Monday, April 30, 2012

Why I can't take my eyes off the train wreck

I have to admit it.  I am mesmerized by a social train wreck.  Remember Britney Spears and the head shaving, umbrella wielding episodes?  Remember the Alec Baldwin and the American Airlines outburst or the rant he had on his daughter's voicemail?  How about good old Mel Gibson and his drunken tirade?  How about the ongoing saga of Lindsay Lohan?  I can't wait to see how the Elizabeth Taylor movie turns out.  Let's guess... fiasco?  I could go on and on with celebrity train wrecks.  Between Perez Hilton, TMZ, E!, and more and more than I can count or even look up on the internet, there is nothing more entertaining or profitable than a celebrity train wreck.  It's sad, but true.  If you think you're above all of this because you don't buy the tabloids or watch tv, don't kid yourself.  Did you watch the computer-shooting-dad on facebook?  Yeah, I thought you did.  Why are we fascinated by these people?

So why do we do it?  First of all, we do it because everybody is talking about it.  We want to feel connected to the people.  Whatever bad feelings we may feel from gawking at the celebrity antics are outweighed by the fear of being left out of the loop.  It's one thing to catch a glimpse of a tabloid headline or magazine cover while waiting in the check-out line at the grocery store.  It's the same with channel surfing and catching a newsflash or tease on an entertainment network.  However, in these days of YouTube and social media these events are available world wide in a matter of seconds.  Not only are these events available to view, but these events are interactive.  The viewer can add their comments to the YouTube posting.  The reader can share the event on their facebook page and comment or pontificate away.  And if a blogger decides to sink their teeth into one of these train wrecks... well, then I guess we get to read their opinion of whatever incident is titillating the nation (or world, for that matter) at the time.  We find ourselves with a front row seat of the latest train wreck, or we can hang back in the shadows of cyberspace.  Either way, we not only have the pleasure of viewing, but can affect the course of events with our commenting, viewing and blogging.  Awesome.

Of course, as with anything, too much of even a good thing isn't good for you.  It isn't good to have too much fascination with train wrecks, celebrity or otherwise.  You have to "check yourself before you wreck yourself."  Are you spending too much time looking at profiles and pictures?  Have you found yourself trying to connect with these people?  Are you lying to yourself or others about the time you spend seeking information about them?  Are you neglecting your real life responsibilities?  The answers to these questions will reveal if you have slid too far down the slippery slope of gawking.  You may be causing a giant tie-up on the freeway of your life.  You will begin to annoy those traveling the road of life alongside and behind you.

This morbid curiosity we find in observing a Charley Sheen rant or a facebook drama has been around since the beginning of time.  We can always look at the situation and be glad this isn't us.  We can step quite close to the edge of craziness and get a good close-up view of it.  We can watch people make decisions that may put their lives or the lives and well being of their families in jeopardy and avoid any involvement or responsibility whatsoever.  It offers an escape from the hum-drum of our day-to-day lives and gives us the excitement of being close to the danger without actually stepping out on that ledge.

We've all been the star of a curiosity show in our lives.  We may have lost our temper in the grocery store with our kids.  (There's some good entertainment.)  Or fought with our sister-in-law at Christmas dinner in front of the entire family.  (Here's something that can be rehashed every Christmas from now on.)  Maybe we've had too much to drink at an office party.  (Boy, don't say you didn't make an impression with your boss.)  Or what about the dreaded "walk of shame" from a college frat party.  (Fingers crossed, yearbook photo!)  But, we don't have to suffer being the spectacle that celebrities going off the deep end into insanity suffer.  No paparazzi are hiding in our bushes.  We don't have to write about our family troubles or money troubles in our blogs.  We can keep our facebook status pleasant and not air our dirty laundry on the newsfeed.  We don't have to be the advice giving well intentioned facebook friend.  Most people aren't interested in helping or even being sympathetic.  Most are looking for a show, and when you provide a show, people are going to watch.

198.  IT people who know what they are doing (I hope one comes to my office tomorrow)
199.  A reader with a skin care line and the kindness to send bunches of samples
200.  The cleansing effects of fire
201.  Good neighbors
202.  Bloggers without a filter


  1. oh yeah, set yourself on fire and hte world will watch you burn but to what end...have you seen the fiat commercial with charlie sheen and his ankle bracelet on house arrest...ugh, what are we coming to?

  2. Exactly.  My fear is that there are people, regular everyday people, who know believe they have to act in outrageous ways to get attention.  So they do outrageous and reckless things and put it on the internet.  It's a sad state of affairs.

  3. That's why I keep personal issues off my blog (and there are some.)  And also why I stopped watching those "entertainment" shows that come on at 7:30pm.  I have no interest in the train wrecks.  :)

  4. I truly don't understand people blogging personal things, but then being upset when these same personal things are commented upon.  If you don't want to hear the answer, don't ask the question.  :)

  5. People are just attracted to drama.  It's been going on since the beginning of time!!  I need to research and see if drama is good for our souls.  ;)


Comments from my readers bring sunshine to my day. They make me so happy.