Thursday, June 7, 2007

I Have To Go Off About This

As everyone knows, I try to avoid ranting because I have a problem of ending up in a completely different place than I started, but, for this rant, it is very, very simple: Paris Hilton is not news.

Today, I have seen the mainstream media obsess about Paris Hilton leaving jail to be placed under house arrest. She's not important at all. What has Paris Hilton actually done? What? Nothing at all. She opened her legs and got filmed doing it. Oh, and this is on top of her throwing homophobic and racial slurs around, dissing her friends, flaking out on appearances, and being a terrible role model for young girls who invariably follow her every waking move because any magazine with a mostly female readership is obligated to cover her.

Amongst other things that happened today, Oman got hammered by a cyclone which killed 25 people and another 26 are missing. We have suffered the 3,500th Death in Iraq today. We're already over that actually. Also, in a tie to Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine are about to go to war with each other. And we have President Bush in Germany endangering the long-term health of the planet by not accepting limits on carbon emissions. But, none of this is important. What is more important is the fact that a woman with no discernable talents of any sort is getting out of jail 20 days before she is supposed to.

Words do not express my anger at this situation. When I grew up (and this is like maybe 13-14 years ago), news was about important current events. It was a place that you went to learn about the day's happenings in the world, in Congress, in your local community. It was intended to be an informational source, keeping people up to date and making them effective, informed citizens. News departments were not held to the same standard as entertainment because news was never intended to be entertainment; it was intended to be informational, and information is not always the most exciting thing. Unfortunately, this ethos has disappeared. Now, when I open my RSS feed from supposedly the best name in journalism (CNN), I am surrounded with fluff pieces about Paula Abdul and Paris Hilton. This isn't news; this is entertainment. And entertainment is fine when it is not considered real news. But, when you start calling it real news, you are doing a disservice to the public at large.

The public has lost sources of news. They have been replaced with infotainment, some weird hybrid to attract people like me (youth demographics, 18-35) to it. But, on the contrary, it has repelled me. I think my breaking point was the commercial free coverage of Anna Nicole Smith. When it happened, I saw people pontificating and thinking about it and thought someone important had died. Then I realized: it's fucking Anna Nicole Smith, a gold digging has-been playmate.

I came to understand that my dreams of actual news on television that didn't involve white kids (they don't have by-the-minute coverage of searches for Black kids and we all know it), white girls (same logic as above plus girls are oh so useless, they can't do anything without the help of the mainstream media), and celebrities was exactly that: a dream. It actually makes me really sad to say that the news has become self-defeating. It really does. Between the run-up to the war, the non-stop coverage of reality programming like American Idol and Dancing with the Stars, and the constant coverage of Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton on CNN and MSNBC, the mainstream media is lighting its own path to self-destruction. Apparently, people dying in Iraq, the unfurling of the new Watergate, the lack of agreement on immigration, the disregard for civility in Washington, the rollback of Women's rights, the obstinacy of the Bush administration, and the allowance of torture and unjust military prisons isn't really important if Paris Hilton gets let out of jail early or a little pretty white girl is lost.

If I sound cynical, I am. I'm just fed up with the state of news right now. I want news to be news again instead of being bullshit like it is now. But, with the constant coverage of Paris Hilton, I'll be assured that this will not happen any time soon.