Saturday, April 7, 2007

America's obsession with celebrity

Oprah Winfrey had an interesting show on America's obsession with celebrities on Friday. Oprah quoted the American Journalism Review that "Martha Stewart's legal troubles received five times as much coverage on network news as the genocide in Darfur." (Oprah website) "The Project for Excellence in Journalism claims that in the first few days after Anna Nicole Smith's death, her story consumed 50 percent of cable news airtime-more than the Super Bowl or the war in Iraq." (Oprah website) It is amazing that such devastating events as the genocide in Darfur receive so little air time. I also saw on another television program that more people could identify American Idol contestants than the candidates running for the President of the United States.

I will admit that I am somewhat obsessed with celebrities as I read Perez Hilton ( everyday just to keep up with what is going on in Hollywood. I am a pop culture addict. However, I do read the newspaper everyday and several online news sources in addition to the evening news. I can actually identify all the candidates running for President and can only identify one contestant from American Idol this year. I also watch Dancing With The Stars every week and participate in voting. I view this as a way to de-stress myself from the work of each day and to give my brain the rest that it needs from being a historian and teacher.

I find it sad that more people are not aware of what is going on in the world and that my students can name all of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's children then can name the current Speaker of the US House of Representatives. Many of my students vote to keep Sanjaya on American Idol every week than vote for President of the United States. I hope that as this generation gets older, they become more aware of what is really going on in the world such as Darfur, AIDS in Africa, the lack of health care in America and other important events than the fifth sequel of Fast and Furious.