ANY lingering doubts that we are living in a society obsessed with the “celebrity culture” were finally sunk with the publication in a Sunday tabloid of a “world exclusive” photo of the bed on which Michael Jackson died. God help us.

As if that wasn’t enough, one of the major TV news networks carried a facsimile of the page, inferring that it was something of great interest. Why stop at the bed? Why not show pictures of Jacko’s toilet, where he performed his bodily functions? The poor sod isn’t cold in his casket and we, the collective numbskulls of Planet Britain, are invited to behave like the sickos who gawp at traffic accidents.

It is at such times that I lose all hope for the human race, or the sad part of it in which I find myself. The editorial executives of the newspaper in question must be working on the principle that the collective IQ of their readership equates to that of a cheeseburger. They sell millions of copies, so are obviously correct in their assumption. But surely I can’t have been the only person who groaned aloud and inwardly asked why would anyone be interested in looking at a picture of the bed on which Michael Jackson died, or, as the newspaper revealed, the bed on which he died despite attempts by his doctor to revive him?

I find it impossible to relate to, or understand, this fascination with people labelled “celebs”. Most of them, unlike Michael Jackson, have never done anything to make them remotely worthy of being famous. I’m thinking primarily of those who emerge from the ranks of reality television shows, like Big Brother.

A classic example is that provided by Katie Price, aka Jordan, who got herself surgically enhanced in the upper body department, then somehow made the quantum leap from glamour model to red carpet celebrity, via her on-screen romance with Aussie beefcake Peter Andre in the execrable “I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here”.

The publicity surrounding their subsequent marriage, the never-ending communiques about their domestic harmony and, latterly, the acrimony following their split has provided acres of newsprint for the red tops. Again I find myself asking who feeds this stuff to the tabloids, and why do they print it? Who is interested in the marital breakdown of a large-breasted, former glamour model and her not very talented singer husband?

Why, having milked their romantic liaison for possibly several millions, aided, no doubt, by publicity guru Max Clifford, or someone like him, don’t they just melt quietly into the shadows and enjoy the money?

They may well discover, as others before them, that the fame they craved, and the media exposure on which they fed, can be destructive as well as gratifying.

Andre launched a successful libel action against another Sunday newspaper, which wrongly reported he had been dallying with another woman. He and his ex-Mrs will continue to be written about, and pursued by the paparazzi, as long as tabloids consider them newsworthy, and fodder for the masses, who swallow this twaddle. As I remarked earlier, God help us.