Why is it so compelling to watch people destroy their lives?
I made a conscience decision at the beginning of the year; I would try to spend as little time as possible reading about, listening to or thinking about people in the news whose lives were absolute train wrecks. It was difficult at first, believing that I could have some impact on the outcome, if I knew what was going on at every moment.
I realized that if I don’t participate in watching the mayhem, maybe I can help stop the constant stream of media attention to these unfortunate people. They need help and since I am not going to be the one who saves them, I should not be in the gallery watching. Looking back, I am glad that I did not get sucked into wasting hours and hours of my life.
I am hoping if I can help others look away from the scene of the accident then together we can begin to stem the tide of television for the sake of entertainment, at others expense.
What causes us to be drawn to these people lives filled with pain, abuse and addiction? Why is it that the drama they create is something that we simply can’t ignore? We certainly do not want to emulate them nor have our children use them as a role model. Have we become so used to the headlines tempting us to indulge in reality television, creating a soap opera of real people’s lives.
I am sure that if we would ignore and quit reading the trashy papers and refuse to watch the reality shows showing families self imploding, it would at least slow down. It has become a national obsession to know the Kardashians every move.
For this article I pulled up the opening page of MSN and I see not one compelling to click, even though I am tempted. Will reading these change my world in any way? Should I be aware and focus instead on something that will have a positive impact on my life.
I hated that a Tony Robbins program a couple years back was cancelled after two shows. Even if you don’t care for his style of motivation, a mere 2 million of us felt it was important enough to see if he could change the lives of people and maybe giving us some ideas to try for our own lives. Instead the time slot was won out with 5.4 million watching Shaq shove hot dogs in his face in some silly contest. Go figure.
It is not my place to police what anyone watches, that is completely up to each of us to decide for ourselves. What I will do is try to present some facts and let everyone make their own choice. Being aware of the trend, I really don’t think we realize what is happening.
The media gods have created a big ball that keeps on rolling. They give us what we want to watch and we in keeping with the trend, watch. Then in a constant attempt to attract more viewers they take it up a notch and we consume what they give us and so it continues, a vicious cycle. With the explosion of channels to now choose from, media gets more desperate for ratings to keep us coming back.
I just want you to be aware.
The average American watches 28 hours of television per week = 9 years of the life of a 65 year old or 2 months per year.
Hours per year the average 8-18 year old is in school = 900
Hours per year the average 8-18 year old engages in media- 1500
If we quit looking will it simply go away? Somehow I don’t think we will ever get this all to stop but I think we can slow it down.
This week try spending less time on media. Maybe watch your favorite show and instead of being drawn into the next show in the rotation, turn the tv off. Read a book, help at a charity, take a walk or take up a new hobby. Just think what you can do with 28 hours a week. Even if you cut your consumption by half you could do such good and what would you have missed?
I know that I haven’t missed anything in the last eight months by choosing to not look. The destruction still occurred unabated and until they choose differently, until they decide they no longer want to be the object of our obsessive curiosity, and until we realize that they are raking in millions while we waste our time, nothing is going to change.