Sunday, January 10, 2010

Good riddance, 2009.

Yeah, I'm finally back. I was delayed by the Wrath of Al Gore that seems to have gripped most of the nation this week.

Anyway, even though even-numbered years have historically not been so good for me (my cousin who committed suicide did it in 2004, I lost a lot of people I loved in 2008), I'm glad to see a new year here.

And I was thinking back over 2009, and one thing that seems to have been a theme that year, which I sincerely hope doesn't continue, is the idea of attention whoring and the people who do idiotic and dangerous things to try to get on television.

We started out (and ended, it looks like, from the Celebrity Apprentice stories) with Rod Blagojevich, disgraced politician. Dude cannot shut up. Dude has the "look at what I can do!" (anyone remember MAD tv?) complex so badly. In January or so, he was digging himself into holes comparing himself to Gandhi and Martin Luther King. (Seriously, Rod, what the heck?). And he's still claiming some form of innocence.

And then there was the whole Jon and Kate mess. Granted, they already had a show (but don't anymore, I presume). But cripes, what an ugly thing. It's always sad to see a marriage disintegrate, it's even worse seeing it on the news. Not that it's what I'd regard as newsworthy, but I'm coming to think that "bread and circuses" doesn't just apply to ancient Rome any more. Mainly in that situation I feel bad for the kids, who were pretty much exploited in the show and who now are probably caught up in a custody mess.

And then in October, there was Balloon Boy. Disgusting. I remember feeling like a chump because I actually prayed for the kid when the radio news (I was driving around in my car and didn't have access to a tv to see what the balloon looked like; had I, I might have questioned how a kid could actually be lifted by such a comparatively small thing) said he was probably in the balloon. And then the whole thing melted down pretty spectacularly. I think that whole family is a banner case of "can't foresee consequences." How could you NOT think you'd be caught out in that situation? How could you not think your six-or-whatever-he-was year old child wouldn't blurt to the words your idiotic-if-not-nefarious plans? (Note to would-be Dr. Evils: Do not have small children in your entourage.) But they were blinded by the desire to get on the telly, and so they tied up rescue crews for hours (I hope no one actually needed help during that time and didn't get it as a result).

And then there were not two, but three White House gatecrashers. Apparently the one couple had aspirations of getting on a "Real Housewives" show with the stunt. And apparently the woman involved claimed all kinds of crap about herself at first - that she had been a cheerleader for the Redskins and such - that never actually happened. Again, lies like that: how do you think you're NOT going to be found out? Do you really think people won't bother to fact-check? (Well, yeah, increasingly they DON'T, at least on the news, but there's probably someone out there anal enough or cynical enough to look things up, and then blog/Twitter about it.)

I don't know. I think of the old dictum, which my grandmother once quoted, that a true lady got her name in the paper three times in her life: when she was born, when she married, and when she died. Now, I admit, times have changed, and I'm glad in many ways they have, but if I ever get my name in the news, I want it to be for something good and worthwhile - like, I witness a bad accident and use my first aid skills to save someone's life before the paramedics get there, or I discover a new species, or I come up with some kind of clever new lab technique.

If I ever get so desperate for attention that I start doing stupid and reckless stuff, I hope my friends and colleagues will slap some sense into me.


Kate P said...

Welcome back! Sorry to hear the weather interfered with your travels, but glad you arrived home safely.

I agree with you on all points, and personally the last half of the year was rockier than usual. . . hopefully 2009 wasn't just preparing us for what's to come in 2010.

Cullen said...

I'm optimistic for 2010, but that's my nature. We'll see.

Welcome back!

Dave R. said...

So glad you're back, Ricki. After nearly a month, I was starting to worry about you. I also now realize how much reading your thoughts has become part of my routine.

nightfly said...

Heheheheh. I now have the mental picture of Mike McDonald wearing a Blago wig and whining "Nooooooo! IIIII want to do it!"

Good to have you back, Ricki! Happy belated New Year.