Nepotism: Is it Killing Literature?

brooklyn beckham

Recently there has been a huge furore about David Beckham’s son being given a book deal, which saw him showcase his poorly taken, often out of focus photographs, alongside lame captions designed to be witty one liners but coming off as smug social media snippets. I have been watching this row in fascination, finding it hilarious that so many people are missing the reason behind Brooklyn Beckham’s book deal; that nepotism is at the heart of it, and that it will always remain in every faction of the arts, no matter what we say.

The Beckham’s are famed for sliding themselves into industries where they don’t fit with varying degrees of success; from David’s stilted cameo in Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur to Victoria’s successful fashion empire, the power couple and their offspring have used their fame to worm their way into markets where others have had to strive and sacrifice to survive. Frankly, they are not the only ones. Everywhere you look there is someone getting their child into their industry on the merit of their name alone, or sliding into a new space with no talent, training or knowledge simply on the strength of their fame in another market. Models and sports stars, whose careers are notoriously short, often move into other spaces, and writing, alongside acting, is one of the most common thanks to the idiotic notion many have that both are easy.

This causes issues for those who have actually grafted to get where they are today, and resent being usurped by the untrained and often untalented. Brooklyn’s book attracted the ire of writers and photographers alike, with both factions arguing that his book deal highlighted the lack of respect for those who actually work for their success. Whilst this is, in part true, in reality the issue is society’s appreciation of celebrity, and the increasingly corporate nature of the creative arts. Whilst many were quick to pan What I See and mock Brooklyn’s poor attempts at both photography and writing, there were many who bought the book simply because of his second name.

Anyone who has tried to get a book published will be particularly wrangled by Brooklyn’s easy access to a high value deal- it can be almost impossible for even brilliant writers to get their work out there, resulting in many turning to alternative platforms such as Kindle or self publishing. With this in mind, it can be tough to reconcile the notion that Brooklyn got a deal based on the success of his parents, however the subsequent outcry from both reviewers and the general public proves that we still have good taste when it comes to both writing and photographs, and are not willing to settle for anything less than the best of either.

Fundamentally, nepotism is always going to exist throughout the arts, and I doubt that we will ever be rid of it. As such, the best way to handle the issue is simply to support those who are genuinely grafting to create legitimate, exquisite art, drawing on their skills and expertise, rather than on the accomplishments of their families. There are many great authors out there and we need to be buying their books, listening to their readings and watching their shows.

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