As Willy Loman said, "attention must be paid". We all crave attention. Some demand it.
I am thinking of Duncan Chessell, "adventurer", who has just climbed the highest peak in Antarctica. Not alone. He had a satellite phone. He does not move without communications for, otherwise, how could he make the world pay attention to every move he makes? He has not been climbing Mt Vinson (4897m) for science. He has been climbing it because he wants a personal record of having climbed all the world's highest peaks. And he wants everyone to know that he is doing it. There are others climbing with him, but one barely hears of them. They are not media manipulators.
Chessell is an absolute expert. He is a better media manipulator than mountain climber, methinks. He has finessed reporters on various media, charmed them to bits. They all think he is their special friend. They all believe he is reporting exclusively to them. They will not hear a word against him. Of course, they do. From me.
This bloke does not have me fooled and I am appalled that experienced journalists have been suckered in. We of the media are always being wooed by people seeking publicity. PR people finess us all over the place. They treat us like good friends with the hope that we will think of them as good friends. Ingenuous young journalists make believe them - until their job description changes and they discover that they have been dumped like the proverbial in favour of the new journalist who serves the PR cause better. We jaundiced oldies know this syndrome - uncritically, since PR people have to serve their masters and getting through to us is a primary requirement.
Duncan Chessell is his own PR person. He has the media phone numbers on speed dial and he rings and texts his good media buddies daily, often many times. He even texted one colleague in the depths of the night to announce the birth of his child. The colleague was tickled pink thus to be treated like a member of the family, this celebrity family.
But Chessell is creating his own celebrity for his own selfish ends.
He is a man obsessed with his own thing - climbing bloody mountains and making a personal record. The old PB - personal best. The operative word is "personal".
Massive resources are required for the sort of PB he seeks. Delicate environments are trampled. Planes fly in to the fragile Antarctic to bring his crew in and out.
It is all spectacularly expensive.
The canny Chessell has tried to offset this by making his adventures a "charity" cause. He has called his expedition "The Centrecare Antarctic Challenge". It is like a sponsor's naming rights, but the sponsor is a church charity. I gather that we can donate to it in the name of Duncan Chessell and his challenge - hence, he can claim to be supporting its cause. But, of course, it is supporting his cause. His incredibly egocentric PB.
Come on. Who needs Duncan Chessell's name in order to donate to a church charity? If one wishes to donate, one simply donates. Chessell exploits its name for his own cause, not the church cause. How come everyone is suckered in?
No, I am no fan of this man.
I do not feel a wrench of the heart when I see him on television lamenting the fact that he is missing out on his baby daughter's growth because he has to be far away in Antarctica.
He does not have to be anywhere. He is simply putting his adventure above his family.
His wife does not seem to mind. She is getting a lot of attention, too.
In between his myriad media calls, he rings her, also.
Duncan Chessell certainly has achieved a world record of sorts, I think.
He may claim the pinnacle of media connectivity. The top of self-generated media coverage in the world today. Well, South Australia.
I am sure the rest of the world neither knows nor cares.
Until Chessell gets their phone numbers.