Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Celebrity Fatigue

I was living in the Dominican Republic when the Lísten Diario scooped the U.S. media on Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley’s secret wedding, performed at the home of a Dominican judge near La Vega during the summer of 1994. At the time, neighboring Haiti was suffering an economic embargo, causing floods of refugees to pour over the border into the D.R. or set sail for Florida on rickety yolas. The U.S. Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba was filled to overflowing with both Haitian and Cuban refugees. And far away on the other side of the globe, the Rwandan genocide was in full swing. Given those realities, the scandal surrounding the Jackson-Presley wedding seemed a bit trivial.

So trivial, in fact, that I had totally forgotten about it.

Until the saga of the late Anna Nicole Smith and Bahamian immigration minister Shane Gibson.

This past six months has been a bad case of déjà vu as the media has spared no efforts to keep us fully abreast of every sordid detail of the developing scandal.

So I was pleased to see that Pastor Jim Evans' column on the cult of celebrity put words to much of my thoughts on this matter.

Amongst other things, Pastor Jim argues that "this celebrity obsessed voyeurism serves as a terrible distraction from what is really real going on around us. We are distracted from a terrible war, and endangered environment. We are distracted from an economy that constantly generates new levels of poverty, all while the rich get richer."

He goes on to suggest that "Perhaps it's time to turn the television off and begin the process of building a real life. Maybe visit a sick friend, or do a kindness for a neighbor. Strengthen a relationship, or go out and make a new one. Do something other than wallowing in the misery of make-believe people. Go out and get a life that really means something. The celebs will be just fine without us watching."

Preach it, brother!



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