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Thread: Paris Hilton
June 27th, 2005, 07:02 PM #16
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I think this kind of malignacy has been growing in our society for awhile. Look at the Osbourne's, Anna Nicole, and the Gotti's. They are seriously impaired people who are making millions showing the world how spoiled, uncouth, degenerated, and stupid they are. My opinion is that our society is not necessarilly raising them up on a pedastool to worship them, but actually to ridicule them. I am taking this from an American Point of view, but it could hold for most of the civilized world. We like to make ourselves look better by putting others down.
We watch these people so that we can sit there and say "what asses" and "we would never be caught dead doing that". Then we laugh an make jokes about them. This is far easier to do then fix remove the mote from our own eye. I really do not watch these shows, but I know I am just as able to act the same way.
I have been watching this change for years. Just look at shows like Cheers, Drew Carey, and Frasier. I enjoyed some of them myself. In alot of cases they are harmless, but go back and look where most of the good jokes were. You'll proabaly find them in situations where someone is being put down or made a fool of. It kind of makes a myth out of the kinder, gentler nation. Just look at our current right wing government which finds it easier to call people traitors than to admit that they were wrong about the WMD's in Iraq and put down a lot of the democrats ideas but later adopted them themselves.
Unfortunatedly, as you have noted, our youth suffers because of this culture. We are so busy putting these people down that we don't take the time to make sure our children, who do not understand and are impressionable, don't become these people. Or else, we treat it as cute and don't take it serious until the damage is done. In my opinion, we are a lost people in the U.S. We got so caught up in our own grandness that we forgot how we got there. We are a nation of "Bling Bling" and not of substance.
I hope no one takes this personal because I am looking at our society as a whole not at individual people. There are still a lot of good people out there, I just think we have become lost and confused and afraid to speak.
June 27th, 2005, 07:57 PM #17Originally Posted by Prunesquallor
June 27th, 2005, 08:36 PM #18
I must disagree with the Osbournes being lumped in with the mass of the stupid and wretched. Ozzy is a very talented singer and has done a lot for Heavy Metal. Sharon is an extremely good business woman or Ozzy would have been extremely broke after Black Sabbath broke up.
Much of what you see in the Osbournes was all set up and 'retakes' to get the stupidity of the scene just right. That was all orchastrated by Sharon. This is why the show is off the air. People were catching on to the ruse.
As for the Paris epidemic: She's an idiot and people like to see rich idiots make fools of themselves so they can say "At least I'm broke and smart instead of rich and stupid." yet they'll crawl off the couch long enough to buy the latest Paris fashion and make her even richer.... or are they...
Paris is a dolt, that we all agree on. I think it was Gary that hit the nail on the head that people said "Hey, we can all get rich off this stipid rich person" and they are. I don't know if she's seeing any money and I don't know if she even cares.
What worries me is what Gary mentioned with the 'dollar-bill' club (I wonder if Bill should be capatilized). Kids being 'technically' virgins, but doing everything but having sex. And the kids get younger and younger each year. My daughter is 8 now and I'm concerened about other people's kids. I can control what happens in my home, but not someone else's. Having someone like Paris Hilton being a role model... come on. This is getting way out of control. She's famous for... being famous? Where's Woody Allen and Andy Worhol to explain things when you need them.
June 28th, 2005, 06:25 AM #19
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Yes Ozzy is a talented singer, which amazes me since he has done so much damage to himself with drugs, but that does not affect why most people watch the show. I also beleive that, while the show may not be an accurate depiction of their life, it may not be too far off the mark. If that is what happens when you make money, I'll stay poor.
Again, it is sad because the young are so easily impressed. They think it is great fun and try to imitate it without the full understanding of the conequences. The older generation is too busy either guiltily watching the shows to feel better about themselves or trying to make money off the shows (society as a whole, not the individual). They forget to tell the kids why these people aren't to be looked up to. Yes, they are making money,but they will never be truely happy. Look at Paris getting beat up by some guy. She will be nothing more than eye candy for some guy to strut around and beat up when she gets out of line. It is a shame that her parents have raised her so poorly. We, as a society, are also to blame because we encourage her.
Not all of us are caught up in this spiraling decay, even some of the youth, but most of us have lost our voice. The degenerate loving part of our society talks the loudest and the longest. Unfortunately, they also get the most attention. News of horrorible events or stupid people gets better ratings than positive new. That is a fact. I notice this problem in myself and I am astounded. I wonder why? No answer yet. Anyone have one to offer along with a solution.
June 28th, 2005, 06:58 AM #20
It's a world with lots of point of views; and any meaningful statement will be attached to one or more, but possibly not to others. If people are scared to offend (and there's always the possibility to offend someone with an apparantly innocent remark), then all that they can safely say is meaningless dribble. The success of bland stuff may derive from blandness/consumerism etc. being the smallest common denominator. It doesn't offend because it's basically pointless.
