America is diseased
The United States of America has a disease. I don't know if it's necessarily terminal, but I do know that the CDC can't do a thing about it. What is this possibly dread illness? Celebrityitis.
Celebrityitis is on the brink of crippling America. "Oh no!!!! Michael Jackson is dead!!!! What will happen to his kids? His chimp? His music? I can't wait to turn on the news and find out!" Everyone runs home and turns on the TV or logs onto the internet Thursday evening and gobbles it all up. Michael Jackson tributes, Michael Jackson retrospectives, Michael Jackson vigils, and so forth. It's not hard to find, in fact it's impossible to ignore. (I know, I've tried. I tried to ignore the OJ trial too, and that was just as impossible). Before the King of Pop died, it was a different celebrity, and before that, and before that, et al. Jon and Kate? They're headline news on Yahoo, the lead story. Repeatedly. I had no idea who these people were a couple months ago (and I wish to whatever deity you care to invoke that I still had no idea). Before that, Conan O'Brien. Before that, I don't recall specifics, but I'm sure plenty of others do remember, and can list them off in cronological order.
Nancy Grace, the sensationalist shrill queen of condemnation turns victims into celebrities; Larry King, master of the irrelevant and of questions about as difficult as asking 4.0 Northwestern graduate to spell cat that apparently makes celebrities 'human'; Geraldo, lord of self-importance probes deeply into the questions everyone asks of celebrities such as "If (s)he drives that type of car what kind of person is (s)he?"; Leno, Letterman, and the like, feed America a diet of celebrities hawking themselves. Go to the grocery store, magazines too numerous to count offer readers personal details on celebrities, with offerings from clandestine pictures of them shopping for clothes, getting into cars with someone, or interviews with someone who graduated from the same high school the same year who was fortunate enough to have a yearbook signed by them.
What does the virtual innundation mean? Currently I do know what it means, at least to a certain extent. 1 - It means that TLC does NOT stand for 'The Learning Channel'. Maybe change learning to leering, laughable, loquacious, but certainly NOT learning. If the owner(s) sold it to the Japanese, then The Learity Channel would fit. (no no no no, BAD turtle, BAD racial joke) Reality shows can be justified into many categories, but learning? No. Jon & Kate, American Chopper, What Not to Wear, 18 Kids and Counting.....yep, THAT'S learning alright. At least if you're using a broad enough definition so that it includes how people act ignorant/how not to behave/how to be thankful you're not these people. If watching this kind of quality programming is for you, why watch it on TV? Take one of two options: first live that way yourself and save the TV time, second kill yourself and watch whatever you want whenever you want wherever you want whoever you want however you want from heaven. If you have a reason as good as the second option, St Peter will nullify any possible religious objections at the Pearly Gates. 2 - It means CNN only broadcasts propaganda....errrr....news....maybe 12 hours a day. Glenn tears don't demasculinate me or my guests Beck? Nancy witch-hunt guilty until they're maybe proved innocent after execution Grace? Larry softball tossed by a kindergartener from a distance of 5 feet King? I don't know what is it they do, but I do know what it isn't, and what it isn't is news. But, then again, no one wants news, ACTUAL news. Politics? War(s)? Regulations? Non-regulations? Healthcare? Global warming? Scientific discoveries? ACTUAL news isn't fun, it isn't sexy, it doesn't have a predicatble storyline with a predictable ending, and is therefore uncomfortable. Give Americans just enough soundbites to make them believe it's 'news', and the other 52 minutes of each hour can focus on the REAL stories. Who said what about who today? Should I get offended? Should I write an angry email to the sponsor of someone whose views don't mirror my own? Cue NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, on air. 3 - EPSN isn't a sports network. Oh they do televise sports, but sports aren't the focus, it's the celebrity of the individual that they focus on. Terrell Owens, Alex Rodriguez, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, David Beckham, Tiger Woods. You don't need to be a sports fan to know who these people are, let alone know that they are far more important to so-called sports fans than any team. Don't believe