I woke up Sunday morning to see that more people on Facebook had mourned the death of one dope head than the 94 innocent people who were slaughtered in Norway. It’s a sad commentary, yet it is our reality today where media and the masses are overly obsessed by celebrity.
When I said that to a friend, he replied “A person like you who owns a PR Agency, and marketers are the very people to blame. You manipulate minds and create heroes of celebrities.” In a sense he’s right. As a fellow PR practitioner commented on my Facebook page: “It’s sad, but in a way our business depends on that dynamic. Facebook reflects the standards of the media: the terrorist attack that killed 94 people is an event with personality. The singer is a person with a personality.” The 94 individuals killed are collateral damage important to those who knew them, and the event is seen as a political story. The singer was known worldwide, and her loss has a “personal” impact to those who her music touched.
People indeed are obsessed with the concept of “Celebrity” and personality; A TV producer told me this week that the Casey Anthony phenomenon will continue because rankings are extremely high for any segments discussing her. In fact, within the world of pop culture, I was amazed to find on a recent visit to Disneyland that there was a ride featuring Michael Jackson – huh? Wasn’t Jackson widely considered to be a child molester and paying millions of dollars to silence accusers? How many people who permit their children to ride a Michael Jackson ride at Disney would have left their child alone with him? That’s the cognitive dissonance associated with pop culture values.
I recall Charles Barkley’s fabulous mid-90’s Nike commercials where he stated: “I am not a role model. I am not paid to be a role model. Parents should be role models. Just because I can dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.”
Generally speaking pop culture, and media in general are not “family-friendly” venues, and seeing how many more people will mourn a young drug addict who destroyed her life instead of the 94 innocents killed in Oslo will constantly remind this parent and marketer to have my children’s’ values created by our family – and not by television, Hollywood or marketers.
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