It appears that we've arrived at a point where pointlessness has turned into a point of its own, a kind of collective identity (most will want to distance themselves from in one way or another, but some might embrace it). So that Paris Hilton's/Ozzy Osbourne's behaviour is not so much immoral but a staged show of pointlessness; embracing the apparent meaninglessness of the medialandscape and focus on the "fun"-aspect.
This is paradoxical, because, in a way, celebrities nowadays serve as a reverse identity factor. We no longer define ourselves over the shared values people hold (Bob Dylan, anyone?), but according to who we "hate" most. And it's not even real hatred, most of the time. It's just a way to tell ourselves and others who we are by pointing out "I'm not like that."
So, we stage offensive behaviour in the media in order to distance ourselves from it. In the world as it is today, with a global media landscape, we have not yet found a way, it appears, to give positive examples without imposing our own values on others. So we take a detour over the bland, to say which kind of bland annoys us the most.
Just a theory, really, does it make any sense?
June 28th, 2005, 08:39 AM #21
Well let's think about what some of these people really represent. Paris Hilton, Ozzy Osbourne, Anna Nicole Smith etc. symbolize what to the people who watch them? There is nothing to emulate about them, nothing to praise. They are not beautiful people, they are all troubled and they all get into trouble. And yet, they are all financially successful pinups. Do enough people feel downtroden and dumb that they identify with them and envy them? Paris has the most carefree life and always had, but it was when she got caught on that video that she really made the headlines. So even with her, it was her travail that caused such a sensation.
What are the qualities that anyone would envy? Money, a rebellious nature, a seeming invulnerablity to behaviour that most of us believe would destroy our lives and entree to a world that was formerly closed to people of dubious moral character. They are accepted everywhere, just as Madonna at the court of Queen Elizabeth was, the modern day Marilyn Monroe curtseying to royalty but being more popular and influential than the Queen herself.
Marilyn Monroe, the ultimate American icon, was plagued by drugs and alchohol, sexual innuendos, depression and eratic behaviour, but she was vulnerable and beautiful. These people don't seem to me to have any qualities personally that are attractive.
I think the media shoves things down our throats in the attempt to make us believe what they decide might sell product, not what the public believes is beautiful or worthwhile. They tell us someone is beautiful and all the advertisers jump on the bandwagon, shoving the faces down our throats, when in fact most of the celebrities are not beautiful at all. Sure, beauty is relative, but I think most of us still see what we see, not what we are told to see. Our minds may not make that analysis, and we may wonder subconsciously why we don't think someone is really what we are told they might be by all the press. Look at Sarah Jessica Parker. She might be a nice girl, but really she's a dog to look at. She is plastered all over as a symbol of beauty. She looks like a blonde wicked witch of the west.
Why don't we protest? Why is there no outcry against the lowering of our asethetic standards? Why can't normal people simply say this is bullshit and it's time to stop? Why do we accept degenerate role models for our children? Who is running this show?
June 28th, 2005, 01:12 PM #22
Gary your posts read like someone struggling between being liberal and being conservative, and that amuses me because i find myself in the same position. On the one hand I want a free society, on the other I don't want pop culture forcing me to explain erectile dysfunction to my daughter before I decide to (well, you know what I mean).
I have to disagree with the approach that some posts are taking - "look how things have degenerated" - not because I think it is necessarily wrong, but because I think it is more helpful to look at what is constant about human beings - we are social animals and highly influenced by our community.
Gary, much of what you post reads like someone who wants to be (somewhat) morally conservative but who still interprets the world in a very liberal/individualistic way - you talk about what individuals admire, choose, etc. but this (IMO) misses what is really going on - people don't really choose to like a certain fashion in the fall, or suddenly grow interested in Tom Cruises superstitions. It happens because other people are talking about it. The media does bring it up, but it is giving us what we will watch, and what rewards it financially. The "pushing the boundaries" stuff is I think a result of our consumerism - we want NEW. What new? Whatever new stuff others are talking about.
Dawn I'm afraid that this
It's just a way to tell ourselves and others who we are by pointing out "I'm not like that."
June 28th, 2005, 01:41 PM #23
Yes, I struggle with that all the time, as a father, as a business person, as an author. Don't we all struggle with them if we think? Are any of us so certain? I have a bit of a problem with the simple labels to begin with. Liberal and conservative have taken on lives of their own, as if you must be one or the other, or else you just aren't really anything at all. I believe in some very fundamental values, and they are very personal. I need to be kind. I need to be gentle. I need to be sympathetic to all kinds of perspectives in order to attempt to understand them. In need to be sincere, as best as I can be. I am not mercenary and it hurts me to be mean. Cruelty is out of the question. The rest of my judgments I measure against these vague criteria. If they fit, they work for me. So naturally, I may be conservative on some issues and quite radical on others.
