Transcript: Timothy Caulfield: Celebrities vs. Science | Jul 13, 2021

An animated slate reads "The Agenda in the Summer."

A female announcer says THE AGENDA IN THE SUMMER WITH NAM KIWANUKA IS MADE POSSIBLE THROUGH GENEROUS PHILANTHROPIC CONTRIBUTIONS FROM VIEWERS LIKE YOU. THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING TVO'S JOURNALISM.

Nam stands in the studio. She's in her early forties, with shoulder length straight brown hair. She's wearing glasses, a mint green blazer over a black shirt, and a golden pendant necklace.

A wall screen behind her reads "The Agenda in the Summer."

Nam says HEALTH FADS COME AND GO, BUT WHY DO WE EVER BELIEVE THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE? I'M NAM KIWANUKA. TONIGHT, EXPANDING ON OUR LOOK BACK AT MYTH-BUSTING CONVERSATIONS, WE RETURN TO OUR 2015 INTERVIEW WITH HEALTH AND SCIENCE POLICY EXPERT TIMOTHY CAULFIELD. HIS BOOK "IS GWYNETH PALTROW WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING?" POINTED THE FINGER AT CELEBRITY CULTURE AND THE MISINFORMATION THAT FAME CAN SPREAD.

Music plays as an animated slate reads "The Agenda in the Summer."

Nam says SINCE WE ORIGINALLY RECORDED THIS IN 2015, MULTIPLE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS HAVE EMERGED, MOST NOTABLY TIKTOK, WHICH HAS PROPELLED THE NON-FAMOUS TO CELEBRITY STATUS. WELLNESS INDUSTRY HAS ALSO CONTINUED TO GROW, WITH SOME ESTIMATING ITS GLOBAL WORTH IN THE TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS. TIMOTHY CAULFIELD HAS SINCE PUBLISHED TWO OTHER BOOKS - THE VACCINATION PICTURE AND RELAX, DAMMIT!: HEALTHY and HAPPY IN THE AGE OF ANXIETY. HERE'S OUR conversation FROM 2015.

An animated slate reads "The Agenda in the Summer."

In a clip, Piya sits in the studio. She's in her forties, and has dark brown, slightly wavy hair in a bob cut. She wears a pink shirt and a beige blazer.

She says FROM MAGAZINES AND TV SCREENS, TO OUR TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM FEEDS, CELEBRITIES ARE EVERYWHERE. SO, IT'S OF LITTLE SURPRISE THAT THEY INFLUENCE OUR LIFE CHOICES. JOINING US NOW TO DETAIL WHY THAT MIGHT BE A PROBLEM IS TIMOTHY CAULFIELD. HE'S THE AUTHOR OF IS GWYNETH PALTROW WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING? WHEN CELEBRITY CULTURE AND SCIENCE CLASH. HE'S ALSO A PROFESSOR AND RESEARCH DIRECTOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA IN EDMONTON.

A picture of Timothy’s book appears briefly on screen. The cover shows the title made into a collage from different magazines. Then, Timothy appears on screen. He’s in his forties, clean-shaven, with short wavy side-parted salt and pepper hair. He’s wearing large black-rimmed glasses, a tight-fitting burgundy cardigan over a checkered black and white shirt, and a black tie.

Piya says HELLO TO YOU.

Timothy says HELLO.

Piya says OKAY, FOR PEOPLE WHO MAY NOT HAVE HEARD OF GWYNETH PALTROW... I THINK THEY'VE BEEN LIVING IN A CAVE... SHE'S AN ACTRESS, SHE WAS MARRIED AT ONE POINT TO A VERY FAMOUS MUSICIAN WHO'S THE LEAD SINGER OF A BAND CALLED COLDPLAY.

A picture of Gwyneth smiling appears on screen. She’s in her forties, with long straight blond hair.

Piya continues WHY ARE YOU PICKIN' ON GWYNETH?

Timothy says SO, I DON'T REALLY PICK ON GWYNETH. UH, I THINK THAT SHE'S JUST SUCH A GREAT SYMBOL OF THE PLACE OF CELEBRITY CULTURE IN OUR LIVES TODAY. IN FACT, I LOVE CELEBRITY CULTURE AND I TALK ABOUT A LOT OF OTHER CELEBRITIES IN THE BOOK. BUT GWYNETH IS SUCH A GREAT EXAMPLE BECAUSE NOT ONLY DOES SHE TALK ABOUT HEALTH THINGS, NOT ONLY DOES SHE TELL US HOW WE'RE SUPPOSED TO LIVE, BUT IT'S ALSO PART OF HER BRAND, RIGHT? SHE HAS THIS COMPANY CALLED GOOP, WHERE SHE SELLS, UH, ITEMS AND SHE... YOU KNOW, SHE USES THAT AS A PLATFORM TO GIVE ADVICE ON A WHOLE BUNCH OF THINGS FROM, YOU KNOW, DETOXING TO, UH, STEAMING YOUR VAGINA, TO THE KINDS OF SUPPLEMENTS WE'RE SUPPOSED TO TAKE.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Timothy Caulfield. Author ‘Is Gwyneth Paltrow wrong about everything?’"

Timothy continues SO I FELT SHE WAS A REALLY GOOD EXAMPLE OF CELEBRITY CULTURE. IN ADDITION TO THAT, I WAS ABLE... I THOUGHT SHE WOULD BE A GOOD PERSON TO KIND OF TRY TO TRACK DOWN AND TO... AND ALSO TO USE SOME OF THE ADVICE THAT SHE GAVE.

The caption changes to "Are celebrities bad for your health? Under Gwyneth Paltrow’s spell."

Timothy continues SO, I DON'T HATE GWYNETH. I JUST USE HER AS A REALLY GOOD EXAMPLE.

Piya says SHE MIGHT TALK ABOUT HOW TO UN-HATE HER, IF YOU HATED HER. OKAY, SO YOU HAVE FOLLOWED SOME OF GWYNETH'S ADVICE. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT SHE AND OTHER CELEBRITIES HAVE SORT OF FLOGGED FOR A LONG TIME ARE THESE CLEANSES. YOU DID A CLEANSE.

Timothy says YEAH.

Piya says WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?

Timothy says THAT'S RIGHT. AND CLEANSING, I LOVE THIS AS AN EXAMPLE, CLEANSING AND DETOXING, BECAUSE IT REALLY IS EVERYWHERE. I MEAN, IF YOU BELIEVE SOME OF THE INDUSTRY DATA, IT'S A OVER FIVE BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY, AND IT'S GROWING AND BECOMING MORE POPULAR, AND IT'S ASSOCIATED WITH THINGS LIKE JUICING AND ALL THESE KINDS OF THINGS YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO DO FOR YOUR BODY TO DETOXIFY. AND THE REASON I LOVE THE TOPIC IS YOU CAN BE COMPLETELY UNEQUIVOCAL ABOUT, YOU KNOW, SAYING WHAT THE SCIENCE ACTUALLY SAYS. THE DATA SAYS THESE THINGS ARE COMPLETELY USELESS, RIGHT?