me? Just ask them. Brett Favre has announced his retirement for 5 consecutive years now. Why? Easy, he likes having his name plastered in every sports media outlet. Why is he so important to sports fans? He won a super bowl for the 'storied' Green Bay Packers. Just one. He, ESPN, and everyone in Wisconsin would have everyone else believe that he's the greatest quarterback of all time. Watch him play objectively and you'll understand that he's an above average quarterback with an above average arm that has average accuracy (psst, Doug Williams won just as many super bowls, had as good if not better arm, and made better decisions when throwing. No one went into near-seizures when he said he was retiring. And when he said he was retiring he meant what he said) Politicans or scientists or theologans or busniess owners change their minds and are ridiculed or worse. Mr Favre has his 'legacy' furthered. 4 - It means your average American can tell you the latest gory details of Brangelina and whether Brad is seeing horseface Aniston behind Angie's back; if that's the second time this week; and how this is tearing at Vince's poor heartstrings. All this from standing in line at the store to buy hazelnut creamer for work whilst sucking down the instore Starbucks. I can't begin to list off the names, but any budding star who's remotely attractive will be paired with one of the opposite sex. If sales for that week go up for whatever the random or not reason, count on one or both of those budding stars to be on an exponentially growing number of magazine covers. "What do you mean xxxx went to lunch with yyyy!?!?! They MUST be having an affair! There's no way they might want to just talk about who knows what! Why not? Because my spouse/girlfriend/blowupdoll doesn't look nearly as good as the airbrushed photoshopped pictures I saw (and downloaded [ oh no! double entendre! BAD turtle ]) and I know if I was having lunch with xxxx/yyyy I'd be there for the sole purpose of sex so they must be too." 5 - It means that the same average American hasn't got clue one about what their elected officials stand on any policy actually is. Ms Pelosi is a democrat so therefore she must want to: raise taxes on everything I buy; eliminate the United States military entirely; and make the country a fascist dictatorship because that's what I was told. Or.... Mr Cantor is a republican so therefore he must want to: declare war on Russia, China and everyone not western European; go on a crusade to evangelicalize AND democratize the world; and wants to close every border to every immigrant because that's what I was told. Is any of that true? You tell me. Look it up if you don't know, and by know I mean really know not guess or take someone elses word for it. One thing I do know is that America's hypocrisy of wanting to make the world the United States of Earth, one planet under god and the American president, while screaming that the U.N. is a secret plot to subjugate Americans (and everyone else but who cares they aren't Americans and shouldn't have an equal voice anyway because "we're the chosen land/people/country") to a world order is nothing short of ignorance and egocentrisism beyond contemptability.
Go on, enjoy your celebrities America. Enjoying knowing where Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox ate dinner last weekend and with whom. Enjoy being able to recite Seinfeld episodes verbatim. Enjoy masterbating to your private collection of Cameron Diaz on the beach pictures someone took with a telephoto lens from 3/4 of a mile away in slideshow mode. Enjoy getting into bar fights over whether Dale Earnhardt Jr is the best driver Nascar has ever had. Enjoy worrying yourself to sleep about whether or not and if so when Steven Speilberg is going to make those 3 Star Wars movies for you to see on opening weekend while laughing at your superiority over the costumed fools who will see it 25 times before you go back to work monday morning. Enjoy thinking that Natalee Holloway is the only missing teenager in the last 4 years. Enjoy spending hours texting in votes for American Idol on a weekly basis.
Celebrity is what truly matters to America, and Americans. In a nation founded without royalty America seeks to create its own version with the underlying unspoken rule that American royals can fall in and out of favor by whim or less, and subsequently in and out of royalty status. Celebrityitis is a sickness, it's growing, and as simple as the cure is to each and every American it's beyond anyones ability to deliver to themselves. The CDC won't help, they're home. Watching Survivor.