Without taking sides in any of the recent allegations about sexual misconduct by celebrities and politicians, I have to say that I think America has finally gone around the bend, driven mad — wacko — by the easy availability of gossip.
This is what happens when news becomes less issue-driven and more about celebrity worship, trend-tracking and tacky, giddy, bubbly-gum, chit-chat on 160 channels and innumerable web sites. News as entertainment.
Internet titillation and tweety-pie pouts and online click baits for questionable sites teasing, promising, luring our darker impulses to the surface makes us nuts, if that term is not too, too politically incorrect.
Is anything politically incorrect anymore? Is there anything we will not talk about, show or do on the public stage?
The billing of the daily news headlines for what used to pass for responsible media looks like seedy teases on the covers of the scandal tabloids at the supermarket.
We wallow in the dirt and pay almost no attention to the real issues of governance, national security and health issues beyond Botox and bottom lifts.
Apparently, in the name of much-needed social change, any allegation can be broadcast over and over for days without anything to back it up. It doesn’t matter if it’s true; the Big Story is that somebody famous or powerful was brought down.
Show biz has always been like this. And now, everything is show-biz, even the presidency of what used to be the United States of America.
I’m no kid any more, but I knew about Hollywood casting couches and sleazy manipulative corporate lechers when I was tooling around in my ’52 Dodge Coronet.
There was a time when I played Sir Galahad on occasion on behalf of some damsel in distress who was being preyed upon by a boss or just the office Romeo. Then we had the Revolution, followed by The Enlightenment, and you could get a black eye or a poke in the nose if you held a door for a woman. (“I don’t need a man to hold my coat, Hear Me Roar.”) Good things were happening. Change was painfully slow for some and alarmingly fast for others, but we were adjusting.
But one thing that did not change was the use of sex, personified by attractive people — male, female and other — in the marketing of America.
Gossip thrives, always did, always will.
I don’t care if Joni has implants everywhere, or if Jack wants to be Jill, or if the celebrity pastor of a TV church sleeps in Doctor Dentons with a trap door in the rear. I would really like to see us sail in deeper waters.
We have wallowed around the shallows of pop culture so long that our expectations are even lower than our new standards, and it’s troubling.
I know people in power abuse the privilege. They always have. And here’s a bulletin: Sexual intimidation and other bullying is and always has victimized both women and men.
In other words, the rise of the victims is news, but the behaviors are not, so can we just report the news, give it the 4 minutes that it’s worth, and then put some more time into digging into the consequences of a State Department that has been gutted, a consumer protection agency that saved the nation just eight years now turned over to the apologists for extreme greed, and an administration put into office with no agenda beyond getting even with President Barack Obama for making fun of the shallowness of a celebrity pretender whose vocabulary seems limited to name-calling.