Piya says EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM?

Timothy says YOU DON'T NEED TO DETOXIFY. LIKE, WHEN YOU PEE, YOU'RE DETOXIFYING, RIGHT? YOU HAVE ORGANS IN YOUR BODY TO DETOXIFY. AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, A LOT OF THESE TRENDY DIETS AND DETOXES, THEY NEVER REALLY EXPLAIN HOW THEY'RE GOING TO WORK. THE IDEA OF DETOXING IS SORTA LIKE THE MODERN EQUIVALENT OF EVIL SPIRITS OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT, YOU KNOW, THAT WE HAVE TO RID OUR BODIES OF. SO, THERE'S REALLY NO EVIDENCE HOW IT WORKS. SO, I THOUGHT I'D GO ON GWYNETH'S CLEANSE, AND I WENT TO HOLLYWOOD AND I MET WITH HER DOCTOR, DR. JUNGER, WHO'S VERY GENEROUS WITH HIS TIME AND EXPLAINED TO ME EXACTLY WHY I SHOULD BE GOING ON A CLEANSE AND WHAT IT WOULD DO FOR ME. SO, I TRIED IT AND IT WAS 21 DAYS, VERY EXTREME.

Piya says LIKE, WHAT KINDS OF THINGS?

Timothy says SO, YOU HAVE, LIKE... YOU EAT JUST A POWDER IN THE MORNING, A POWDER DRINK IN THE MORNING, WHICH LOOKS LIKE NESTLÉ QUIK. I DON'T KNOW IF YOU REMEMBER THAT FROM YOUR CHILDHOOD.

Piya says YES, CHOCOLATE. YES, I DO.

Timothy says DOES NOT TASTE LIKE NESTLÉ QUIK, UNFORTUNATELY. YOU HAVE... THAT'S YOUR BREAKFAST. AND THEN, YOU CAN HAVE REAL FOOD FOR LUNCH, BUT NOT MUCH, AND IT'S VERY RESTRICTED WHAT YOU'RE ALLOWED TO EAT. AND THEN ANOTHER SHAKE, ANOTHER ONE OF THESE NESTLÉ QUIK THINGS FOR DINNER, AND THEN SUPPLEMENTS THROUGHOUT. AND, UH, IT WAS, YOU KNOW, OBVIOUSLY VERY CALORIE-RESTRICTED, SO I LOST A TON OF WEIGHT. I LOST LIKE NINE POUNDS. UH, AND DID IT COME BACK ON? OF COURSE, YEAH, ALMOST IMMEDIATELY, ALMOST IMM... AND I TRIED. UM, AND THE WHOLE IDEA BEHIND IT IS THAT YOU'RE RESETTING YOUR SYSTEM. YOU'RE RESETTING THE FLORA, YOU KNOW, THE BACTERIA IN YOUR GUTS, UM, WHICH IS OFTEN ANOTHER REASON PRETTY, ALLEGEDLY, SHOULD DO CLEANSES. AND IT'S SUPPOSED TO JUST MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER, IT'S SUPPOSED TO MAKE YOU DE-STRESS, ALL THESE THINGS, RIGHT? DID IT DO ANY OF THAT FOR ME? NO.

Piya says YOU DIDN'T FEEL BETTER?

Timothy says I DID NOT FEEL BETTER.

Piya says OKAY.

Timothy says AT ALL. IN FACT, I FELT MISERABLE DURING THE CLEANSE. NOW, HAVING SAID THAT, THERE IS SOME EVIDENCE AND SOME ANECDOTAL REPORTS THAT PEOPLE DO FEEL BETTER DURING THIS... DOING CLEANSE. 'CAUSE YOU'RE STARVING YOURSELF, RIGHT? AND THERE'S SOME DATA ABOUT HOW PEOPLE GET A LITTLE BIT OF A BUZZ WHEN THEY'RE STARVING. AND SO, I DIDN'T FEEL BETTER. BUT WHEN YOU'RE DONE, THERE IS A SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT. EVEN THOUGH I KNEW GOING IN, IT WAS PROBABLY BOGUS, RIGHT? I KNEW THAT IT WAS PROBABLY NOT A LOT TO IT. I STILL FELT LIKE IT WAS AN ACCOMPLISHMENT. AND I THINK THAT'S ANOTHER REASON PEOPLE DO IT, RIGHT? IT'S LIKE THE MOUNTAIN HAS BEEN SUMMITED, THEY FINISHED THE MARATHON, RIGHT? "I'VE FINISHED MY CLEANSE."

Piya says SURE, I STARVED MYSELF FOR 21 DAYS, THERE'S SOME SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT. "I LOST NINE POUNDS," THAT'S ALL YOU'RE PATTING YOURSELF ON THE BACK KIND OF STUFF.

Timothy says EXACTLY.

Piya says CAN YOU, UM, HELP ME UNDERSTAND THIS? I'VE NEVER BEEN ON A CLEANSE OR A DETOX. I ACTUALLY DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT THE DIFFERENCE IS. IS THERE A DIFFERENCE?

Timothy says IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CLEANSE AND A DETOX? YES AND NO. DETOXING IS ASSOCIATED WITH A WHOLE BUNCH OF THINGS, FROM JUICING TO THIS WHOLE IDEA... OR TO TAKING CERTAIN KINDS OF SUPPLEMENTS, OR TO EATING CERTAIN KINDS OF FOODS. SO, IT DOESN'T NECESSARILY HAVE TO BE A CLEANSE PROGRAM. BUT CLEANSING AND DE... ALMOST ALL CLEANSES CLAIM THAT THEY ALSO DETOX.

Piya says OKAY. ALL RIGHT. THEY'RE ALL BUNK IS WHAT YOU TELLING ME.

Timothy says THEY'RE ALL BUNK, YEAH.

Piya says THERE'S NOT ONE THAT YOU COME ACROSS THAT AIN'T BUNK?

