Sunday, August 19, 2007

Un-news, Celebrity trash, and the big 30.

Neil Postman should be rolling over in his grave right now. TMZ is ready to bring their own Television show, and NBC is going to put it where Wheel of Fortune is now. And that in itself is okay, because they are putting Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune on the WATL channel together. The significance of this is that they believe that a show by TMZ is more important and will draw more ratings than a classic game show that has been a staple of people's lives for years. And you know what, they're right.

The concept of un-news, a show about the celebrity nonsense that is created up by Hollywood, is one that has been around for a while. Entertainment Tonight has been on for ages, but with the concept of the Internet, and more importantly, the ability for anyone to take pictures, shoot video, to make news by themselves with online blogs, youtube, myspace...etc..., proves that news is everywhere, and is easily sold to those who could make money from it. People thrive on the idea that superstars rise and fall on a whim. A person on a pillar is positioned so that someone can knock the pillar over. It is the way that this world works, unfortunately. People are so ready to see the downfall of the famous, and the media knows this, so anything they can do to bring about gossip and maliciousness, they will do. Because it sells. Perhaps this started with the O.J. Simpson trial; certainly it exploded with it. And Michael Jackson, and now the teenage girls that seem to be so much in the news.

And this would, in some small way, not be so bad. My life isn't really effected by these idiots that take such perverse pleasure in ruining somones life. Nor is it effected by the celebrities that decide, for whatever reason, to deliberately take those plunges into controversial actions in order to make their sick form of celebrity even more acute. It does bother me a whole lot when the actions of such teenage sluts (for that's what they are), effect the lives of people I care about. And not always in a conscious way. The lives of Brittany Spears, or Paris Hilton, demonstrate that the lives of the controversial and morally questionable can actually be desirable. It causes teenage girls who want to emulate their "role models" to do things that they would not normally do, like not eat, or have promiscuous sex or do drugs...etc... And with people that I care about, this bothers me.

But does showing the filth of today's society bother the media at all? No, it does not, and for justifiable reasons. According to the media, people are attracted to those stories... the Nielsen media group says as much, and so it's what the majority of the people want, and since that's the case, the media is going to provide this. And whatever the majority of the viewing public wants, that's the best thing for the media because they want the largest possible base of viewers to sell advertisements from sponsors. Which makes the stations money, and which causes the viewers to go out and purchase those products. A very justifiable excuse to promote the denigration of today's ethics and morals through showing the downfall of role models, and putting that in a positive light. So while this is news, according to the media, I call it "un-news," because instead of having at least a neutral effect on people's lives, or even a positive one (it is necessary to know the weather, the stock reports, consumer information, even the sports reviews, for entertainment purposes), instead it shows a negative side of life, and places them all in a positive way for the people that want to emulate them. So I would suggest a boycott of any news stories that would show "un-news." It would be the only way to effectively change the material being thrown at us everyday. Not that I expect this to happen, but I do know that when TMZ starts their show, I will not be watching.


I could take this in any number of ways now, but I choose to take lyrics from a gospel song by the Gaither Vocal Band:

The call of fortune made me a pilgrim
To journey to fame's promised heights
But as I climbed, the promise faded
and wind blew lonely all through the night

Mark Lowry does such a great job with this song. I think it all boils down to realistic goals.There is so much hope placed in the lottery, in American Idol, in grand dreams with slim chances. And while it's good to work towards your dreams, focusing in on realistic goals (joining the High School Chorus rather than dreaming of American Idol with no steps in between.) is a much better way of doing what you enjoy without putting (excuse the cliche) all your eggs in one basket. Because sometimes the price you pay for going for an unrealistic goal is too great. For athletes, steroids take too high a stake on the body. And sometimes the things that future actors or singers will do bring nothing but misery and pain. When goals are not achieved, or they seem to far out of reach, sometimes people will take other measures to escape from the perceived failure of that goal. Drugs, sex, running away... etc. All to attain a dream that was too high, too unrealistic. Further, the constant bombardment of the controversial lives of people like Spears or Lohan (who was such a great actress before she flushed her life down the toilet), only further emphasizes that those behaviors will help achieve the lifestyles that they are currently living. It's so sad, and when I think of people with such promising lives ahead of them, wasting it on such frivolity... There are so many wonderful things to be done that does not require entertaining people or even having large amounts of money. I am content with my life (although I have goals and desires to make it better). If I died today, I would be satisfied with what I've already done, with the people that are a part of my life, and of the people I have helped and the memories I have made. It's all good. It doesn't take a lot of money or having done something incredible to achieve this. :) ***

I'll stop rambling now. It is my birthday today, and I'm 30 now. And I'm happy.

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