Privacy and the Public Persona


Vultures hard at work

Culture vultures hard at work

As aggrieved as many people are for the loss of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, and Billy Mays, one can understand how the outpouring of sadness and sympathy can turn into a national near-obsession.  That being said, one must also find the brake pedal for the intrusion into a celebrity’s private life, especially for the sake of the family.  This level of feeding frenzy is reminiscent of vultures on a carcass.

As the national media has covered the death of Michael Jackson, every one of the channels has discussed his will, the custody of his children, the relationship he had with his father, and even the paternity and maternity of his children. 

Has his family not one iota of permission to grieve over the loss of their son/brother/father in peace?  Is it not enough that we have used Mr. Jackson as fodder for our discussions about his unusual behavior, questionable actions, and ever-changing appearance for the past forty years?

The man is dead.  Dead.  There is no more Michael Jackson in the assemblage of six billion people on the planet.  Certainly his music lives on, as does his family; however, can we simply allow his passing to be handled respectfully and lovingly? 

We are culture vultures.  We scavange on every morsel of information as though it were our last meal.  We tear apart every facet of a celebrity’s private life as though we had a right to it because we spent a few dollars on their albums.  We are shameless as a people when it comes to our celebrities.

When President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was Commander-in-chief, not one newspaper ever showed a photograph of him in his wheelchair.  Not one outlet discussed his polio.  Certainly, no one discussed in the newspaper or on the newsreel about the infidelities within his marriage.  It was understood that President Roosevelt deserved his privacy and that this level of exposure would be detrimental to our society and standing in the world of the day.

We haven’t one ounce of that sense left.  We’re like the fools who shoot guns in the air because we have them and we want to show our power.  We don’t give a damn about where the bullets land.

Enough already.  Enough!

The news media is making the news, not reporting the news.  They have not got a clue as to what is appropriate any more.  Between our government and our media, we are a shell of our previous selves.  

What a tragic statement about who we’ve become – a bunch of Jerry Springer guest-wannabes who shout at the top of their lungs to make their point and battle on subjects they know nothing about. 

Isn’t it time we go back to our trailer parks, have a cool one, do some honest self-reflection about who we’ve become and how we got here rather than dissecting the lives of people we’ve never, ever met?

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