Timothy says LOOK, ALMOST EVERY SINGLE TRENDY DIET IS BUNK TO SOME DEGREE. I MEAN, WE SHOULD JUST EAT... WE CAN TALK ABOUT THAT... YOU SHOULD JUST EAT A HEALTHY, WELL-ROUNDED DIET. I MEAN, EVIDENCE TELLS US THAT AGAIN AND AGAIN. AND TO BE HONEST WITH YOU, NUTRITION RESEARCH IS REALLY TOUGH TO DO, AND THAT'S WHY YOU HEAR THESE STORIES ABOUT, YOU KNOW, SOMETHING'S GOOD FOR YOU, SOMETHING'S BAD FOR YOU, COFFEE'S GOOD FOR YOU, COFFEE'S BAD FOR YOU, CHOCOLATE'S GOOD FOR YOU, BECAUSE IT'S REALLY HARD TO DO THIS RESEARCH WELL. SO, THERE'S JUST A FEW KINDS OF DIETS, PRIMARILY THE MEDITERRANEAN, THAT HAVE ANY GOOD CLINICAL DATA TO BACK THEM UP. SO, I THINK MOST PEOPLE SHOULD BE SCEPTICAL OF ALL DIETS, WHETHER IT'S A CLEANSE OR OTHERWISE.

Piya says OKAY, TIMOTHY, LET'S TALK ABOUT GLUTEN, BECAUSE NOW, IN ALMOST EVERY GROCERY STORE, THERE'S LIKE A DEDICATED AISLE FOR GLUTEN-FREE THINGS. SEEMS TO SORTA BE THE "IT" THING TO BE DOING RIGHT NOW, RIGHT?

Timothy says ABSOLUTELY.

Piya says OKAY. WHAT... AND I'M BEING TOLD, 'CAUSE EVERYONE TALKS ABOUT IT NOW, THAT YOU SHOULD GO GLUTEN-FREE. WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF GOING GLUTEN-FREE?

Timothy says SO, THIS IS A CONTROVERSIAL TOPIC AND YOU'RE RIGHT, PEOPLE ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT THIS. THIS IS... YOU KNOW, A LOT OF PEOPLE FEEL THAT IT'S CHANGED THEIR LIFE, GOING GLUTEN-FREE, THAT, YOU KNOW, ALL OF THEIR ILLS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH GOING GLUTEN-FREE. AND, AGAIN, A MASSIVE, MASSIVE INDUSTRY, WITH A LOT OF MARKETING BEHIND IT. SO, I BREAK DOWN THE GLUTEN-FREE STORY THIS WAY. UM, IS THERE ANY SOLID EVIDENCE THAT YOU NEED TO GO GLUTEN-FREE FOR YOUR HEALTH, IF YOU DON'T HAVE AN IDENTIFIED CLINICAL PROBLEM, LIKE CELIAC DISEASE, RIGHT? OR SOME KIND OF SPECIFIC SENSITIVITY. DO YOU NEED TO GO GLUTEN-FREE FOR YOUR HEALTH? THE ANSWER IS NO. THERE'S NO SOLID EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THAT, THAT IT'S GOING TO MAKE YOU HEALTHIER. NOW, THE REAL REASON MOST PEOPLE GO GLUTEN-FREE, AND THERE'S A LITTLE BIT OF DATA TO BACK THIS UP, IS FOR WEIGHT LOSS PURPOSES. IS THERE ANY EVIDENCE THAT GOING GLUTEN-FREE IS A GOOD WEIGHT LOSS STRATEGY? AGAIN, THE ANSWER IS NO. AND, IN FACT, THERE HAS BEEN SOME STUDIES ON THIS... THEY'RE NOT GREAT STUDIES, BUT STUDIES THAT SHOW THAT GOING GLUTEN-FREE IS NOT A GOOD WEIGHT-LOSS STRATEGY. IN FACT, A LOT OF GLUTEN-FREE FOODS ARE HIGH IN FAT, YOU KNOW, THEY'RE NOT EXACTLY THE HEALTHIEST OPTIONS OUT THERE. SO, IS IT A GOOD WEIGHT LOSS STRATEGY? NO. THERE'S CONTROVERSY AROUND THIS IDEA OF NON-CELIAC GLUTEN SENSITIVITY THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE... YOU KNOW, A LOT OF PEOPLE CLAIM THEY HAVE A SENSITIVITY TO THIS. I THINK THE EVIDENCE IS STILL EMERGING ON THIS, BUT IT CERTAINLY IS NOT 30-40 PERCENT OF THE POPULATION WHICH, BY THE WAY, IS CURRENTLY TRYING TO AVOID WHEAT. IT MAY BE, LIKE, 1-3 PERCENT, IF THAT MUCH, THAT ACTUALLY HAS THIS SENSITIVITY THAT WE STILL NEED TO EXPLORE.

Timothy says RIGHT, 'CAUSE, YOU KNOW, MY FRIENDS, OTHER PEOPLE, MYSELF, SAY, "YOU KNOW, WHEN I EAT BREAD, "I FEEL REALLY BLOATED, IT MAKES ME FEEL TERRIBLE. "I SHOULD STOP EATING WHEAT, WHEAT IS THE CULPRIT. YOU'RE SAYING, "NUH-UH."

Timothy says LOOK, THERE... I DO THINK WE NEED MORE RESEARCH ON THIS BECAUSE IT HAS BECOME SUCH A HUGE PHENOMENON, BUT THE EVIDENCE RIGHT NOW IS NOT VERY STRONG THAT THERE'S THIS IDEA THAT THERE'S SOMETHING EVIL ABOUT WHEAT. ON THE CONTRARY, THERE'S EVIDENCE THAT WHOLE GRAINS ARE VERY, VERY HEALTHY FOR YOU, AND THE MOST... THE ONE DIET THAT HAS GOOD CLINICAL DATA BEHIND IT - THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET - RECOMMENDS, YOU KNOW, AS PART OF THAT, WHOLE GRAINS. SO, IS THERE SOMETHING MAGICAL ABOUT, YOU KNOW, AVOIDING WHEAT? NO. IS WHEAT, IN A PROPER... IN ITS NON-PROCESSED, YOU KNOW, IS IT GOOD FOR YOU, ARE WHOLE GRAINS GOOD FOR YOU? YES.

Piya says IT DOES SEEM TO HAVE THESE TRENDS THOUGH, RIGHT? LIKE, YOU KNOW, I DON'T KNOW, TEN YEARS AGO, WE WEREN'T EATING CARBS, AND THEN... AND NOW, YOU KNOW... AND NOW IT'S WHEAT AND GLUTEN-FREE. IT SEEMS LIKE EVERYONE SORTA COMES TOGETHER IN THIS ZEITGEIST OF OUR TIMES AND SAYS, "RIGHT NOW, THIS IS BAD FOR YOU." LIKE, IT'S NOT LIKE ONE PERSON, IT'S LIKE A WHOLE BUNCH OF THEM TOGETHER.

