In the past week three individuals , Ed McMahon, Farah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson, all considered to be major stars, have passed away. Jackson was a global phenomenon. His death has created news coverage commiserate with the death of Princess Diana.
During my lifetime I often enjoyed the talents of all three, because I believed that they had a craft and had honed it to the point where they deserved the label ”celebrity”.
In the weeks prior, the media was obssessed with John and Kate Gosselein and their eight children. A couple who has had a reality show for several years, and was about to make a” monumental” announcement concerning their relationship. For weeks the entertainment shows and People magazine continued to allude to the possibility that the couple was splitting and that Jon had been involved with another woman.
They got almost as much press coverage as the swine flu.
There might be a metaphor here.
What I find incredibly absurd is that they too are considered “celebrities”, as are the women in Desperate Housewives of New Jersey, five women whose insipid lives have also landed them on the cover of some major magazines. The Gossleins and the housewives will get book deals and speaking engagements and make millions.
My question is “WHY”?
Is there such a lack of talented individuals in the world that can entertain, and educate us through dance, art, poetry, real acting and music that we have to resort to watching the most mundane human activities as a way of amusing ourselves?
Will we soon have a realty show that involves watching individuals going in and out of public restrooms and reporting on the outcome?
Has our attention span become so diluted that the powers that be have concluded that we are no longer able to grasp any content that might challenge our intellects?
I am grateful for those stations like PBS, Sundance Channel and some others that continue to give us programming that strive to stimulate and entertain us. But isn’t it time we stopped giving so much attention to individuals who are contributing so little to our lives?
I would rather watch the water run out of my bathtub.
Loretta LaRoche writes the Get A Life Column for the Patriot Ledger.