Entertainment Tonight. Extra. TMZ. E! Television.
How many television “news” programs do we need dedicated to the inauthentic? I don’t mean to offend, ok perhaps I do a little. I love film and television as much as the next guy – or perhaps a bit more than the average bear since I’ve dedicated my life to pursue a career as an actor – but how many shows do we need to focus on Angelina Jolie‘s dress or marriage? How is that relevant to anyone but Angelina Jolie, her dress-maker and her family? Why do we need to know about this? I’m certain if there was some lesson to learn, some great truth to mine from the inner working of the stunning Miss Jolie’s private life, we’d be better off hearing it from her, in a manner and forum of her own choosing, and not from the mouth of Billy Freaking Bush.
Last night as I was attempting to do some work, my roommate was unwinding with a bit of television. Try as I might to avoid being distracted, it was a fruitless effort. For nearly two hours, spanning four different shows, I hear report after report about which Super Bowl Commercial people liked best. Who cares? Clearly enough people care such that all of the entertainment “news” shows have to run stories on them. Not only the fake news shows, but the “real” news shows – and I say “real” in quotations because, let’s be honest, our news programs have become what was brilliantly parodied in NETWORK. I know, I know, “with the advent of the internet where people can get their news on a moments notice, news shows must go “outside the box” to keep viewers interested.” With all do respect, that is bullshit. Yes, it is difficult to attract viewers, but must you attract viewers with the lowest common denominator? Must we resort to the vapid, the banal? And it’s worse than that isn’t it? Focusing on who is sleeping with who under the bright lights of Hollywood or what the cast of JERSEY SHORE is doing outside of their cages is more than pointless – it is damaging. It makes the unimportant important. It becomes part of our collective consciousness. It permeates our collective souls.
I can’t help but be reminded of a brilliant and dark monologue from Eric Bogosian‘s TALK RADIO:
“Next month, millions of people are going to be listening to this show, and you have nothing to talk about! Marvelous technology is at your disposal, but instead of reaching up to new heights we’re going to see how far down we can go; how deep into the muck we can immerse ourselves. What do you want to talk about, hum? Baseball scores, your pet, orgasms? You’re pathetic. I despise each and every one of you. You have nothing, absolutely nothing! No brains, no power, no future, no hope, no god!”
He’s only partially wrong. We do have something, we have brains and power and passion and futures and hope. As far as God, I leave that up to the individual. But we have so much heart and spirit and intelligence and love and potential -we can rise above the crap or we can wallow in it. And yes, yes, sometimes its fun to wallow and we deserve that. But must EVERYTHING be shallow? Must we have competing television shows for our “wallow time”? Where is critical thought? Where is reasoning? Why are there so many stories about fame and fortune and shallow beauty and so few about strength and struggle and rising above the crap to become actually better, and not just looking better? Not just having more money but actually being more?
OK, rant is over.