News of the royal baby has spread across the Atlantic Ocean and taken the American public by storm. Social media sites like Twitter have been ablaze with updates and thoughts on the royal baby. Especially in light of all of the crucial social and economic issues that are unsolved at this point in time, this event, and the fervent response it has received, truly paints a dismal picture of the priorities of the American public.
It isn’t just the royal baby story that has garnered enormous amounts of media and social media attention – the royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton captivated the American public. Royal events are just one example of American interest in celebrity news. Between actors/actresses, musicians, and professional athletes, most Americans spend a large amount of their leisure time following “news”, which amounts to inane commentary on the personal lives of cultural icons. This begs the question: what are we gaining from this obsession with celebrity? The role models that seem to emerge from the likes of reality TV are reprehensible and encourage loud ignorance and a lack of concern about others as desirable qualities. We could be spending time exercising or pursuing creative interests that could positively affect our world, but instead we are watching either a circus of nobodies who became “somebodies” just because they appeared on TV, or invasive and worthless accounts of celebrity drama.
Sports organizations have attempted to cancel out this sentiment of sports being unproductive in a societal sense by creating organizations focused on public outreach. For example, the National Football League created a youth football organization, sponsors a campaign focused on childhood exercise, and has a month where teams wear pink to support breast cancer awareness. These efforts are admirable, but many celebrities do not contribute anything positive to the world and even promote ignorance and apathy instead of critical thinking and individual thought.
What role does the media play in this celebrity obsession (besides just posting the story)? Does the media report stories that they think are important or do they report stories that the public wants them to report? Basically, who decides what is “news” – the people or the media? Most likely, the answer to that is a bit of both. We influence the media, but they also report stories that they think are important. In this process, some “important” stories may be lost though[http://hcrenewal.blogspot.ca/2013/07/43-believe-that-us-health-care-corrupt.html]. The media attention that the royal baby is getting is obviously taking attention away from other stories. With so many issues crucial to the American people unfolding daily—the extreme and unconstitutional behavior of the NSA, Edward Snowden’s continued plight, increasing poverty, soaring costs of healthcare(to name a few)—should there be so much attention focused on this child? It seems as if mainstream media has become more of a distraction, bent on lulling the American public into a sense of blissful ignorance to the real issues that affect them every day. The royal baby is just another inflated, sensationalized bit of nothing that is taking attention away from the real issues in our media. For example, instead of caring about this child who will live a highly privileged life, we should be worrying about the thousands of other children born on the same day that won’t even be able to afford adequate food, shelter, and clothing. Although a story on this wouldn’t be as glamorous, it is certainly more important than the birth of a prince (in a country where the royal family has no real ruling power anyways).
Now is the time for us to analyze how we spend our leisure time. Is following the lives of celebrities productive for anybody? We should be focused on real issues in the world because the first step to solving a problem is to being aware of it. It’s high time we stopped swallowing the fluff that the mainstream media churns out and brands as important to our lives, and started examining issues that affect us by getting all the facts and demanding answers.