Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t. That’s how I feel, at times, when I debate writing something about pop culture coverage in the media. Honest to goodness truth, I just wish some stories would go away and some people would stop receiving coverage. I start thinking I should write something about the issue and then I realize it would only add coverage to what or who I wished would fade from the news cycle.
I have examined my motivation on this stuff. For example, am I jealous? Am I jealous some individuals are bathed in fame, soaked in money and covered by the media? Answer: No way!
For example, does it bother me that women swoon over Brad Pitt or George Clooney, that they are famous, rich and covered by the media? Not at all. In fact, I like a lot of their work. Movies like Syriana, Benjamin Button and the Ocean’s series comes to mind. I hope those two fellows keep going strong. More power to them.
Another example. Does it bother me when Natalie Portman is covered by the media? Heck no. She is a phenomenal actress. She is beautiful. She is smart. I thought Ms. Portman was fantastic in Black Swan. I appreciated her work in V for Vendetta. I think any accolades she gets are well deserved. And if she makes a lot of money and becomes even more famous, she’s earned it. Certainly, the media is bound to cover her. [As an aside, on June 9th she turns 30.]
I could go on and on making a list of all kinds of celebrities, actors and actresses who end up in the public eye and rightfully get lots of press coverage. Not only does it not bother me or make me jealous, most of the time when these people get credit for what they do, I think it is well deserved. It is always nice to see people rewarded for their good work. It’s always a positive thing to see talent and drive create worthwhile art, a good movie for example, and be recognized for it.
Now, I will give an example attempting to explain the kind of thing I started out talking about. Today, I saw some media coverage of Anne Hathaway. I think she is a talented actress. I enjoy her work. I thought she did a great job in The Devil Wears Prada. Presumably, she makes a lot of money. And she is famous. What do I have to say about that? Go Anne!
Today, I also saw some media coverage of Snooki. What do I have to say about this kind of coverage? Go away!
I don’t know Snooki. She might be a charming woman of great talent. She might have a world class work ethic. I couldn’t say if she does or doesn’t. And, frankly, I have no issue with her at all. I do, however, have an issue with the media. Because, in general, it has become a cater-to-the-looky-loos, sell to the lowest common denominator, increase viewership/readership/listenership by any means necessary, draw attention to a train wreck industry.
In the bogus reality programming culture we have lived in for years, people who have paid few dues are gaining coverage once reserved for individuals who came by fame owing to their talents and the use they put them to. They became world class actors, athletes, etc. They, somehow, enriched society.
Maybe a couple of decades ago we were already too celebrity obsessed as a society for our own good. But at least the vast majority of those celebrities earned their way to fame. Now, we live in an unearned fame society. A famous for being famous society. I wish that kind of coverage would just go away.
No doubt, some “reality” TV personalities might have real talent. Yet, if they are rewarded for being famous rather than for developing and utilizing their ability, they will have little incentive to utilize their talents. Instead, they’ll end up with fame-entitlement-syndrome. “Hey, I am famous for being famous. What more need I do?” Not good.
I do feel like an idiot writing this. After all, I do not have to look at coverage that bothers me. I can just ignore it. Actually, for the most part I do. Somehow, though, when I do see it, it still gets on my nerves.
I guess we are all part of the problem.
Image: Maggie Smith / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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