Thursday, October 23, 2008

We're Suffering From A Cult Of Personality Disorder


I think people are entirely too obsessed with the lives of celebrities. And it's not just an American thing, but world wide. Pick a country, and I'll show you the huge, vampiric industries that have grown up around their native pop stars and actors for the sole purpose of disseminating to the masses every tiny detail of these people's existence. It's truly a mind-boggling phenomenon.

Although we live in a world with entirely more important things to worry about, for some reason folks just can't seem to get enough of what the Royals are up to in jolly ol' England, or what some Bollywood starlet was seen doing with a married man in Mumbai -- or who Angelina Jolie is giving birth to this week.

I guess the reasons are obvious, though. People like to be distracted. And what better distraction than to get into the sordid affairs and gossip of someone *else's* life? But not just anyone. It has to be someone whom all your friends and neighbors know, or else no one will give a damn. Enter the entertainment industry, tailor-made to supply the recognizable faces everyone needs to pin their hopes and dreams upon, but even better to see crash and burn. To remind us that, hey, even the shiniest of angels must eventually take a header into the muck and despair that is normal life for everyone else.

I guess this is why soap operas never go out of fashion. It's like a car wreck for some folks; you wince when you see it, but once you've seen it you can't tear yourself away. Broken marriages, betrayed friendships, tragedies in the family -- so entertaining when they're not happening to you!

But honestly, must we consume so much of this crap? How many shows (TMZ), tv channels (E!), tabloids (The Sun), and magazines (People) must we be inundated with? Whenever I scan through the tv, every other channel these days seems to have some ditsy half-a-man with glistening teeth and frosted tips expounding breathlessly about the latest "hook-up" between so-and-so heartthrob and missy-pissy diva as if my very existence depended on knowing this information.

It doesn't.

And you know, the more and more this world seems to be heading into the wastebasket, the more these entertainment venues ramp up the salacious details. If you need a more obvious example of having the wool pulled over your eyes than that, you need to get out more. It's like a doctor giving the kid a lollipop in the hopes he'll forget that you just poked him in the arm with a foot long needle. In this day and age of global terrorism, collapsing real estate markets, and the dismantling of the global economy, I don't need a Ryan Seacrest popping up and saying -- oh, hey, guess who's been seen jay-walking across Sunset Blvd?

Seriously, get away from me, dude.

But hey, I guess it's a good thing people are distracted. After all, we can't have the masses getting disgruntled and unruly if they decided to focus more on, say, who's running this country or--god forbid--what the mega conglomerates are doing to our planet. That would be a disaster.

So let us ponder instead: Is Tom Cruise really insane, or does he just have a giddy, child-like affinity for over plush sofas? Personally, I think he enjoys good domestically woven upholstery. Or at least his feet do.

3 comments:

Ashe Hunt said...

Bravo on this post my friend. You know I'm with you on this. I can't stand all this celebrity worship. I have my preferences of who I like in entertainment but it's based on their work and little else. I could care less about their everyday personal lives. That's one of the reasons why I don't really miss cable. All those channels and 98% of them are bullshit. All those fake ass "reality" shows are just stupid. I remember when E! was just a program on TV and now it's a damn channel! WTF. Sick shit. It's sick how distracted people allow themselves to be. Sports is the same shit, too.

Ashe Hunt said...

Oh yeah, I don't know if it was intentional or not but your choice of words, in the title of this post, is the title of a Living Colour song. Actually their first single which put them on. "Cult of Personality" is a great song and actually fits perfectly with this post.

David said...

That's one of my all-time favorite songs! So, yes, I knew all about that connection with my title. :)

But the phrase is also popular in social history, used to describe dictators like Stalin and Mao and Mussolini (among many, many others)who built up a "myth" around themselves to force-feed to the masses.

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