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Thursday, March 17, 2005

Celebrities and the Media

There's an interesting story on the ABC Nightline page about the symbiotic relationship between celebrities and the media. I find it fascinating for several reasons. First, as a graduate of the University of Minnesota's School of Journalism, I find the peek into the celebrity journalism world appalling. I wonder if any of the people profiled read this article or saw the Nightline broadcast, took a good long look at themselves afterward. Probably not.

The second thing that jumped out at me is who cares about these celebrities? Who is buying these magazines and tabloids? And why? What difference does it make if there's tension between Nick and Jessica? And who the hell are Nick and Jessica anyway?

I guess that's what it boils down to, I couldn't care less about celebrities. Some of these people aren't even famous, they're notorious and there's a huge difference. Not that the media seems to get it. These people are shown over and over and over on TV and for what? They have no talent, no skill. Some of them have nothing more than a good PR firm and yet the general public seems taken with them. There's one pseudo celebrity in particular and I totally don't get why anyone cares about her. So her family is rich--what has she done? Not one damn thing worth noting.

This superficial media world bothers me on a lot of levels. First, it's promoting this idea that shallow is all there is when it comes to people and that nothing deep is important.

Nothing is farther from the truth. When it comes to the real world, when it comes to living a life to be proud of, when it comes to learning lessons and growing as human beings, depth is everything.

Second, what does this say about our society and what it values?

Of course, I wouldn't cross the street to talk to Matt Damon, so I'm not exactly the target market of these celebrity publications. I don't care, I don't pay attention, I don't want to pay attention. Now if Bob Woodward from the Washington Post, and half of the reporting team that broke Watergate, were standing on the other side of the street, I'd race over. He's interesting. He's done interesting things and has something to say.

Give me interesting people. Give me people who've lived life and discovered that depth is important. Give me people who've spent time doing something that matters. Really matters. Like working on cures for diseases. Like going into third world countries and helping people. Like inventing something that makes life better for others.

Let's focus on the right things, the important things.

And I'm climbing off my soapbox now.

MN Weather Report: 20 degrees. Wind Chill: 11 degrees.