That was always how I approached things. I myself am a dichotomy of values. Even my appearance, my life style and my business relationships are unconventional. And yet I cannot condone behaviour that is mindless, regardless of the rights of a person to choose that path. I would not want to strip them of those rights to pursue their holy grail, whether it's trying to be a Hilton or the next Billy Graham. But I do have opinions.
June 28th, 2005, 02:39 PM #24Originally Posted by Prunesquallor
I think I'm having difficulties with this topic because the concept of role models is alien to me.
June 28th, 2005, 02:48 PM #25
Words, words, words, words, words...
Do you have heroes, Dawn? Do you model your behaviour on anyone, historical or contemporary? I too have no role models. There is no one specific whom I emulate. But role models need not always be people, do they?
June 28th, 2005, 04:30 PM #26
Well, I'm currently reading Ian McDonald's River of Gods (my first McDonald in a decade and he's one of my favourite authors!), and I notice how much an influence he's had on my writing style. I also remember thinking, "God, I'd like to be able to write like that." In that sense, yes, I would say, I have "heroes"; people I appropriate techniques from.
However, I never said things like, "I gotta wear this or that, because X wears it." Not even as a kid. I always got off on differences. When I liked actors as a kid, I didn't want to be like them; I wanted to be with them. I wanted to be useful to them. Liking an actor made me want to write a movie he could play in, for example. It's always been a social thing; I wanted to be useful, I didn't want to emulate.
When I saw those Disney movies where the kids pin up posters and say "When I grow up I'm going to be a astronaut just like X", I couldn't relate. Posters were imaginary friends, not role models.
Throwing around names (I like Bowie, you know?) is fun; it's like wearing clothes. It's a signal, a communication device. Celebrities/Famous persons stand for something, so you can refer to that and don't have to start from scratch. You can point out the differences/nuances later.
I won't base my behaviour on role models and I won't conform to a pre-fabricated codex. The continuity provided by genetics/upbringing/the stars ( ) etc. is enough for me, not because I think I shouldn't (it's not something I really think about) but because I don't know how.
June 28th, 2005, 05:31 PM #27
Paris is the new American Dream though guys. You can have it all and puke on it too!
Half the people who watch this crap will tell you how much they hate it. What they don't seem to get is that one dollar= one vote. I'm free from all that garbage because I hardly watch tv. When I was living at dad's for 6 months his gf and her daughters would harrangue me for playing video games (there's like a real world out there blah blah blah meanwhile I got out like every weekend) meanwhile her daughters she's raised are watching like all this "reality" tv (there's really nothing real about a single damn second of it) and raising hell all over town (I have a story that relates to a comment you made earlier gary but it's terrible and I'd feel bad putting it on the internet). Let me say on one hand that if you guys think the kids these days are having sex without quite having sex I disagree and on the other hand that for stupid people it's never been a better time to destroy your life.
It all boils down to the media and how many people are screaming for it to make their lives simpler though. I honestly think that people today are insane because of it. That seems like a strong word but everyone's priorities are all messed up today.
BTW I have no one I would point to as a role-model per se, when I was very young I took Master Yoda's lessons very seriously in the Empire Strikes Back though. And really, the seductive easiness of doing the wrong thing was a good thing to be tuned into back then. I have a lot of decisions in my life I can look back and be proud of because of it.
June 28th, 2005, 06:14 PM #28
I have to admit that I never really had any role models in my life either. The adults I grew up around were troubled and more like children than the children were. I always admired musicians and I suppose I would have liked to be a singer/songwriter who traveled around and entertained, but not any one in particular. I wanted to be able to write verse like Leonard Cohen and sing like Tim Hardin, live a full life like Joni Mitchell and have a big, loving family like the Grateful Dead.
One of the most incredible compliments that my kids give me is that they tell me how much of a role model I am for them. I am very very close with my children and it means more to me to hear that than most other things. But the responsiblity of it also weighs heavily upon my shoulders. I feel the burden of it all the time, which is probably why I am so compulsive and such a workaholic. I need to maintain the respect from the people I love. There si too much at stake.
June 28th, 2005, 06:28 PM #29everyone's priorities are all messed up today.
**sigh** This thread is depressing me. You can say that humanity always stays the same, and that's true to an extent, but all I know is that when I was a kid (in the 80's) Paris Hilton would have never been a star, unless it was a porn star. She never would have been mainstream. It would have been impossible. Our society is changing, and at a frightening speed.
You can also say that nobody idolizes her, her fans are really just laughing at her, but then that behaviour is disturbing too. What is wrong with our society that so many of us feel so bad about ourselves that we'll spend hours each day watching tv shows about idiots just to make us feel better? Wouldn't we be better off concentrating on the good in the world, on improving the world and ourselves, instead of giving all our attention to worthless filth?
June 28th, 2005, 06:50 PM #30all I know is that when I was a kid (in the 80's) Paris Hilton would have never been a star
maybe you want to say they are different, because they have some talent. Well, maybe. I would say people just like Hilton are forgotten 20 years later.