Of celebrities and celebrations

Guest blog

Our anonymous blogger is annoyed by the adulation of Kanye West’s wife’s bottom ahead of people who actually help humanity

There have been two awards ceremonies recently. One of them got a huge amount of coverage across all parts of the media and the other one didn’t. In the first instance we have the annual bun fight in a glitzy location that is the “Brit Awards.” I believe that lessons learnt in the notorious debacle of “Mick Fleetwood and Sam Fox-erm-gate” mean this is no longer an utterly shambolic affair but, even so, is it really worthy of televising at length? Yes, there are some rich folk and you get to see some of the current (and past) stars doing their thing but it would appear it was all so uninspiring this year that Madonna felt compelled to hurl herself off the stage in an unscripted cry for help.

mark chapman
Bloodhound SSC’s chief engineer Mark Chapman: honoured by Semta, but less covered than Kim Kardashian

Alright, I understand that the music business is something of a cash cow and that it brings joy to many people but this wasn’t about the music itself.  That could be covered in any number of formats without filming the mutual back-slapping and the tedious attention grabbing by Kanye “my wife is famous purely for having her bottom photographed” West.

Compare this to the Semta Skills in Engineering Awards where  we can take Mark Chapman being inducted into their “Engineering Hall of Fame” as an example for discussion (by the way, my congratulations to all who received an award at this event). It would be entirely unrealistic to expect engineering to gain a similar coverage to the bloated ego led aberration that is the music industry, but as far as I can see the Semta Awards didn’t get any national coverage outside of the specialist press. This despite the fact that engineering employs more than 5 million people whilst the whole performing arts sector employs approximately one fifth of this.

Engineering advances humanity in a very real way and, although the importance of the arts is not to be denigrated, when (excepting the musician involved) was the last time a catchy tune saved someone’s life, kept them warm or protected them from hardship?  Although you could point out that a 1000 MPH car wont do any of these things either Bloodhound has always been about inspiring the next generation, the focus has always been the real legacy beyond the record. The core values that the Brits are based around are fluff and frippery, the Semta awards substance and depth.

The bottom line is that Mr Chapman’s award recognises the world beating class of the Bloodhound project, the absolute pinnacle of exceptional brilliance for our profession whereas the Brits recognises ephemeral popularity. The difference in the way these are covered by the press points to something broken deep within the values system of our culture.