Oprah for president. She is reported to have received a thundering applause from celebrities attending the Oscar whatever. Yeah, yes, go for it. Her home was one of those hit by the recent mud slides in an affluent neighborhood of California. She’s a TV star. She hosted her own show entertaining millions of us for years. She’s African-American. She’s a woman. She’s known all over the world. Her name is familiar to everyone. She’s a world traveler. She supports civil rights. She’s been seen giving food to the homeless in Africa. She can give a speech without a script. She’s rich and famous. What more could we want.
According to some recent polls, Oprah would out star Trump in the 2012 elections by 10 points or more.
Trump was a celebrity. Obama was provided celebrity status. Clinton was a celebrity.
Merriam-Webster defines it as “the state of being celebrated.” Society celebrates these icons, luminaries, megastar somebodies as standouts and super-stars because they’re a VIP, because one-day in the past they were a nobody, or they were born as a VIP.
One must be a celebrity to win the adulation of enough people to win an election. Your name must be known. Your face must be recognizable. What you have said must be popular. There must be an attractive nature to your voice. You must be good on the eyes. When the media likes you, they will hold back private investigators from digging deep into secret pages of your history.
If you’re not known well-enough to get the attention of the media, forget it.
The media? An entire cyclopedia collection could be and has been written about the media, about the effect of television and this global internet on the populace. Newspapers are losing ground, are looking for ways to keep and attract more readers. Newsmagazines are losing subscribers. Broadcast news finds something to grab our attention in-between commercials that grab our attention.
So, what are we doing with the time? Quietly listening to Beethoven and Bach is out and Hip Rap Rock is in. Kids are spending play time playing games on-line and the 60” screen. Riding a bicycle thru the neighbor hood is dangerous. Playing choose-your team games after school has been handed over to professionals. Education is common-core so no child should repeat a grade or get a “D”.
Technocracy has taken over. Social media is outdoing personal conversational time together over a hot cup of coffee.
We must be busy all the time. We must be involved in something all the time. To sit and just watch nature for ten minutes, for half an hour is not even imaginable. To be quiet enough to hear the trees whistle, the birds chirp, the waters ripple has been put aside for the noise on the screen.
In these retirement years I spend the mornings reading the latest that technology brings to my eyes. Push a button and there it is right before me to digest or just read passing the time: the newest and latest, the newest updates on yesterday’s new news. On and on it goes, day-in day-out 24/7. I have my favorite tabs ready to be opened to pass more time, and then saved in the history folder to be brought up to read and watch again.
We get irritated when someone offends our sensibilities. We write a comment if the writer of a post missed a point that was more important than the point the originator of the post was pointing out.
Are we there yet? Have we become a nation, a world that amuses ourselves to death? Have we become a nation of heretics?
- Neil Postman | Penguin Books Publisher
- Ross Douthat | Free Press Publisher