British Manufacturing
9

Kelly Brook, Our Lady Of The Selfies

A series dedicated to explaining Britain's manufactured celebrities to an American audience.

At this pivotal juncture of Western feminism, as minds great and not so great debate Sheryl Sandberg's diktats, parse Marissa Mayer's tyrannical telecommuting ban, and analyze more rigorously the lyrics of "I Knew You Were Trouble" now that we know Taylor's totally singing about Harry Styles, it is edifying to see that, when it comes to sisterly activism, one of Britain's most influential female role models refuses to shirk her duty. "It's hard being 33 and being a model," beloved Page 3 alum Kelly Brook movingly—bravely!—confided to OK, "but I do it because it's nice to [...]

4

Prince Harry, Millennial Royal

A series dedicated to explaining Britain's manufactured celebrities to an American audience.

It was an unforgettable scene: a wayward prince in virile command of a nubile gathering, booze and shrooms flowing, billiard cues brandished suggestively, gratuitous nudity set against an opulent backdrop. But enough about my “Game of Thrones” fan fic. Matters of even greater import summon our attention, such as the apparent inability of young British royals to keep their goodies concealed from the public’s prurient gaze—even though “not being photographed naked” falls fairly high on an unchallenging list of official duties, somewhere between “attending photo-calls with terminally ill children” and “accepting hospitality from Richard Branson.” But [...]

11

Hail Tulisa, The Female Boss

A series dedicated to explaining Britain's manufactured celebrities to an American audience.

When a society is as riven with conflict as today’s Britain, it takes a special kind of momentous event, the recognition of a greater enemy, to unite Tories and socialists, celebs and civilians, those who yearn for Kate Winslet’s excommunication from the planet and those who’d be content with her bleak and everlasting obscurity. So it was that last week, the nation put aside its differences and came together in support of one grievously wronged young woman: 23-year-old Tulisa, formerly of hip-hop trio N-Dubz and now a solo artist and beloved judge on Aristotelian forum of dialectical exchange [...]

7

The Games That Giggsy Plays

A series dedicated to explaining Britain's manufactured celebrities to an American audience.

Here’s a fun game to play—well, when I say “fun game to play” I suppose I really mean “grim illustration of late capitalism’s warped values that might fleetingly distract you from the pointless quagmire of your own existence.” Anyhoo, fingers on buzzers: of the following, which genre of news story has the longest shelf-life in our ADD-pandering global media landscape: missing white girl with pretty blonde hair; white girl imprisoned for grisly murder; or famous married man sexing women who aren’t his wife? The answer, as established by the indefatigable wonks at Princeton’s Department of Research Studies to [...]

3

It's Jordan's World, We Just Live In It

A series dedicated to explaining Britain's manufactured celebrities to an American audience.

Accompany me, if you will, on a little thought experiment: let us imagine that a band of intrepid time travelers, or intelligent extra-terrestrials should that be more plausible in your Dawkinsian worldview, have happened upon contemporary Britain, and are puzzling out its customs.

The inhabitants of these cold, wet, verdant isles—they would report in their alienish (or distant-era) idiom—are in apparently helpless thrall to an orange-hued, dead-eyed, grotesquely-mammaried personage who, while outwardly conforming to a female gendered shape, does not seem fully human. We hazard a guess that this intimidating being is a robot [...]

23

There's Something About Kerry

A column dedicated to explaining Britain's manufactured celebrities to an American audience.

The people of Great Britain, as they valiantly try to heal from the manifold traumas this past season has wrought—the sudden death of Amy Winehouse, the devastating break-up of Alexa Chung and Alex Turner, Kate Winslet’s unfortunate survival of Richard Branson’s house fire, the merciless destruction of marauding mobs—are, quite understandably, seeking solace in time-honored fashion: by documenting, dissecting, and debating the riveting antics of one Kerry Jayne Elizabeth Katona, an author, TV personality and mother of four. The 31-year-old, who on Thursday won second place on cultural flagship "Celebrity Big Brother"—prompting optimistic speculation that she's "[...]

16

The Miraculous Exploits Of Princess Michael Of Kent

A series dedicated to explaining Britain's manufactured celebrities to an American audience.

To the index of woes humanity was blessedly spared last year—the Mayan apocalypse, a Romney-Ryan administration, the fiscal cliff, photos of Kate Winslet’s third wedding—we must add an event whose absence supplies a faint but joyous glimmer of hope in our brutal world. I refer, dear readers, to Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent's fourth literary effort and debut novel, The Queen of Four Kingdoms. This reportedly completed tale of warring royals in 15th-century France, featuring "many colourful and also dangerous characters," has failed to appear despite a promised "release date" of 2012. Now, [...]

16

The Unavoidable Louise Mensch

A series dedicated to explaining Britain's manufactured celebrities to an American audience.

As has long been accepted by all right-thinking individuals, chick lit is to blame for modern society's cruelest scourges, from the re-entrenchment of patriarchal attitudes to the rise of the $15 cocktail to my exhaustive familiarity with Jennifer Weiner's opinions. Yet in our beleaguerment, we might have overlooked an even direr side-effect of those pastel-colored volumes, one that throws into disarray the very laws of existence.

I'm afraid there's no easy way to say this, but it appears that chick lit plots are escaping from the confines of their pages and becoming real, like some dystopian [...]

