Geez. What's with all of the famous people going after one another lately? Donald Trump vs. Rosie O'Donnell. Angelina Jolie vs. Madonna. Michael Moore vs. Mrs. Fields. It's getting to the point where you can't open up a supermarket tabloid without seeing celebrities going after one another.
The crazy thing is that most of the talk about these celebrities going after each other isn't coming from the tabloids. It's coming from the mainstream media. In recent years, the media have become paparazzi, obsessing over the lives of the rich, famous, and attractive, while letting more serious news stories go untouched or underreported.
Take the situation with Trump and Rosie, for example. When compared to something like Darfur, does anyone really care what a junior-grade not-so-great Gatsby and an overweight out lesbian who's known more for insulting people on "The View" than for adding something significant to society? From a wider perspective, no. But from the media's perspective, the Rosie-Trump war is more important.
Of course, the media will tell us that they're only giving us what we ask. If that were the case, "Celebrity Boxing" would have never made it to air and we'd see nothing but "American Idol," "Survivor," and "CSI." Come to think of it, that is pretty much what we're seeing. But the point is we're not really asking for this stuff. Of course, we're not asking for any of the more substantive stuff, either.
Maybe the media can take a cue from what Glenn Beck does on his radio and TV programs and his magazine Fusion. He combines the fluff stories with the hard news to create what he calls "the fusion of entertainment and enlightenment," hence the name of his magazine. Admittedly, I am a Glenn Beck fan, but not because I'm in total agreement with him. It's because his approach to world events is refreshing and unpredictable. Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity hammer on news stories with a predictable line of thought. Beck, not so much. Some people get turned off by the way Beck does his show, but when you consider his ratings have gone up during times when conservative talk radio audiences have shrunk, he's doing something right.
Something we can do while the media try to catch up is to demand more of ourselves. Just because the media thinks we want to hear about some star squabbling with another star doesn't mean we have to pay attention to it like a car crash. We should move along as quickly as possible and let the particulars involved settle the matter instead of being rubberneckers.
And while we're at it, let's pay attention to the big news stories out there. The terrorists who want us dead love it when we're distracted by fluff stories because it means we're too engrossed to engage them, thus they get the drop on us. And let's be honest here, there isn't anything about the Jolie-Madonna controversy that trumps the fact people want us dead. Anybody who says differently is either delusional or Jolie's or Madonna's PR agents.