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The World Through A Fish Eye Lens

“Back in my day” is certainly an overused phrase amongst the older generation, and it used mainly to promote their distaste for society and how it has gone downhill, but that doesn’t make their statements any less true. In the most recent decades, America has advanced as a society, coming into an age of technology and media sensationalism. The world around us may be changing, but human nature is not.

Back in the day things really were quite different, but some things never change, like society’s obsession with the lives of others. Time may have passed, but there’s not much of a difference in people’s obsession with celebrities and the latest gossip. When technology was a luxury you wouldn’t have turned on the six o’clock news and seen the blank face of a celebrity as they stumbled out of a Hollywood club. In the past, if you wanted to know about current events you would check the bulletin board at your local market, check the newspaper or even stay up-to-date with primitive versions of today’s tabloids, but that didn’t mean gossip wasn’t as prevalent. Is being able to follow everything about everyone more productive or destructive?

To corporations, publishers, and producers, it’s all a game, a competition to see who can get the best story. It’s not that people care so much about the celebrities themselves, people just have this insatiable thirst for gossip that explains our fascination with Hollywood “news” shows, reality television, and tabloids. It’s human nature.
There’s something to be said when some of the most popular television shows are Jersey Shore and 16 and Pregnant. There’s something to be said when Britney Spears’ shaved head is plastered on every magazine and stacked on every newsstand in this country. There’s something to be said when every teenager girl in America is convinced that she’s going to marry Justin Bieber. There’s something to be said when the only thing that people seem to care about anymore is what everyone else is doing. We can say a lot of things, but should what we’re saying be positive?
When news of Bill Clinton’s “scandal” was released, members of the press ate it up like starving hounds, people turned against him and his moral standing was questioned. When Tiger Woods was revealed as a serial adulterer he was promptly ostracized, dropped as a sponsor and recommended to make amends with a public apology. When charges were first raised against Casey Anthony things were relatively calm, but before long they escalated to great heights. The trial was followed extensively and even the verdict of not guilty brought outrage to the people. Not only is the extent to which we become obsessed excessive, our involvement is arguably unnecessary.
Bill Clinton’s scandal doesn’t affect his ability to be president nor does it warrant hatred from citizens as they’re involved in no way. Tiger Woods’ adultery shouldn’t have been as big of a deal as it was, the people shouldn’t have cared, and Woods’ shouldn’t have been all but forced to address the issue in public as the people were involved in no way. Casey Anthony’s trial should have been a private matter with little to no coverage from national media and people shouldn’t have been as upset with the verdict as they were because they shouldn’t have been so involved in the first place. People feel as though they have the right to know when in reality they don’t.
Maybe people have boring lives, so they compensate by following the interesting life of someone famous. Maybe people want to feel better, so they use the downfall of others to bring themselves up. There are plenty of excuses as to why society is so obsessed with gossip, but maybe if people paid half the attention to their own life that they pay to the lives of others, humanity would be better off.



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