Timothy says YEAH, YOU'RE SO RIGHT, AND I'M ALWAYS FASCINATED, LIKE, IF YOU LOOK THROUGH THE HISTORY OF DIETS AND THE HISTORY OF THESE KIND OF HEALTH TRENDS, THEY'RE ALWAYS WRONG. SO, I'M ALWAYS AMAZED THAT, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE CAN'T REFLECT ON THAT. LIKE, NAME A TIME IN HUMAN HISTORY WHEN THERE WAS SOME KIND OF DIET FAD, YOU KNOW, THAT TURNED OUT, "YOU KNOW WHAT? THIS IS RIGHT," AND WE'RE STILL DOING IT. IT JUST DOESN'T HAPPEN. THESE TRENDS ALWAYS... AND HUMANS ARE INCREDIBLY RESILIENT. THEY SEEM TO BE ABLE TO EAT A WHOLE BUNCH OF DIFFERENT KINDS OF DIETS AND THRIVE. I MEAN, LOOK AROUND THE WORLD, RIGHT? GLUTEN-FREE IS VERY MUCH A DEVELOPED COUNTRY KIND OF PERSPECTIVE. AND EVEN SOME OF THOSE... YOU KNOW, I THINK THEY BUILD ON THESE... A LOT OF THESE MYTHS AROUND FOOD PRODUCTION, AND I THINK IT ALSO HAS TO DO WITH A LACK OF TRUST WITH SCIENCE, RIGHT? THAT'S STARTING TO BREAK DOWN A LITTLE BIT. AND SO, YOU KNOW, WHO DO WE TRUST? DO WE TRUST THIS VOICE? DO WE TRUST THAT VOICE? SO, I THINK THAT THAT IS A LESSON THAT UNIVERSITIES NEED TO THINK ABOUT, THAT GOVERNMENTS NEED TO THINK ABOUT - YOU KNOW, GETTING TRUST BACK IN INDEPENDENT SCIENCE. AND SO, THAT'S THE OTHER THING I OFTEN RECOMMEND TO THE PUBLIC IS THAT THEY SHOULD LOOK FOR INDEPENDENT SOURCES OF HEALTH INFORMATION AND A SOURCE THAT THEY REALLY THINK THEY CAN TRUST.

Piya says OKAY. SO, A LOT OF PEOPLE DO THESE CLEANSES, DETOXES, DIETS, WHATEVER, TO LOSE WEIGHT, TO LOOK BETTER, AND I WANTED KIND OF TO SWITCH GEARS JUST A BIT BECAUSE I WANNA TALK ABOUT ANTI-AGEING, WHICH IS ALSO A BIG THING THAT WE'RE ALL TRYING TO DO. I HAVE NO IDEA HOW OLD YOU ARE BUT YOU WENT, YOU TRIED SOME ANTI-AGEING BEAUTY PRODUCTS.

Timothy says I DID!

The caption changes to "The beauty myth."

Piya says DID IT WORK? LIKE, IS THIS THE MAGIC? IS THIS THE AFTER-YOU?

Timothy says WELL, I'M GLOWING, AREN'T I? I'M GLOWING, RIGHT? SO, I DID TRY A WHOLE BUNCH OF DIFFERENT PRODUCTS AND, AGAIN, I DUG INTO THE RESEARCH AS MUCH AS I COULD. I INTERVIEWED EXPERTS ALL OVER... ALL OVER THE WORLD. AND ANTI-AGEING, AGAIN, BILLION, MASSIVE, MASSIVE INDUSTRY, ONE THAT'S GROWING AS THE POPULATION GROWS.

Piya says RIGHT, AS WE AGE.

Timothy says AS WE AGE. WE WANNA AVOID THIS WHOLE THING FROM HAPPENING. UM, SO, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I WAS ABSOLUTELY ASTOUNDED ABOUT, WRITING THE BOOK, UM, THIS WAS ONE OF BIGGEST SURPRISES, 'CAUSE I LIKE TO THINK I'M GOOD AT DIGGING UP EVIDENCE... IT'S WHAT I'VE BEEN DOING FOR DECADES... UM, IS THE COMPLETE LACK OF EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT SO MANY OF THESE ANTI-AGEING PRODUCTS, PARTICULARLY THE ONES THAT COME OVER THE COUNTER. I THINK PEOPLE SHOULD ASSUME THEY DON'T WORK 'CAUSE THAT REALLY IS, YOU KNOW, WHAT I FOUND. UM, THERE ARE CERTAINLY CERTAIN BEHAVIOURS THAT WE CAN DO THAT HELP AND WE CAN TALK ABOUT THOSE. BUT ALL THE GIMMICKS, WHETHER YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT, YOU KNOW, BIRD POO, WHICH A LOT OF CELEBRITIES...

Piya says WHAT'D YOU PUT ON YOU?

Timothy says SO, I WENT TO A DERMATOLOGIST FRIEND OF MINE, WHO I RESPECT, UH, AND HE'S AN ACADEMIC DERMATOLOGIST. AND I SAID, "LOOK, IF I WAS GONNA BE A CELEBRITY, YOU KNOW, "AND I WANTED TAKE CARE OF MY FACE, WHAT WOULD I USE?" SO, HE GAVE ME A WHOLE... I CAN'T EVEN REMEMBER ALL OF THEM RIGHT NOW. I HAD A LITTLE... I HAD A BEDTIME ROUTINE AND I HAD A MORNING ROUTINE.

Piya says A REGIME, A REGIMEN.

Timothy says YEAH, YEAH. A REGIMEN, YEAH, AND I WOULD, YOU KNOW, PUT IT ALL, AND IT TAKES TIME! THAT'S THE OTHER INTERESTING THING. IT'S NOT ONLY AN INVESTMENT OF MONEY, IT'S AN INVESTMENT OF TIME. AND SO, I DID THAT AND I HAD A BEFORE-AND-AFTER SCAN OF MY SKIN DONE, AND, UM, I USED DIFFERENT DERMATOLOGISTS. AND SO, THEY DIDN'T... THE LATTER DIDN'T KNOW THAT I HAD DONE THIS FOR A WHOLE YEAR. AND KEEP IN MIND, BEFORE THIS, I DID NOTHING BUT CHEAP SOAP, LIKE, NOTHING, FOR MY WHOLE LIFE.

Piya says YEAH.

Timothy says SO, YOU KNOW, WAS THERE A DIFFERENCE? YOU CAN PROBABLY GUESS THE ANSWER, RIGHT? SO, IT'S ASTOUNDING HOW LITTLE EVIDENCE THERE IS TO SUPPORT THIS. BUT THERE ARE THINGS THAT WE CAN DO.

Piya says LIKE?

