We live in a strange world when Miley Cyrus's twerking is more important (and more interesting) than massive, documented genocide in Syria. I'd love to be shocked at the lack of empathy... but I'm too angry to be shocked. I've love to be outraged at many peoples' [apparent] lackadaisical, "I-don't-give-a-shit-because-it's-not-happening-to-me-or-my-family" attitude... but I'm too pissed off. I'd love to tell someone about it... if I could only get their glossy, unblinking eyes off their cell phones as they discuss/comment/view/refresh/send animated GIFs/reblog/tweet/post about Miley's ass jiggling against Robin Thicke's junk.
From a branding and awareness-building standpoint, Miley (and her PR team) totally did their jobs. Nothing better than becoming the next crazed teen star gone wrong. Hell, I'm sure Lindsey Lohan was thinking of readmitting herself to rehab just to maintain relevance. Even Kim Kardashian had to highlight her hair this week (she's now a J.Lo doppelgänger) just to stay at the very edge of the spotlight.
"Celebrities" of this kind scurrying around in a vain effort to be validated... to stay important. But who's really at fault? Is it the celebrity, with their attention-whore-ish approach to fame? Is it their PR team, who furthers the message? Is it the media, who pushes and pushes and PUSHES these makeshift, faux icons onto the public-at-large? No. The answer is D: None of the above.
The fault... is ours.
As the recipients and audience for this yellow journalism and trash TV, we are not only saying, "Yes! More, please! And put some stank on it!", we are encouraging and empowering the second and third-level celebrities-on-the-rise with a powerful message: Normal will not make you famous. Positively effecting the world around you will not give your fame staying power. You need to be outrageous. You need to shock. You need to "leak" video of you in a full-blown porn (pun intended) to garner attention... and then — you need to raise the shock bar... OFTEN.
But what I'm really describing here is the armpit of the world, where the previously innocent-turned-"slut" is hot news. This is an armpit that we as a society have created. We gasp and roll our eyes and feign shock as we turn up the volume. We sit in loud judgement of how screwed up/idiotic/slutty/stupid/shallow these "celebrities" are... all the while talking and talking and talking more and more about it.
And all the while, in Syria... the dead are numerous, and millions have been displaced from their homes. But we don't want to talk about that. Out of sight, out of mind. We'd rather talk about Miley's ass.
We talk because it's easier. Talk is cheap. Change takes ACTION... not talk.
Many might be thinking, "Act on WHAT exactly, Charles? You want me to change what's happening in Syria with what kind of action?" I suppose that is a good point... but you're talking about Miley's ass, and her fame has skyrocketed... just think of what you/we could do if that energy was spent CHANGING things, instead of staring at a scantily-clad young woman performing at an awards show? How many millions of situations, lives, and people could be improved/saved?
Or is it simply easier to deal by embracing our inner-Ostrich and burying our heads in the sand, pretending that we don't have the power to change things?
We ALL do... but we won't while our efforts stay rooted in things that don't matter.