15

Roman, The Billionaire Who Came In From The Cold

A series dedicated to explaining Britain's manufactured celebrities to an American audience.

We must begin today, I’m afraid, by sullying our hands with the unsavory subject of brand association, that ineffable pillar of culture responsible for such teachable moments as the Kardashianisation of Christian Louboutin stilettoes (poor Christian must look at Kim’s plastic parts hovering atop his red-soled nude peep-toes and wonder if it’s all worth it) and Abercrombie & Fitch’s callous proposal that our old friend Mike the Situation be paid not to wear A&F clothes. So here’s a tricky philosophical conundrum, a Zen kōan for the 1 percent set, as it were: a famous Russian oligarch [...]

14

The Only Way Is Amy

A series dedicated to explaining Britain's manufactured celebrities to an American audience.

Far be it from me to inject a note of alarmism into this barely launched year, but have you noticed that absolutely nothing is real anymore? Bikini models are actual hungry teenagers only from the chin up, marriages arranged in good faith by Ryan Seacrest Enterprises are not, it turns out, sacred and everlasting unions, and each day that passes sees Photoshop and plastic surgery opponent Kate Winslet looking more like a cyborg who’d like to offer you a Lancôme gift bag with a $35-or-more purchase. We do, it is some consolation, still live in [...]

16

Bow To Coleen, Queen Of The WAGs

A column dedicated to explaining Britain's manufactured celebrities to an American audience.

Heartening news for those unjaded souls who, in the face of relentless evidence to the contrary, hold dear the notion of Great Britain as a bastion of civility: a new research study has debunked “the common perception of a Rude Britannia.” Apparently, in between drunken fisticuffs, sticking pins into crudely formed likenesses of Kate Winslet and casting votes on reality shows, the denizens of Her Majesty’s Kingdom are quite polite to one another.

Through my shock, I ponder the possible impetus behind this investigation, and thus call to mind a display of decency and breeding such [...]

5

The Crazy Days Of Sadie Frost

A series dedicated to explaining Britain's manufactured celebrities to an American audience.

As the British phone hacking scandal spawns new chapters, it may yet be too early to properly take stock of the vital questions, namely, how will the exposure of these unconscionable practices ultimately transform tabloid culture? And by which method can we scrub from our memories Hugh Grant's excruciating use of the crisis as public psychotherapy? Nevertheless, with Murdoch's minions awaiting criminal trial, we are duty-bound to weigh the consequences they hath wrought, such as possibly—and arguably most seismically—casting asunder the epochal union of Jude Law and Sadie Frost. "Did phone hacking [...]

11

How Pixie Lott Became A Star

A series dedicated to explaining Britain's manufactured celebrities to an American audience.

If recent history has taught us anything (other than how seismically upsetting it is when nepotism mars the hitherto incorruptible profession of acting), it’s that achieving fame as a lovable British pop star typically entails a grueling journey through the glitzy Cowellian panopticon of the talent show circuit. Frankly, we should all mentally prepare for a future where every important public role, from political leader to evening news anchor to royal progenitor, is assigned via staged auditions and tear-jerking assurances that you really made that song your own. So it is genuinely inspiring—life-affirming, even—to witness a [...]

23

How Kate Became A Princess

A series dedicated to explaining Britain's manufactured celebrities to an American audience.

Heartbreaking confession time: I was born with a rare condition, of unknown etiology, that causes my skin to break out in hives whenever I see grown women dressed as fairy princesses and throwing around phrases like “my special day” and “beach-themed centerpiece.” Nevertheless, in my dedication to delivering scoops no matter how intrepid the investigation—in this instance, perusing TLC message boards and IMing with a make-up artist named Flavio—I’ve obtained cast-iron confirmation that no bride is permitted to grace any wedding show (“Say Yes To The Dress,” “Bridezilla” et al) without contractually committing to intone, on command and [...]

6

Boris, Britain’s Blond Bombshell

A series dedicated to explaining Britain's manufactured celebrities to an American audience.

Of the various cultural metrics used by future historians to define our current, turbulent era—the remarkable epidemic of citizen protests, imploding free market capitalism, the dominance of the single-camera sitcom, America’s strange obsession with why some lady with bangs might not get married like she totes always thought she would—among the most significant will surely be the cult of personality’s global decline. Castro has finally hung up his beret, Gaddafi’s been unceremoniously bumped off, and Russian voters have signaled their disenchantment with Vladimir Putin's Stalinist ubiquity. As for Obama, has any leader ever slid quite so precipitously [...]

15

Don't You Wish You Looked Just Like Cheryl Tweedy?

A column dedicated to explaining Britain's manufactured celebrities to an American audience.

Friends of civilization, believers in freedom, supporters of self-serving celebrity visits to war zones, please brace yourselves for some disturbing news: al-Qaeda has a new enemy. She’s younger and perkier than The West, she’s a better dancer than The Jews, and she owns more jewelry than the Queen of England and Rudy Giuliani put together.

Wait, I sense your skepticism, but allow me to elaborate. The inflamer of whom I speak is a 28-year-old from the North-East of England by the name of Cheryl Cole. Ms. Cole, née Cheryl Ann Tweedy, is currently known to the American [...]