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Ancient Joys and Paris Hilton

There's something complicated about the video below.  The media trend Mika Brzezinski is decrying doesn't thrive on those who say, 'Now this is what's really important.'  The Paris Hiltons, the American Idols, and reality television shows exist because the ridicule-and-failure-of-others-as-entertainment … Read More

By / June 29, 2007

There's something complicated about the video below.  The media trend Mika Brzezinski is decrying doesn't thrive on those who say, 'Now this is what's really important.'  The Paris Hiltons, the American Idols, and reality television shows exist because the ridicule-and-failure-of-others-as-entertainment serves a purpose.  Nietzsche wrote:

The community feels refreshed by cruel deeds, and casts off for once the gloom of continual anxiety and caution. Cruelty belongs to the most ancient festive joys of mankind.

The Simon Cowells, Judge Judys, Trumps and Chef Ramsays, the bad parents, supernannies, and the bawling Hilton each belong to the canon of America's cruelty spectacle.  Nobody thinks any of it really matters; in fact, one's own ridicule of the story is integral to the ritual.  The moment these dramas become relevant in any serious sense of the word is the moment they lose their value and disappear from the headlines.                              

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