Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sad State of Affairs

Although I haven't been writing this blog for a long time, I've made a conscious effort to steer clear of broad social commentaries for two reasons. One, because I want this blog to be a source of levity and entertainment, and two, because I don't think it's my place to be casting wide swaths at things that I find obnoxious. I am going to make an exception today.

Since the dawn of reality television, regular people have spared no expense or amount of shame to secure themselves a moment in the spotlight in the hopes that it will springboard them to super-stardom, or at least another reality show. I have no aversions to the concept of celebrity for those who are genuinely talented and for whom paparazzi cameras and interviews are simply a means to an end. Those I am speaking of are people who offer nothing to society at large and treat every flashbulb and microphone like a rung on a ladder. To these people, the phrase "there's no such thing as bad publicity" is their lifeblood.

You have no doubt known people that fit this description at some point in your life. The man whose lofty aspirations dried up long ago and couldn't be bothered to work hard in the interim, the woman who was told she was pretty one too many times and began to use it as a tool to manipulate and extract what she wants from others. These people aren't inherently bad, they are a function of a society that allows and rewards people who behave this way. This situation has come to a head in recent weeks. Recently, as the ratings for reality television wane, the attention seeking brethren have been pushed to great depths to procure the fifteen minutes they are entitled to. While these publicity stunts have largely left the public aghast, they continue to serve their purpose.

In October, Americans were enamored with a young boy who appeared to be trapped in a homemade helium contraption hundreds of feet in the Colorado sky. 3 days later, the entire ordeal was uncovered as an elaborate scheme by an overzealous father to secure a reality TV show. Charges were filed and his reputation as a scientist has taken a hit, but the publicity well is far from dry and that's all that matters.

And just last week, a posh Virginian couple successfully "crashed" a White House state dinner, posing for pictures with members of President Obama's cabinet and even meeting Obama himself. As the story unfolds, this isn't the first time the couple has found themselves at parties they were not invited to. Coincidentally (or not), the couple also have reality TV aspirations. Despite the public/political outrage that followed, the couple are peddling their "story" to the highest bidder and have shown no amount of remorse or regret for breaching the highest levels of national security so they could hob-nob and make their friends jealous on facebook (seriously).

Maybe my vitriol for these people is misplaced and I should instead wag my finger at the media outlets who continually blur the line between news and sensationalism. Maybe we are all guilty for holding celebrity and all that it entails to such high esteem. Maybe I shouldn't write anything and allow the stories and the people responsible for them fade away into oblivion. All I know is that these people make Flavor of Love seem like an exercise in high art.

1 comment:

  1. Flavor of Love was a great show - without which none of my other favorite VH1 reality shows would exist.