Monday, February 14, 2005

I am never watching television ever again.

I used to play a turn-based simulation game called Civilization III. Basically, one starts off with a single group of settlers in the Stone Age and slowly builds and develops institutions and technology until an advanced, technological state emerges. One of the problems that I encountered in the game was dealing with a newly conquered, populous yet rebellious city. One way of dealing with the rebellion was to switch workers from food production to entertainment in order to rally morale; for an especially intransigent city, it would take switching the entire population into entertainers to quell the rebellion, thus reducing food production to minuscule levels. The city would literally, slowly entertain itself to death.

Unfortunately, American culture seems to have condemmed itself to a similar fate. The latest news from the Michael Jackson trial is that Jackson plans to call a glittering list of Hollywood stars to testify on his behalf.

That the latest overexposed "trial of the century" will now become "THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN YOUR LIFE EVER!" in the eyes of the mainstream media is guaranteed. That a large segment of the viewing public will actually view the media coverage with the same level of scrutiny and dedication that a Right-Wing blogger dedicates to parsing a Hillary Clinton speech is simply pathetic (in both cases, to be honest). The thought of an entertainment journalist launching a new career and earning fame, fortune and accolades by arranging an exclusive post-deposition interview with Elizabeth Taylor's lawyer, with hastily snapped photographs printed on the cover of Star magazine, is too depressing to contemplate.

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