The past decade has given rise to a new type of celebrity: the non-celebrity.
Thanks to plummeting morals and a lack of standards, Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian and Nicole Richie are all considered famous.
Yet among the three of them you would be hard-pressed to find one discernible skill. Well, unless you count anything you saw in a certain sex tape … er, I mean, “home video.”
The general “dumbing down” of America is spreading through our nation at an accelerated rate. The media caters to this trend of idolizing talentless hacks &- actually, hack is too good a word for them.
Being a hack implies that you at least attempt a trade even if you are not good at it. Think Dane Cook. But these people are just narcissists who enjoy the unearned fame that was given to them.
These people come from privileged backgrounds and have been spoiled since birth. Their sense of entitlement, while often sickening, is at least understandable.
Knowing that Hilton exists is an unfortunate fact of life. But knowing that she influences the minds of young people is disconcerting.
As a society, we are to blame. It has been seven years since Hilton’s show “The Simple Life” premiered and featured her selfishness, disregard for others, and her ability to treat people without a modicum of respect.
By watching, we contributed to its high ratings and five seasons. We have been enablers.
This started a dangerous and possibly invincible cycle. A “nobody” plucked from a small town becomes reality show star.
Another “nobody” sees this and ceases any attempt to develop a skill or unique personality because it is no longer necessary to obtain success.
Nowhere is this more evident than on the MTV show “Jersey Shore.” The cameras roll as eight young Italian-Americans live together, fight, party and hook up. That’s it. That’s the show.
There is no plot. It lacks the intrigue you would find in a well-made documentary. It has no character growth.
These people seem absolutely content in their ways. They even came up with a way of abbreviating their daily routine. GTL. Gym. Tan. Laundry.
It is almost Buddhist in its simplicity and almost Satanic in its veiled evil.
MTV makes millions of dollars on a show whose characters’ main concerns are staying fit, becoming so tan their skin turns orange and wearing clean clothes every day.
How are they continuing to trick people into watching it? By years of calculated brainwashing.
Viewers have slowly been fed more and more mindless programming over the years.
Those who watch “Jersey Shore” are becoming enamored with the Guido culture thanks to a band of anti-role models who somehow made being ignorant and one-dimensional desirable.
That is just swell, because today’s culture needs more people interested only in the most superficial aspects of life.
Lately, I cannot go to the gym without seeing a dozen guys lined up at the mirror, staring at their arms that are covered in meaningless tribal tattoos. They use such a grotesque amount of hair product that when I go outside I cannot tell if the sidewalk had been crawling with snails or guidos.
“Those people seem to be so gullible to pop culture,” said Kayla Wright, former 24 Hour Fitness employee and senior international relations major. “And that’s just sad for them.”
The pop culture these people are succumbing to is not anything thought-provoking, progressive or of social worth.
Forget the arts. Forget public service. Forget the rest of the world.
The guido culture is like a preview of what the rest of our society is so desperately trying to become. It seems that we are quickly becoming a society that aims for the middle. How else can you explain the success of Nickelback and the Transformers movies?
Those forms of “art” are an unfortunate sign of the times. Nickelback and the “Transformers” franchise represent the zero-thought, zero-effort mindset that so many have adopted. Fans just want the same old cookie-cutter entertainment with which they are comfortable.
Where past generations will be remembered for arts and revolutionary social movements, we are on track to be remembered for a lack of ambition and a wealth of shallow desires.
This is not a certainty, but could be a harsh reality if we do not reverse course.
So please, the next time you see Snooki’s gut or Pauly D’s dynamite smile on your TV screen, just change the channel.
We owe it to our future generations to keep these figures away from the general public.
Unless, of course, you like the sound of President “Situation.”
Dante Frattini can be reached at [email protected]