Timothy says UM, OBVIOUS, BUT WORTH STATING AGAIN, DON'T SMOKE. MY GOD, YOU KNOW, IT'S INCREDIBLE HOW YOU HAVE THESE CELEBRITIES WHO ARE ENDORSING ALL THESE ANTI-AGEING PRODUCTS AND THEY SMOKE! IT'S LIKE, ARE YOU KIDDING ME? THIS IS LIKE ONE OF THE WORST THINGS YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR SKIN. STAY OUT OF THE SUN. I'M BAD ABOUT THAT.

Piya says ME, TOO.

Timothy says STAY OUT OF THE SUN. SUNSCREEN. UH, AND, YOU KNOW, THE OTHER ONE IS SLEEP. YOU KNOW, THERE'S ACTUAL EVIDENCE THAT SLEEP HELPS YOUR APPEARANCE, HELPS YOUR SKIN, AND I THINK THAT THAT EVIDENCE SEEMS TO BE GROWING. AND THE OTHER ONE, THERE'S A LITTLE BIT OF DATA OUT OF CANADA, ACTUALLY, THAT EXERCISE HELPS YOUR SKIN. AND ACTUALLY, YOU KNOW, IT'S PRELIMINARY DATA, IT'S NOT A HUGE STUDY, BUT THEY DID DO BIOPSIES AND THEY FOUND THAT EXERCISE CAN ACTUALLY KINDA REVERSE THE PROCESS, MAKE YOUR SKIN YOUNGER. SO, THERE'S GOOD NEWS OUT THERE. AND PROBABLY NUTRITION AS ANOTHER...

Piya says RIGHT. SO, WE'RE ALWAYS GOING BACK TO...

Timothy says THE BASIC STUFF, YEAH!

Piya says TRIED AND TRUE TROPES, RIGHT? EAT WELL, STAY OUT OF THE SUN, DON'T SMOKE AND EXERCISE - GOOD FOR ALL THINGS. OKAY. THESE ANTI-AGEING THINGS OFTEN, LIKE, YOU KNOW, THEY SHOW US THEIR FANCY LABS OR WHATEVER, AND THEY'RE LIKE, "THERE'S SCIENCE BEHIND THIS, THIS SOLUTION THAT I'M PRESENTING." I MEAN, IS THERE ANY SCIENCE BEHIND THIS STUFF?

Timothy says SO, YOU KNOW, THIS IS ALSO... YOU KNOW, EXCELLENT POINT 'CAUSE I THINK YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT ABOUT THAT. THEY TRY TO MAKE IT SOUND SCIENCE-Y, YOU KNOW, THEY ALWAYS USE KINDA SCIENCE-Y TERMS.

Piya says HARD WORDS THAT I CAN'T PRONOUNCE, YEAH.

Timothy says "REJUVENATE" AND, YOU KNOW, "REVITALIZE," AND THEY HAVE ALL THIS LANGUAGE THAT THEY ALWAYS ASSOCIATE WITH THEIR PRODUCTS, AND I CALL IT "SCIENCE-SPLOITATION." YOU KNOW? ANOTHER GOOD EXAMPLE IS THEY USE, LIKE, GENETIC TERMS AND "STEM CELLS."

Piya says THAT'S THE THING, THEY ALWAYS HAVE THESE WORDS THAT SOUND SCIENTIFIC TO ME. I REALLY CAN'T PRONOUNCE MOST OF THEM.

Timothy says I THINK WHAT'S HAPPENING THERE IS THEY'RE TRYING TO LEVERAGE, YOU KNOW, THE GENUINE SCIENCE TO MAKE IT SEEM LIKE THIS IS, YOU KNOW, A SCIENTIFIC PRODUCT. OR THERE IS REAL SCIENCE FOR SOMETHING THAT YOU CAN GET CLINICALLY, YOU KNOW, PRESCRIPTION STRENGTH, AND THEY USE THE SAME LANGUAGE ASSOCIATED WITH THE PRESCRIPTION STRENGTH FOR THE OVER-THE-COUNTER TO SUGGEST THAT THE OVER-THE-COUNTER HAS THE SAME, YOU KNOW, IMPACT AS THE... AND THAT'S NOT THE CASE.

The caption changes to "Fame and/or well-being?"

Piya says BUT A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE SITTING THERE GOING, "EH, WHY THE HECK IS THE AGENDA TALKING ABOUT THIS... "CRAP?" BASICALLY. I DON'T WATCH CELEBRITIES, I DON'T CARE WHAT THEY SAY. THEY DON'T INFLUENCE ME IN MY DECISIONS THAT I MAKE." YOU MAKE THE ARGUMENT THAT IT DOES.

Timothy says YEAH, I THINK IT ABSOLUTELY DOES. AND I HEAR THIS... AS YOU CAN IMAGINE, AFTER WRITING THE BOOK, I HEAR THIS ALL TIME. "OH," YOU KNOW, "ENTERTAINING STUFF, BUT THEY DON'T INFLUENCE ME." ON THE CONTRARY, THERE'S FASCINATING STUDIES THAT SHOW THAT CELEBRITY CULTURE HAS AN IMPACT ON ALL OF US. UM, THERE IS EVEN SUGGESTIONS THAT WE'RE EVOLUTIONARILY PRE-DISPOSED... AND ALL THIS IS SPECULATION...

Nam continues IT'S HARD TO STUDY THIS,

Timothy says RIGHT... BUT EVOLUTIONARILY PRE-DISPOSED TO FOLLOW CELEBRITIES. YOU KNOW, WE'VE BEEN HARD-WIRED TO LOOK UP TO PEOPLE WITH PRESTIGE BECAUSE THAT WAS AN EVOLUTIONARY ADVANTAGE. YOU MAY BE LEARN QUICKLY FROM THEM, RIGHT? YOU KNOW, HUNTING SKILLS OR WHATEVER. AND THAT, WE HAVE REMNANTS OF THAT WITH US STILL. YOU KNOW, LOTS OF, UH, EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGISTS HAVE SUGGESTED THAT WE LOVE GOSSIP, WE LOVE KNOWING ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE, WE'RE WIRED TO DO THAT, AND THAT'S ONE OF THE REASONS WE HAVE COMMUNITIES, SO THAT REMNANT'S WITH US. AND THERE'S ALSO THIS PHENOMENON, IT'S CALLED SOCIAL COMPARISON. YOU KNOW, THAT WE ARE PREDISPOSED TO COMPARE OURSELVES TO OTHERS. AND IF YOU THINK FOR MOST OF HUMAN HISTORY, WE COMPARED OURSELVES TO PEOPLE IN OUR VILLAGE. WHEN WE SAW A HUMAN BEING, AN IMAGE OF A HUMAN BEING, THEY WERE REAL, RIGHT? OR A CRUDE DRAWING. FAST-FORWARD TO NOW, OUR SOCIAL COMPARATORS ARE CELEBRITIES, RIGHT? THEY'RE CELEBRITIES, AND WE'RE BOMBARDED BY THOSE IMAGES, AND WE CAN'T HELP BUT HAVE THOSE IMAGES INFLUENCE HOW WE THINK ABOUT OURSELVES AND THINK ABOUT OTHERS, AND THERE'S LOTS OF EVIDENCE, RESEARCH, THAT SUGGESTS THAT'S TRUE. SO, EVEN IF YOU DON'T THINK CELEBRITY CULTURE IS HAVING AN IMPACT ON YOU AND YOUR LIFE, IT IS.

