In about the last month, two stories have made the headlines in the States, two different couples, the Balloon boy’s parents and the White House crashers, doing everything and anything for their 15 minutes in the spotlight.
What do they have in common? Both couples wanted to be reality TV stars and looked for “easy” (or illegal, depending on your moral vision, black and white vs. gray) ways to grab media attention to parley into a reality TV show. As well as both couples chased “fame” with everything they had.
I remember probably about the beginning of my college years, when I still watched MTV, actually just the Real World, and there was an audition show for hopeful housemates and it was honestly that show that turned me off of reality TV shows, until Jon and Kate Plus 8 , but that imploded on itself, as we all know, and the Biggest Loser. But what turned me off, were the reasons why these young people wanted so desperately to be on the show, what they thought would come of taping their lives, their thoughts for the entire world to see and “documented” to be remembered/to follow them for the rest of their lives. And then to see young people, the oldest auditioning person was probably about 25 years old then, cry and weep over not being chosen for the show, that their lives were over because of this singular event in their so far short lives.
I was the same age as those people (and yes I meant to differentiate myself from them, because I do feel like I’m a completely different species from them) and my life was just starting, my options were just opening, and I just couldn’t understand why they would be so upset and thinking that their worlds were over from not being on that show. Why would it make your world? Being filmed having sex with someone that you barely know, or even a complete stranger, made to look like a caricature of yourself to sell ratings, etc. How can that be the paramount of a young life?
And now to see a couple make the nation think that their son’s life is in danger, to the point that a good percent of the state of Colorado was mobilized to help that little boy, the airport was shut down because of the possibility that a plane could injure the boy.
Or another couple in their 40s crash a White House event and basically stalk the President and the First Lady. (Disclaimer: I don’t like President Obama or his wife personally or their politics, but they are my President and First Lady, at least until 2012.) And if they could just walk into a state dinner being hosted for another country, then why couldn’t an assassin? That is just a scary thought and something that I hope never happens.
Why are we as a society so driven to be famous, to be rich, to have our names known by at least the rest of the country, if not the world? And to get the goals accomplished, everything and anything legal or illegal is condonable? When will this stop, when someone is seriously injured or even dies?