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Sunday, December 16, 2012

'Cause Everyone Knows That's How You Get Famous

Morgan Freeman's brilliant take on what happened yesterday :

"TURN OFF THE NEWS... You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here's why.
It's because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single *victim* of Columbine? Disturbed people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he'll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.
CNN's article says that if the body count "holds up", this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer's face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer's identity? None that I've seen yet. Because they don't sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you've just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.

You can help by forgetting you ever read this man's name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news."
I rarely agree with Morgan Freeman on anything political, but this is not political, it's social commentary.  We have an entire generation of people who feel the need to be famous, viral, full of notoriety.  Why?  I blame people like the Kardashians and Paris Hilton.  People who are famous for being... famous. Reality TV is the worst thing to happen to society, ever, because it's taught kids that they should be doing stupid, embarrassing things just to be famous.  You don't have to sing or dance, or be able to act.  Just Johnny Knoxville it up to a high hit rating on YouTube by dropping trou in a crowded mall or pretending to fight eight people while getting our front teeth knocked out.   We all know it's better to injure yourself seriously in the name of fame, even better if you manage to kill yourself.  Of course, you won't be around to enjoy your notoriety, but hey, you're famous!  Right?

A few years back, Lily Allen wrote a song called The Fear and it struck a chord with me yesterday as I watched the fallout from the Connecticut shooting:

I want to be rich and I want lots of money
I don't care about clever I don't care about funny
I want loads of clothes and fuckloads of diamonds
I heard people die while they are trying to find them

And I'll take my clothes off and it will be shameless
'Cuz everyone knows that's how you get famous
I'll look at the sun and I'll look in the mirror
I'm on the right track, yeah I'm on to a winner

I don't know what's right and what's real anymore
And I don't know how I'm meant to feel anymore
And when do you think it will all become clear?
'Cuz I'm being taken over by the Fear
The Fear this modern generation has is that it won't be famous, won't be noticed.  Every generation has it's share of attention whores, but this generation more than most.  Why?  Because we've told our precious little snowflakes that they are so special and that just showing up is noteworthy.  Welcome to the penultimate Participation Trophy.

So do everyone a favor, turn off your TV news and go watch It's A Wonderful Life or A Christmas Story. I can promise you, that in this case, you won't shoot your eye out and be on the TV News.

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