Piya says ALMOST EVERYONE YOU ASK, YOU KNOW... WELL, NOT EVERYONE, BUT MOST PEOPLE, YOU SAY, "YOU WANT TO BE FAMOUS?" "SURE." PEOPLE HAVE THIS DESIRE TO BE FAMOUS. THERE ARE A NUMBER OF WAYS TO BECOME FAMOUS. BUT WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE WORLD, WHAT KIND OF FIELDS DO PEOPLE WANT TO BE FAMOUS IN? BECAUSE YOU'VE LOOKED AT THIS STUFF.

The caption changes to "Cult of celebrity. Reach for the stars."

Timothy says I HAVE. AND IT'S INCREDIBLE THE SHIFT THAT HAS OCCURRED OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF DECADES, YOU KNOW, THIS DESIRE TO BE FAMOUS. SO, THERE'S BEEN A BUNCH OF SURVEYS AND QUALITATIVE STUDIES THAT THEY HAVE DONE. AND IN THE PAST, IF YOU ASK... JUST TO USE ONE EXAMPLE, ONE STUDY AS AN EXAMPLE, IF YOU ASK KIDS WHAT THEY WANTED TO BE WHEN THEY GROW UP, THEY WOULD SAY, YOU KNOW, ASTRONAUT, PHYSICIAN, VET WAS REALLY POPULAR, THOSE KINDS OF THINGS. RIGHT? ASK THEM TODAY. AND AGAIN, A LOT OF STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THIS. THEY WANT TO BE EITHER JUST A CELEBRITY. THEY SAY THAT WITHOUT ANY KIND OF CONTENT ATTACHED TO IT OR SINGER, SPORTS STAR OR ACTOR. RIGHT? SO, THOSE ARE THE CELEBRITY... THEY'RE VIEWED AS THE CELEBRITY PROFESSIONS AND WHAT EVERYONE WANTS TO BE. DANCER'S IN THERE, TOO, BUT I THINK THAT'S CAUGHT BY SOME OF THE OTHER ONES. BUT THAT'S WHAT THE KIDS WANT TO BE, THE VAST MAJORITY.

Piya says AND WHAT'S THE SHIFT? BECAUSE, A GENERATION AGO... I MEAN, WE'VE ALWAYS BEEN LIKE, "OH, I WANT TO BE, YOU KNOW, THAT BASEBALL PLAYER. I'D LIKE TO BE ABLE TO PLAY BALL LIKE HIM." BUT AS YOU SAY, THERE SEEMS TO BE THIS THIS REAL SHIFT TO, "I DON'T EVEN WANT TO BE AN ASTRONAUT OR A VET. "I WANT TO BE, YOU KNOW, CELEBRITY A, B OR C."

Timothy says YEAH. YOU KNOW, THE FUNNY THING IS THE OTHER ONE THAT'S STILL ON THE LIST IS LAWYER, WHICH IS HILARIOUS BECAUSE I KNOW FOR SURE THEY'RE NOT THINKING REAL LAWYER, RIGHT? THEY'RE THINKING, YOU KNOW, THE GOOD WIFE, THEY'RE THINKING THAT KIND OF SHOW.

Piya says THE CELEBRITY LAWYER, RIGHT.

Timothy says THE GORGEOUS LAWYERS THAT HAVE FUN ALL DAY LONG. SO, WHAT CAUSED THE SHIFT? YOU KNOW, OBVIOUSLY, AGAIN, VERY COMPLICATED, COMPLEX SOCIAL PHENOMENON. AND IF YOU LOOK AT SOME REALLY INTERESTING STUDIES THAT LOOK AT HOW MEDIA AND CELEBRITY PLAY INTO THIS, SO ONE THING THAT HAS CHANGED IS THE VALUE OF CELEBRITY IN OUR SOCIETY HAS INCREASED. RIGHT? SO, THERE'S INTERESTING SORT OF DATA ANALYSIS THAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT JUST WORDS IN POPULAR CULTURE, AND WORDS THAT ARE ASSOCIATED WITH BECOMING FAMOUS HAVE REALLY INCREASED OVER THE PAST COUPLE OF DECADES. YOU KNOW, REALLY FASCINATING, FASCINATING WORK. IN ADDITION TO THAT, I THINK THAT BECOMING FAMOUS AND BEING CELEBRITY IS PART OF... VIEWED AS BEING A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF THE AMERICAN DREAM. IT'S A TOOL FOR SOCIAL MOBILITY, RIGHT? AND AGAIN, THIS IS A COMPLETE ILLUSION, IF YOU LOOK AT WHAT THE DATA ACTUALLY SAYS ABOUT YOUR CHANCE OF SOCIAL MOBILITY MORE BROADLY... BUT WE CAN TALK ABOUT THIS LATER, ABOUT YOUR ACTUAL CHANCES OF BECOMING A CELEBRITY. SO, I THINK THAT'S AN IMPORTANT PART OF IT. ANOTHER BIG ELEMENT WHY PEOPLE WANT TO BE FAMOUS NOW IS BECOMING FAMOUS HAS BECOME A MARKET, YOU KNOW, CREATING AN INDUSTRY AROUND, SUPPORTING PEOPLE'S DESIRE TO BECOME FAMOUS, WHETHER IT'S IN THE CONTEXT OF SPORTS, WHETHER DANCE LESSONS, ET CETERA, ET CETERA, MODELLING CONTESTS. AS YOU KNOW, IN THE BOOK, I WENT TO ONE. ALL OF THAT IS ALSO BUILDING IT. AND ALL OF THESE INDUSTRIES BENEFIT FROM THE BELIEF THAT THIS IS A GOOD IDEA, THAT IT'S AN ATTAINABLE IDEA, AND THAT WE SHOULD ALL BE DOING IT. SO, THE BENEFIT FROM THAT, THAT MYTH, SO ON AND ON IT GOES. IT'S AN INDUSTRY KIND OF FEEDS ON ITSELF, A MYTH THAT FEEDS ON ITSELF, AND IT'S JUST GROWING AND GROWING AND IT SEEMS TO BE INCREASING. NOW, I COULD GO ON, BUT THE OTHER IMPORTANT THING, I THINK THAT'S HAPPENING NOW IS SOCIAL MEDIA. SOCIAL MEDIA HAS ALSO ADDED TO THIS AND THIS IDEA THAT SOMEHOW PEOPLE CAN PROJECT THEMSELVES INTO THE WORLD VERY EASILY NOW, VERY QUICKLY NOW. WE COULD DO IT RIGHT NOW, RIGHT? AND SO, I THINK THAT ALSO CREATES THIS ILLUSION THAT YOU CAN BECOME FAMOUS AND THAT YOU CAN LEVERAGE THIS THIS FAME TO MORE HAPPINESS.

