The other night I was indulging in the great American pastime of flipping through the hundreds of channels we now have to select from on TV. Within a few minutes I was rudely reminded of just how weird the world in which we live has become.
I left my comfortable world of news and market reports and ventured into the area more commonly referred to as "entertainment." Stopping by the new "Rosie Live" hosted by Rosie O'Donnell on my way to a taped concert performed by Amy Winehouse, I sensed at any moment Rod Serling would pop out from behind the TV to welcome me to "The Twilight Zone."
Here in living color, I observed an obese big mouth who is in everyone's face – and an anorexic, heroin-addicted siren who clearly needs someone in her face. One should head off to the fat farm for a week of cellulite reduction while the other needs six months at Betty Ford and a dozen cheeseburgers.
And then it hit me. Is this really what America is all about? Is this the entertainment some in this country crave in massive doses?
What amazes me is these entertainers offer anything that has an appeal to the millions that tune in and watch. Just what is the attraction to the fans worldwide that hold these women in such high esteem? Apparently I missed it.
I am not sure which is worse: Amy and Rosie – or their fans. Nor am I clear on what that says about both. Without the demand, these women would just fade away. And yet millions are paid to both Amy and Rosie. For what? The performance they offer is no better than the average lurid entertainment value of a carnival freak show. Is there a market being made off the self-inflicted suffering in each one of these women's lives?
I watched both performers Wednesday night before the day millions of us gathered with family and friends to give thanks for all we have here in America. I can only hope those same people were not mentioning Rosie or Amy in their comments of gratefulness.
What level has the human experience descended to in order to find any entertainment value in these two? If these were freaks at a carnival we would look but be ashamed to have anybody watching us look. We might gather a glimpse out of the corner of the eye, but to stare without a sense of embarrassment is crazy. Have we no shame as a nation? Is there nothing that can cause one to blush anymore?
Maybe it's the privacy TV affords us that allows such spectacles to be elevated to celebrity for bizarre and weird behavior. I found the need to turn the channel as even small doses of these women elicited emotions ranging from revulsion to pity. I couldn't help but wonder, what it is about this sick behavior many find so appealing?
Whatever it may be, anthropologists should study this unusual behavior. Maybe hundreds of years from now future generations will be able to comprehend just what is was in 2008 that so many found so attractive about entertainers like Rosie and Amy. Clearly there is no explanation today.
Starting back in the early 19th century, anthropologists observed and researched "savages" in the wild. Many thought they were less than human at first sight, yet they found out after years of study they were just like anyone else on the planet. Differences existed in culture and society, but for the most part we were all the same. We may have thought piercing a nose with a bone was unusual. But I am sure the savages would have found placing sacks of saline under breast tissue to be equally weird.
My point is researchers found the old saying, "different strokes for different folks" has a lot of truth contained within. Most humans are the same. Can the same be said for Rosie and Amy?
Our society now finds a quaintness in an old man like Ozzie Osborne not being able to put together a single, coherent sentence. Instead of sympathy for his diminished condition, a market is created, promoted and as such Ozzie is encouraged to act like a moron. A TV series, commercials and new found celebrity is an instant overnight craze. A drugged-out rocker has a whole new career.
What is it about Britney Spears exposing her private parts or Pamela Anderson sharing her bedroom video with Tommy Lee to the world that attracts millions to pay to see all of this? Have we become voyeurs and closet freak-show fans who just can't get enough of this and encourage others to elevate their level of bizarreness to join the next up and coming fraternity of entertainers?
I am not sure I have the answers, but if you are one of the millions who finds entertainment value or a satisfaction in viewing such human behavior, may I strongly suggest immediate mental health attention from your local health care provider. If you can't afford one, at least go see a pastor, rabbi or priest.
I can assure you until the appetite for such weirdness stops, we can expect more of it to come – and in larger and more extravagant ways. Expect to see more obnoxious and repulsive displays of "entertainment. Expect to see actors and actresses attack the very institutions that make us great. It's all in the name of entertainment.
Without a market any commodity dies. And this commodity is one that deserves an early funeral.
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