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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Cult of Personality

One of my favorite songs is the late 80's classic Cult of Personality from the once defunct, now re-constituted group Living Colour. A funk-rock groove fronted by the amazing vocals of Corey Glover, the song was - and is - a protest anthem against the mindless glorification of celebrity. I was listening to the song the other day, pondering the lyrics, and couldn't help but think of Paris Hilton and her brood, all lost souls, all constant figures in the media. The newspapers and news shows thrust these overgrown bratlings upon us as lives worth noting, yet from the murmurings on the message boards, the streets, and in the offices, there's an obvious resentment from those of us who are supposed to be worshipping at their altars. Because basically, we're sick of them. At least I know I am. When breakdowns arise from excess instead of the day-to-day travails of striving and trying to earn a living for ourselves and our families, it is hard to garner sympathy for these young woman, Hilton, in particular. And it is equally a travesty that these lives have unrelentingly been pushed in our faces as newsworthy.

So it is a refreshing breath of sanity to learn that at least one news anchor has said enough to the idolatry. MSNBC anchor Mika Brzezinski said "no" not once, not twice, but three times when told to lead the news with the latest on Paris Hilton. She refused to push the Hilton story before important political news about Iraq (you know that little squirmish which has cost thousands of lives and billions of American dollars). The first time she refused to read the script, Ms. Brzezinski apologized to the viewing audience, noting that she had not chosen to lead with the Hilton story. Her disconcerted co-anchor tried to laugh off the refusal, but she repeated her boycott during the next time slots. The second time she saw that her news manager still had Hilton at the top of the news, Brzezinski asked for a lighter, which was promptly snatched away before she could set the script aflame. The third time, a frustrated Brzezinski simply shredded the script in a nearby paper shredder.

Thanks to YouTube, Ms Brzezinski has become a hero, not only in the States, but worldwide, for her refusal to perpetrate the ridiculous cult of personality that Paris Hilton has become. Noteworthy for nothing more than being born into a wealthy family, Ms. Hilton is a public relations creation that has run amok. She definitely does not deserve a slot above the lives being lost over in Iraq, or even for that matter, the economic news, the local crime news, the weather, the sports or the little anchor bantering in between. In other words, she deserves no news time whatsoever. Yes, she can fill the Hollywood gossip rags, for which she is fair fodder. But let's not attribute unwarranted importance on her antics.

So a hearty heads up to Mika Brzezinski, my hero of the moment.

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Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 7/07/2007 04:42:00 PM Permanent Link     | | Home


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