Thursday, March 01, 2007

Unpleasant Unreality

I had a lovely couple of days last week on my annual trek to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival. I spent much of my 60 hours away from home (and offspring) quiliting, looking at quilts, talking about quilts, or buying tools to use for later quilting. However, even I can't totally immerse myself in quilt-ness, so I used the alone time to re-acquaint myself with America by watching television.

Wow. So this is who we are now?

It's really all about blondes?
Dead blondes.
Estranged blonde mamas.
Blondes in rehab.
Blondes on the run, the red carpet, the runway.

Wow. Pathetic.

At first I thought it was a joke. I thought it was just a blip in the news cycle. But then a reporter said that America had been watching the saga of the dead blonde's court battle for a week. A week!? Here's a news flash: she is still dead and she will have to be buried somewhere. Why does anyone but those who knew her care?

Honestly, I've been present at a couple of hundred burials and with all the opportunities for visitation before me, I only visit a dozen or so grave sites. Is America really planning on laying flowers at the grave of someone who was famous for being famous?

Of course not, you say.
Silly minister, you say. That's not why we are watching. We are watching because...

Now think.
Think a good long minute. There is no ending to that sentence that is at all flattering to you. None whatsoever.

Just as there is no good reason to watch serial killer movies, know the names of actors' offspring, or read any printed material in the grocery check out line. There is no good reason to gape at the misfortunes of others no matter how astonishing their physical appearance and public attention-seeking behavior.

I know why America is watching and I am disappointed in us all. It is unseemly. Tasteless. Disrespectful to self and others. Not to mention BORING. All the mysteries and marvels in the natural world around us, and we use our attention on this? If not star gazing or learning oceanography, we could at least be memorizing poetry, learning auto repair, feeding the hungry, curing athlete's foot. Instead we are keeping the Fox network afloat? Again, let me say, pathetic.

So, now I'm back from vacation and back to my crippled TV. Back to the world where people are all kinds of shapes, sizes, and colors. (And where in my circles at least, the blondes are pretty much like the rest of us, but look better in pastels and white.) The world where potty training is news. The world where I wouldn't have time to watch TV even if my TV worked. (Netflix is making a fortune off of us.) And while I am disgusted at what passes for news in this country, I'm also wiser from the experience.

I noticed this morning that what drew my eye to the paper was a very lovely dress on an actor, not a well-written commentary or investigative report. I noticed that I read the comics before I read the world news. I noticed that I wanted to read the recipes, the personal interest columns, the weather even, all to avoid the news from the war or the local crime report. I noticed that paying attention to the stupid and ludicrous is easier than being a good citizen. And that is what all this pathetic gossip which is news in drag, bad drag is: EASY.

It's Easy, this celebrity rubber-necking. I understand but I'm just not a fan of Easy. When the time comes for the news networks to have marathons on where Easy will be buried I'll be otherwise occupied visiting the graves of Difficult and Unwieldy, Confusing and Depressing, and Amazingly Complex. Those graves have been around for years and could use some flowers. But then again, Easy doesn't look like it's dying any time soon.

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