Clouds in My Coffee

     If you could poll one thousand people who were at least 18 years old in 1980, I’d be willing to bet that the majority of them would not have been able to fathom how egomaniacal our society has become in less than 30 years. I put a lot of the blame for this on the rise of cable television and the internet.
     I wasn’t 18 in 1980, I was five that year. But I remember having a twenty two inch television in our living room that received all of 13 channels, or however much you could receive without cable. When my dad’s job took us to Miami in 1986, the idea of paying for television was a true novelty to me, and I wasn’t even cutting the checks.
     Fast forward to the mid-1990s and it was de rigueur for even college students to have at least 50 channels, and the internet was fast becoming the freak market it currently is. Now, my wife and I have a cable package that, while not basic, is not extravagant, and we receive something like 160 channels.
     Anyways, society in 2009 seems so narcissistic Narcissus himself would turn away in embarrassment.
     Now we have a television show called (roughly) “I’m a Person With a Somewhat Familiar Sounding Name You’ll Have to Google, Plus Two Baldwins, Get Me Out of Here,” where one of the contestants insists to a producer he’s a big star, presumably because he was on another reality show and is roundly lampooned for being one of the world’s biggest jerks.
     We have cable channels, which did not exist in 1980, creating their own alternate celebrity universes, where all one has to do to become well-known is appear on one reality show and follow up that appearance with their own reality show (see “Daisy of Love,” any show with “New York” in the title, the “I Love Money” crew).
     Finally, we have mediocre race car drivers such as Danica Patrick telling reporters in the midst of a possible move to NASCAR that she wants to move forward “as a driver and as a brand.”
     If Patrick wants to move forward as a driver so be it. It’s what she does for a living. But as a “brand?” Someone might want to let her know NASCAR already has one middling driver who’s far more popular than any success he’s ever achieved on the track warrants. Junior might not like the competition.
     People used to become famous for actually achieving accomplishments of note. In 2009 people seem to be famous for somehow becoming famous, and once they become famous like this they are too vain to understand how stupid and egotistical they come across to the rest of us.
     Sometimes I just wish I could be five again, when things were at least a little simpler to understand.

%d bloggers like this: