Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Schadenfreude


scha·den·freu·de (shäd'n-froi'də)
n. Pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.

[German : Schaden, damage (from Middle High German schade, from Old High German scado) + Freude, joy (from Middle High German vreude, from Old High German frewida, from frō, happy).] cite

I've been feeling dirty lately. Maybe it's media overload, maybe it's my conscience waking up, maybe it's just about time. I've been doing the daily (multiple times daily) perusal of the t.v. news and entertainment channels, surfing local and other blogs, and going to my favorite news websites. I keep finding myself left with this bad taste in my mouth, as if I've consumed something that looked good, but didn't taste how it looked and now I feel guilty for consuming it.

My son actually made me notice this last weekend. While surfing channels during the commercials from Ninja Warrior, I happened upon some sort of celebrity biography show, it may have been on Brad Pitt, I don't know, but my son said, "who cares?" At that moment, I wondered, "yes, who does care, and why?"

I don't know Brad Pitt. I've never met the man, yet here I am being told his life story, with pictures, and learning all sorts of intimate details of his life. When did this become news? When did this become acceptable? We've always done this as a species, I believe, watching what our neighbors were doing, gossiping, talking and stirring up drama. This moved to a national and then international stage with the advent of media and celebrities. But it's still being nosy and in other people's business.

Some will say, "well they put themselves out there, what do you expect?" That's akin to saying a rape victim was asking for it because she dressed provocatively. Does anyone really ever ask for this level of invasion of their privacy, this level of disruption of their daily lives? You can say this comes with the territory of fame, but I disagree.

This became a certainty for me this morning while watching the morning news. The "Divorce" of reality t.v. stars Jon and Kate Goselin was the hop topic for all the stations. I sat there watching the interviews with Jon and Kate. (I'd already seen them last night while watching their reality t.v. show.) But today, as I saw the pain in Kate's eyes, in the clear light of day, I remember saying to M, "I can't imagine having to go through something like that and then have to have the world watching and explain it to them."

I don't believe Jon and Kate signed on to have people peaking in their windows, publishing their dirty laundry in tabloid magazines, or having paparazzi stalking their children with telephoto lenses 24/7. I'm sure they understood there would be some intrusion into their private lives, but they could not have anticipated just how much people, strangers, would invade the privacy of their homes and lives. I don't feel good about consuming this tabloid fodder.

I stopped buying tabloids for the most part years and years ago, yet I'm still guilty of looking at the headlines in the checkout line. I still stop on the celebrity news shows while channel surfing, and I don't know how to kick this habit. I can turn off the t.v. or change the channel. I can stop buying the daily rags. I can try to tune out whenever this stuff comes on, but it's on ALL THE TIME! EVERYWHERE! How do you stop a cultural trend? Unplug completely?

I feel guilty for participating in all this. I feel sympathy for Kate. Knowing how violated I felt the few times I was dragged onto local blogs for my political activities, I can't begin to imagine the stress she's under or how violated she feels. Because as bad as it is to have the facts of your life out there, there are also the lies. People do lie, they do it to sell their product and get rich. People also pass judgment from the outside looking in and their judgment is often more harsh than anyone deserves. How do you recover from something like that? I feel like an apology is in order to those celebrities whose lives have been turned into living hells and then we should all just turn our backs on this culture, this cult of celebrity, this diet of foulness that we're being fed and demand something else. Just say no.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bet if more people would wake up and smell the roses, and started turning off the tv, they might just eventually get the hint, that it's nothing but garbage, and who really cares how many children Madona or any one else can adopt. Or who is sleeping with whom. Or who does their makeup, hair, or whose clothing is being worn. Every time someone turns on plugs into, whatever the media presents to our population, its telling them it is ok and acceptable, and there is a whole list of, things they think " media & special interest" The country as a whole should buy into. And I say bull- Our children should be given spankings when necessary, (not beatings) Marriage is between a man and a woman. (Civil Unions) are a different matter and should be done to protect, people and children. And health insurance(care) should be available to every one. There should be limits on wages, for corporate big shots. And why should any sports player be idolized or be paid millions for throwing a ball or kicking a ball. And I celabrate Christmas because it is the birth of Jesus, not because winter is a reason to rejoyce and buy presents. So poop on Happy Holidays, May I say Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah which every greeting is appropate.
Sorry so long and rambling today they announced the "latest new health" Guess they are letting us know now so we can decide if we would like to eat or have health insurance. That is mind you if not one of the 750 - 800 slated for layoffs in the next few weeks. Sorry, and there is no one here to talk to Marilyn is gone. p

PS. This rant was not intended to offend but express my beliefs.

Anonymous said...

I must add if happen to see an interesting headline regarding aliens, I always stop and read it one never knows. :)

Vancouver Voyeur said...

Pat, perfectly understandable. I meant to call you this weekend. Owego made the Washington Post on Sunday about the layoffs. Hope you hold onto your job. As for the aliens, I agree. ;-)

Larena said...

I stopped buying the tabs when they killed the Princess......
a picture may be worth a thousand words but life is worth far more, the media thinks they own Jon & Kate, She can be a bitch but whom amoung us cannot ?, tho I think if you were to meet her she is just the same on camera as off,( I could be wrong ) Judge not, as you shall be judged likewise....

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

This entire phenomenom of so called "reality" shows" is just about the lowest that society has sunk to...I'm truly not interested in John and Kate--never saw the show and didn't even know who they were...AND still don't. Here is the thing about them and "The REAL HOUSEwIVES fron Anywhere"...they want their 15 minutes of fame and they get paid for it. If you choose to be on one of these exploitive shows---I'm sorry, but you get what you deserve.
Actors and Actresses--Celebrities who give the public something that has nothing to do with their "personal" lives, do NOT deserve this invasion, and never did. But, when the Tabloids came into being back in the early
1950's....everything became fodder. The people who publish these papers HAVE to come up with crap....How it filtered into TV...God only knows...And now, it has filtered into our "news" shows...WHAT?????...It is all sick, beyond words, and it is ALL about "selling soap", if you get my meaning...It is about selling papers and products and it is about GREED at any cost.
It is wtong, on any level. But human nature being what it is----I don't see this ever ending--In fact, horrible though it may be---it can only get worse. All of this is just one more indication of the breakdown of society and how far we have fallen into the mire.
The end of the world as we knew it....is here!

And on and on and on

Still busy!  Surprised?  I think this is just the state of my life.  I'm teaching an on-line course, traveling three weeks in a row (MD,...