Monday, June 04, 2007

The Lives of Others

I won’t go into detail as to how it came about, but I found myself the other day in a situation wherein for several hours I had a choice between staring at the walls or reading a stack of fan and gossip magazines. I should have stared at the walls, for thumbing through page after endless page of the absolutely enthralling details of the daily lives of movie stars and far more “celebrities” than I ever knew or cared existed convinced me without a doubt that we, as a society, are doomed.

Children are starving in poor countries around the world, yet we cut down millions of trees to print glossy drek to let us know that Nick and Jessica (who?) absolutely are/are not getting back together, and that Lindsay Lohan (who?), and Brittany (who?) are back in rehab for the twelfth time in two weeks.

American servicemen and women are being slaughtered in Iraq, but there’s a ten-page in-depth report on Tori Spelling (who?) and her new baby...he’s only six months old and already he is cutting his first tooth!!!!

We are constantly being lied to by our own government, but who cares? Did you catch what Rene Zellweiger (who?) wore to the C.R.A.P. awards?

Global warming? Why waste your time? You can’t do anything about it anyway. But what’s really hot is that shot of Matthew McConehey (who?) In his briefs.

And how can I possibly care about skyrocketing gas prices when I am consumed with angst over word that Tom and Katie (who?) are either definitely considering a divorce or are the happiest married couple on earth.

The ever-changing status of these I mean like awesome people’s relationships ( “married.” “wed,” “hitched”, “engaged”, “living together”, “dating” , “seen with”, “constant companions”, “gal-pal”, etc.) is far more important than the petty lives of insignificant nobodys like…well, like you, for instnace..

But I am being unfair, and I apologize. People do care about bigger issues. Did you see that darling little girl Brad and Angelina (who?) just adopted from…uh…one of those places in Africa (or was it Asia? Oh, well, no matter…she’s just darling.) Nor are they unaware of human suffering: there was a heart-rending article on the agonies Parker Posey (who?) underwent when a drain backed up in not one but two of her bathrooms at the same time! and just ruined her new carpets.

I was vastly reassured, however, to derive from a careful analysis of each of these august periodicals, albeit by implication rather than stated fact, that homosexuals apparently do not exist. The supposed ratio between heterosexuals and homosexuals is not, as science has indicated, 9 to 1, but as these learned tomes undoubtedly correctly indicate, more like 99,999,998 to none. Certainly the appearance of the words “homosexual” or “gay” is scarcer than hen’s teeth. And when one of these revered bastions of journalistic excellence does use one of the words—usually on a shocking headline on the front cover, carefully placed there to draw readers like flies to a slop bucket—“Inside the Rumors: Is Ryan Seacrest (who?) Gay??!!!???!!!???”, you can take great comfort in the fact that upon reading the article, you learn that the answer is of course he isn’t gay, you silly goose!

But the most discouraging thing about my hours with this idiocy—other than that I spent them at all—was that I am not, as I had always thought, the only one who refuses to acknowledge reality. The difference, as I see it, is that while I find so much fascination within myself so as to have little time for it, far too many others apparently find so little of interest or worth within themselves that they must seek it in the delusional “reality” of others.

It is to weep.

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