The media increasingly celebrates materialism and the flaunting of wealth over all else
|There is nothing wrong with watching a little television, indulging in a little mindless entertainment even, but does it have to glorify greed such a large percentage of the time? It seems the media increasingly celebrates materialism and the flaunting of wealth over all else. I have heard it called a new “age of hedonism.”
One of the deplorable shows and a prime example of this increasing trend is VH1’s “Fabulous Life of [insert asinine subject matter here]” series. Is it really necessary to have a show dedicated to glorifying the absurd and repulsive spending habits of “Billionaires,” or “Hollywood Super Spenders”?
I do not begrudge their right to spend their earnings as they choose, no matter how wasteful their choices may be. This is the United States after all. I do take issue with the media’s glorification of appalling spending habits that should be regarded as shameful, not “awesome.”
In a time when poverty levels are on the rise and the imbalance of wealth in this country is obscene, billions are spent on a controversial war and people are dying all over the world from a lack of resources we take for granted, what are we doing? U.S. citizens are spending an increasing amount of time tracking Britney Spears’ every waking hour and developing a growing obsession with fame and wealth.
The fact that companies like TMZ even exist is scary. It is bizarre to me; there is a demand for sites that stalk celebrities 24 hours a day for the amusement of the public.
The inescapable tabloid media inundates the public with a constant parade of idiocy. Why do people care what Brad Pitt ate for breakfast or what brand of toothpaste Nicole Richie uses? Because the media tells us we do—the constant barrage of useless information is practically inescapable.
When I do occasionally cave to curiosity and check out E! News, I quickly just end up contemplating how Giuliana Whatever does not get the overwhelming urge to jab forks in her eyes for having to earnestly deliver lines such as, “What celebrity baby is rocking the hottest in footwear fashion?”
Grab fork, aim accordingly, commence stabbing motion.
The latest sign of the apocalypse is the debut of “A Shot of Love With Tila Tequila.” Ironically, I saw the commercial for this gem while watching the MTV/MySpace “Presidential Dialogue with John Edwards.” A response Edwards made to a question about sports often receiving more funding than music and arts programs in schools got me thinking.
“If you think back about past civilizations from hundreds and even thousands of years ago, what is it you remember about them?” Edwards said. “You remember their contributions to the arts. The lasting impression that the world will have of the United States of America during our lifetime, it will be whatever we did to contribute to the arts.”
The idea that this generation’s legacy to the television arts is a penchant for watching self-promoting and talentless media whores is depressing. Most reality television of this sort promotes and often celebrates degradation, promiscuity and stupidity. Most viewers are smart enough to watch these shows with irony and disdain, but the thought of children watching it is scary (think MTV’s “Next”).
In the 70s, television milestones were accomplishments like “The Jeffersons” and “Good Times” portraying intact nuclear black families. Today’s milestones are along the lines of first reality TV stars to have a threesome in a hot tub.
And this mindless entertainment is infecting other media. An even more disturbing trend is the infiltration of entertainment “news” into traditional news. Supposed legit news programs are assembling “expert panels” to discuss Britney Spears. When Paris Hilton went to jail, cable news networks ranted about it practically 24 hours a day. I turned on CNN and could have sworn it was E! News.
Instead of an abundance of television programs educating the public about the joys of conspicuous consumption, I simply wish an equal amount of time was spent celebrating empathy as opposed to arrogance, generosity as opposed to greed, self-respect as opposed to promiscuity and hard work as opposed to instant gratification.
I know, I sound like an 80-year-old woman, but I don’t care. I have reached my tipping point when it comes to “entertainment news” and tasteless reality TV competitions. Rant completed.