Letter from the editor: Living in the age of celebrity

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The Independent Online

I love our readers. I really do. Of course, in an indirect way, you pay our wages, so it's in my interest to keep in with you.

But it's deeper than that. At our public events, you've been courteous, supportive and engaged. In the letters and emails you send, I detect a sensibility that is in tune with the ethos of the paper, and a humour that punctures the sort of pomposity to which, I'm afraid, all journalists with an opinion are prone. But occasionally, I can't help but be a little irritated by one of our correspondents.

Step forward, Peter Foreman of Bradford-on-Avon. "After seeing your ad claiming i contains no celebrity rubbish," he writes, "I was about to accuse you of contravening the Trades Description Act." I assume that in the beautiful town of Bradford-on-Avon there's a house called "High Dudgeon"' because Mr Foreman continues in admonishing fashion, saying that, in one issue, he counted "10 celebrity bits, including a silly, trivial full-page feature on Lily Allen by hack Julie Burchill and a huge page-filler photo of Donald Trump and Sarah Palin." Now, I'm not easily driven to exasperation, but I did rather hold my head in my hands during Mr Foreman's tirade.

I am at a loss to see how a story about Messrs Trump and Palin, whatever you may think of them, is celebrity rubbish. It's about the Republican candidature, which just happens to involve celebrity. Likewise, even if Julie Burchill is not to your taste, it is surely not beyond the pale for her to discuss one of Britain's most influential recording artists. For good or ill, we live in the age of the celebrity, and we just have to accept that there are certain news stories which may be interesting and diverting, if not important, because they involve a celebrity. Ryan Giggs and the superinjunction, and the sacking of Cheryl Cole from the X Factor are two such.

So, Mr Foreman, you're right to hold us to account, but I reject the charge. So there. Who said everyone's in a bad mood on a Monday morning?