Tag Archives: Celebrities

Complain, Complain, Complain!

I haven’t written much lately, or at least not much for the blog. (I have been working on a story, though. For some reason, writing fiction has become more satisfying than writing about reality).  I try, when I write, to focus on the silver lining rather than the cloud. Lately, this has become most difficult.

We’ve already discussed how the news media obsesses on all things negative—or meaningless (What’s wrong with Richard Simmons? Will Johnny Depp survive the breakup? Will Caitlin decide to become Bruce once again?). Every trend dies sooner or later, except, apparently for this one. I suppose it’s because they pick the stories that sell the most erectile dysfunction prescriptions, thereby financially benefiting the media, your physician, Big Pharma, venture capitalists, and investment firms.

I propose that we start anew. First, let’s hold a memorial service for journalism. It had a short and tragic life. The first American newspapers were all opinion pieces, but there was one brief shining moment—a century or so—when factual reporting became the gold standard. Many were thrilled at its demise.

My favorite magazines—National Geographic, Wired, and Smithsonian, and National Public Radio have begun to beat me over the head with more doom and gloom. I don’t care who just wrote a book to announce that they’ve come out as gay; I’m sorry that peasants hack down the rain forests because they need to plant food; I regret that there’s a controversy in reintroducing wild wolves into areas where cattle are raised; and I find it unfortunate that while developed countries used coal in the nineteenth century, we balk at twenty-first century countries using such antiquated (but economically viable) methods.  The difference is that rising sea levels today threaten ninety percent of the world’s population because they live near the coast.

In the 1960s we had a saying, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” Complaining, even if you’re a well-known television newsperson, accomplishes nothing. How do you plan to solve the problem? Like the ghost of Freddie Prinz the response seems to be, “Not my problem, man!”





And, ye’ verily, they prayed to the god “Celebrity” and asked for its favor. Sacrifices offered in the first half of the twentieth century included the swallowing of goldfish and the sitting upon of flagpoles for many days. And the god Celebrity was pleased and sent his minions from the newspapers and the newsreel photographers to minister to the faithful. And, lo, this begot flappers, wingtip shoes and rumble seats, and they gathered at places called “Speakeasies,” dancing the Charleston with wild abandon to loud Jazz music. So, the god Celebrity gave them radio.

The faithful faced hard times with many economic hardships, and they turned to their radios and their moving pictures for comfort, and with Prohibition gone, they communed with the spirits of Gin and Whiskey. The girt their loins in zoot suits and wore saddle shoes, dancing the Jitterbug with wild abandon to Big Band music. The god Celebrity was pleased and gave them television.

Celebrity grew in his hunger and his demand for sacrifice, so in the latter part of the twentieth century it caused the faithful to burn weeds and inhale the aroma, causing the people to giggle uncontrollably and crave sweet morsels to satisfy the “munchies.” The faithful bedecked themselves in tie dyed shirts, bell bottomed jeans and love beads and gathered at places like “Woodstock,” dancing with wild abandon to loud rock and roll music. Still Celebrity demanded more.

The faithful then donned clothing of polyester double-knit and shoes with high platforms and heels. They coated the inside of their nose with white powder, which made them feel small, and gathered at places like “Studio 54,” dancing with wild abandon to loud disco music. Celebrity then gave them cable, with 24 hour coverage of things both great and small.

And lo today, many people still seek the favor of the god “Celebrity” doing all manner of things to please him. They perform various intimate acts and post them to YouTube. They send pictures of themselves unclothed through their cell phones. They dress with their pants around their knees and their boxer shorts displayed and dance with wild abandon to hip hop music.

And their god, Celebrity laughs. And it demands more.