Piya says AND I SUPPOSE THERE'S ALSO... YOU KNOW, BEFORE WHEN YOU WERE... SAY, YOU WERE FAMOUS FOR BEING A SINGER, YOU WERE FAMOUS FOR BEING A SINGER. NOW, YOU CAN ADD TO THAT, YOU CAN MARKET YOUR OWN PERFUME SO YOU CAN BECOME A PERFUMER. YOU KNOW, YOU CAN SELL DIETS. YOU CAN ALSO DO SOCIAL GOOD, YOU KNOW, GO WORK AT THE UN OR ALL THOSE THINGS. SO, YOUR REALM OF CELEBRITY HAS EXPANDED SOMEWHAT NOWADAYS, AS WELL.

Timothy says YEAH, FOR SURE. AND THEN, IT'S PUSHING IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION, TOO, WHERE YOU HAVE... YOU KNOW, THE NAME I HEARD EVERY DAY FOR THE THREE YEARS THAT I WAS WORKING ON THIS BOOK? KIM KARDASHIAN, RIGHT? BECAUSE I THINK PEOPLE VIEW KIM KARDASHIAN AS SORT OF THE ARCHETYPE FAMOUS PERSON NOW BECAUSE SHE'S FAMOUS FOR NOTHING. I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT SHE DOES, RIGHT? OTHER THAN, YOU KNOW, MARRIED TO KANYE WEST AND SHE HAS, YOU KNOW, REALITY STATUS, REALITY SHOW STATUS. BUT THAT'S THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY, THAT PEOPLE THINK THAT YOU COULD BECOME FAMOUS FOR DOING ALMOST NOTHING, RIGHT? SO, IT SEEMS MORE OBTAINABLE, RIGHT?

Piya says RIGHT, LIKE, AN AVERAGE PERSON BECAME FAMOUS.

Timothy says I THINK THAT'S A REALLY IMPORTANT POINT. IN THE PAST, YOU KNOW, YOU THINK OF GRACE KELLY, IT WAS ALMOST LIKE THEY WERE ROYALTY, RIGHT? AN OTHER, RIGHT? THESE FAMOUS PEOPLE WERE BEYOND US OR DIFFERENT FROM US. AND PEOPLE LIKE KIM KARDASHIAN AND SOCIAL MEDIA, AND YOUTUBE AND THE YOUTUBER ALL MAKE IT SEEM VERY CLOSE, VERY CLOSE AND VERY OBTAINABLE, WHICH IS A COMPLETE ILLUSION, BY THE WAY. AND PEOPLE LIKE KIM KARDASHIAN KIND OF MOVE THAT FORWARD. AND THEN, YOU'RE RIGHT, ONCE THEY OBTAIN FAME, THEY USE THAT FAME TO CREATE A BRAND AND AN IMAGE AROUND THEM THAT, ALSO, IS MORE THAN IT USED TO BE IN THE PAST.

Piya says YOU KNOW, I SHOULDN'T CALL KIM KARDASHIAN AVERAGE BECAUSE SHE CAME FROM MONEY. SHE'S NOT LIKE... SHE DIDN'T BUILD THE AMERICAN DREAM. ANYWAY, OKAY, ENOUGH ABOUT KIM CREDIT FOR NOW. I WANT YOU TO TELL US ABOUT THE MODELLING CONTEST THAT YOU WENT TO, TELL US ABOUT THAT.

Timothy says SO, I DID TWO MODELLING CONTEST THINGS. I DID ONE WHICH BUILDS ON EXACTLY WHAT WE WERE JUST TALKING ABOUT. I SIGNED UP FOR THIS COMPANY WHERE... AND THERE'S SO MANY OF THEM. SO, IF YOU GOOGLE, "I WANT TO BE AN ACTOR, I WANT TO BE A MODEL," YOU'LL GET ALL THESE WEBSITES THAT LOOK VERY, VERY LEGITIMATE... AND THEY ARE, IN A SENSE, LEGITIMATE... THAT OFFER THEIR SERVICES TO YOU. SO, I SIGNED UP, WHICH IS HILARIOUS, RIGHT? AND THEY SAID, "OH, YEAH, "YOU SHOULD COME DOWN FOR AN ASSESSMENT," AND SO I DID THAT, AND IT WAS BOTH HILARIOUS AND HEART-BREAKING BECAUSE WHEN YOU GO TO THE WAITING ROOM, WAITING TO GO INTO THIS... TO HAVE YOUR ASSESSMENT, THERE ARE ALL THESE KIDS THERE WITH THEIR PARENTS AND YOU CAN SEE THEY'RE ALL PRIMPING AND GETTING READY. AND, YOU KNOW, I KNEW IT WAS A SCAM. I KNEW IT WAS JUST, YOU KNOW... THE CHANCE OF THIS COMPANY ACTUALLY HELPING YOU BECOME A STAR ON THE DISNEY CHANNEL ARE INCREDIBLY SMALL. BUT THE FASCINATING THING IS, WHEN I ACTUALLY WENT IN FOR MY ASSESSMENT, ALL OF A SUDDEN, IT BECAME AN AUDITION RIGHT THERE. I THINK THEY WERE BEING CAREFUL IN THEIR LANGUAGE. AND OF COURSE, I NEEDED NEW HEADSHOTS, EVEN THOUGH I HAD HEADSHOTS FROM MY BOOK WORK. THEY... CLEARLY, IT WAS A MONEYMAKING PHENOMENON, AND THE CHANCES OF THIS KIND OF INDUSTRY ACTUALLY HELPING YOU ARE VERY SMALL. THE OTHER THING I DID IS I WENT TO WHAT IS THE BEST KNOWN IMTA MODELLING CONTEST IN NEW YORK, AND AGAIN, SAME THING... PEOPLE PAY THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS TO PARTICIPATE IN THESE MODELLING CONTESTS IN THE BELIEF THAT IT'S GOING TO VAULT THEM TO FAME. AND, YES, THEY WERE VERY BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE ALL OVER THE PLACE. BUT, YOU KNOW, IT WAS THE DESPERATION OF THESE FAMILIES, YOU KNOW, SOME USED WEBSITES TO RAISE MONEY TO GO THERE, THEY BORROWED MONEY FROM THEIR FRIENDS AND FAMILIES, THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS. AND DID IT REALLY HELP ANY OF THEM? YOU KNOW, THE CHANCE IS VERY SMALL.

