If you’ve managed to sit through an entire TV evening news bulletin, you begin to realise that the word “news” is highly subjective. Much of what is presented as news is really not-news.
Not-news is pretty much a combination of overly-long irrelevant sentimental pieces mixed with banal celebrity voyeurism.
Just a brief perusal of TV news over the last few days (some of which constituted headlines) :
- A guy who hits tiny balls around a field all day might have crashed his car, or maybe…?
- Some people went to dinner with some rich people – but they weren’t invited (a quick search on Google News shows 6,888 news articles devoted to the incident).
- A TV show about shallow self-obsessed people who think they look good will be filmed in NZ.
- The daughter of a guy who was president of some country many years ago just got engaged.
That’s just a quick round-up of the world news. You get the picture.
Hard to believe that right now various countries are engaged in war. Harder to believe that right now there are governments murdering their citizens.
The earth might just be teetering on the edge of irreversible environmental collapse.
We’re swinging from one food shortage crisis to another, with the world’s poorest bearing the brunt.
The world’s economic system is in a woeful state… does anyone remember just how much debt the US has taken on?
Escapism or Stupidity?
Maybe we need to educate ourselves with silliness to escape reality. I thought that’s what the Internet was for? But now we have broadcast TV journalists and editors who can do no better than to appeal to the masses. Once upon a time issues of injustice reported on TV might have inspired us to social activism. A quick glance at today’s 5 most read articles on TVNZ… 3 of them are celebrity fluff.
Study Shows Celebrity Admirers Have Social Problems
Last year a study showed how:
[...] parasocial relationships [celebrity watching] can have self-enhancing benefits for low self-esteem people that they do not receive in real relationships. These parasocial relationships, which have very low risk of rejection, offer low self-esteem people an opportunity to reduce their self-discrepancies and feel closer to their ideal selves.
Essentially, people who have “a difficult time with real interpersonal relationships” feel better about themselves if they obsess over their favourite celebrities.
Given the mass hysteria over celebrities, one might presume that a lot people have difficulty with real relationships.
Triviality and celeb-watching is a symptom of the times. My take: We’re lonelier than ever.
It takes guts and determination to face truth full in the face. How can we hope to change the status quo, if we can’t bear to face it?
(Image credit: cc – Drowning Man by just.Luc)