others?
The impulse to admire is ineradicable & important feature of our psyches. Ignoring or condemning it won’t kill it off. If forced underground, it will rear its head again. Rather than suppressing our love of celebrity, we ought to channel it in an optimally intelligent and fruitful direction.
We can take inspiration from philosophy & Athenian Greek approaches to celebrity – which is a commitment to the idea of self-improvement. Religious philosophy advices us that at problematic moments in our lives, we ought to ask what a given saint would do in our place? During a domestic argument, we should, for example, think of the calm and forgiving nature of Saint Gengulphus of Burgundy, the patron saint of difficult marriages. Or equally when facing professional humiliation, we might regain our composure by summoning an image of the un-paranoid and gentle saint of Brigitta of Sweden, the patron saint of failures.
Now the question is how do we negotiate modern celebrity? Keeping those saints in mind, we should locate those celebrities who can best function as guides to our virtues we need to bolster in ourselves, perhaps bravery or playfulness, wisdom or creativity, confidence or forgiveness. Out of the hundreds of celebrities that news introduces us to, we should pick the genuine worth whose attitudes and achievements can inspire us to lead a more successful and contented lives.
In the ideal news service of future, every celebrity story would at heart be a piece of education, an invitation to learn from an admirable person on how to become slightly better version of ourselves.
If I draw a parallel to toastmasters, our magazine, which may not have celebrities but have stories from common people like us to draw tremendous inspiration and hence improve our speaking skills than ever before.
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After delivering I find it too bookish and have to polish it to a more conversational tone with humor and make it simpler! Hope I can take my own advice next time.