Piya says BUT I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO ASK YOU ABOUT THIS, TO MAKE THE POINT THAT THIS IS NOT, LIKE... WE'RE NOT JUST... THEY'RE NOT ALL JUST DUMB PEOPLE OR POOR PEOPLE. THESE ARE PEOPLE FROM A CROSS-SECTION OF SOCIETY.

Timothy says ABSOLUTELY, YEAH. YEAH, FOR SURE. I SAW PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD. SAW CANADIANS DOWN THERE. SOME VERY, VERY EDUCATED, SOME NOT SO EDUCATED. I THINK... HEY, LOOK, AND I WANTED TO BE A ROCK STAR WHEN I WAS GROWING UP. SO, THAT'S ONE OF THE REASONS I WANTED TO WRITE THE BOOK, BECAUSE I COULD REALLY RELATE TO THIS DESIRE, RIGHT? THIS DESIRE FOR ADVENTURE. I DON'T THINK IT'S JUST FAME. IT'S ADVENTURE AND EXCITEMENT AND GLAMOUR, ALL THESE THINGS THAT COME WITH THIS ILLUSION OF FAME, THIS ILLUSION OF CELEBRITY, AND EVEN, YOU KNOW, THE WEALTH, OF COURSE, AND THE LIFESTYLE, I THINK THAT'S ALL PART OF IT AND PEOPLE DESIRE THAT. SO, YEAH, FOR SURE, IT CUTS ACROSS THE SOCIAL... SOCIOECONOMIC STRATA.

Piya says AND SO, GIVEN THAT IT'S SUCH A UNIVERSAL PHENOMENON - IF I CAN CALL IT THAT - AND YES, WE TALKED ABOUT SOME OF THE EVOLUTIONARY WAYS THAT THINGS LIKE BEING PRETTY OR LIKING ATTRACTIVE PEOPLE HAVE EVOLVED, WHERE DOES THIS IMPULSE TO BE FAMOUS COME FROM? IS IT SIMPLY CULTURAL OR IS THERE SOMEWHERE ELSE WE CAN LOOK TO?

Timothy says WELL, I DO THINK THAT THERE IS THIS EVOLUTIONARY DESIRE TO WANT TO BE BETTER, YOU KNOW, TO ALWAYS SORT OF ADVANCE. BUT I THINK THAT, RIGHT NOW, THIS DESIRE IS ALMOST ENTIRELY CULTURAL, RIGHT? AND ALL... I HAVE THIS THEORY I HAVE AT THE END OF THE BOOK... AND IT'S REALLY HARD TO GET HARD NUMBERS ON THIS. I ADMIT UP FRONT THAT THIS IS CORRELATION DATA AND ASSOCIATION DATA. BUT IF YOU LOOK AT THE COUNTRIES THAT HAVE THE LOWEST AMOUNT OF SOCIAL MOBILITY... RIGHT, THE UNITED STATES... SOCIAL MOBILITY ALMOST DOES NOT EXIST IN THE UNITED STATES. IT'S REALLY SAD, RIGHT? WHICH IS IRONIC BECAUSE THAT'S THE HOME OF THE AMERICAN DREAM, RIGHT? YOU HAVE ALMOST NO SOCIAL MOBILITY. UK, ALSO VERY, VERY LOW SOCIAL MOBILITY. YOU HAVE THESE COUNTRIES, THOSE SEEM TO BE THE COUNTRIES THAT HAVE THE HIGHEST INTEREST IN CELEBRITY. RIGHT, YOU THINK ABOUT THOSE TWO COUNTRIES, JUST ONE EXAMPLE... YES, THE END IN MY ANALYSIS IS VERY SMALL, BUT IT'S SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT. THEN, YOU LOOK AT COUNTRIES WITH VERY HIGH SOCIAL MOBILITY... PLACES LIKE DENMARK AND NORWAY AND SWEDEN AND ICELAND... WHERE THEY DON'T HAVE THE SAME AMOUNT OF FASCINATION WITH CELEBRITY. AND I ACTUALLY HAVE A PERSONAL ANECDOTE... AFTER I WROTE THE BOOK, I WAS GIVING A TALK IN REYKJAVIK IN ICELAND, AND I WENT TO A VERY SMALL RESTAURANT WITH THE HOST FOR THE LECTURE. AND WHO'S THE MOST FAMOUS ICELANDIC PERSON YOU CAN...

Piya says BJORK.

Timothy says BJORK. WHO'S SITTING BEHIND ME, RIGHT NEXT TO ME? BJORK.

Piya says NO.

Timothy says BJORK, RIGHT. AND MY HOST SAYS, YOU KNOW, ARE YOU A FAN OF BJORK? I SAID, "A HUGE FAN! I LOVE HER, I LOVE HER." "WELL, SHE'S SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO YOU." AND IF SHE WAS IN NEW YORK CITY, SHE PROBABLY COULDN'T WALK DOWN THE STREET. IF SHE WAS IN LONDON, SHE PROBABLY COULD WALK DOWN THE STREET. AND MY HOST SAID, IN ICELAND, WE DON'T TREAT CELEBRITIES AS ANY DIFFERENT AND SHE WAS NOT TREATED ANY DIFFERENT. I SAW HER, YOU KNOW, SHE'S SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO ME, WHICH IS A FASCINATING CONTRAST, RIGHT? FASCINATING CONTRAST. SO, I DO THINK THAT THAT IN PLACES LIKE THE UNITED STATES, AND TO A LESSER DEGREE, CANADA AND THE UK, THIS IS SUCH A HUGE PART OF OUR PERCEPTION OF HOW SOCIAL MOBILITY SHOULD PLAY OUT, THIS AMERICAN DREAM, THIS IDEA THAT WE SHOULD STRIVE FOR THIS FAME AND FORTUNE. "BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, NEVER GIVE UP, REACH FOR THE STARS" ALL THIS KIND OF LANGUAGE HAS BECOME EMBEDDED IN OUR CULTURE.

The clip ends.

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She says AND THAT'S IT FOR TONIGHT'S AGENDA IN THE SUMMER. THE NOTION OF RACE IS WIDELY DISCUSSED, BUT TOMORROW, A CONVERSATION WITH ANGELA SAINI ABOUT WHY RACE, AS SUCH, DOESN'T EXIST. I'M NAM KIWANUKA. THANKS FOR WATCHING TVO AND FOR JOINING US ONLINE AT TVO.ORG, AND WE'LL SEE YOU AGAIN TOMORROW.

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