I was having coffee in a friend’s solarium recently where we had a fascinating conversation about celebrities, fame, and America’s obsession with America’s obsession with fame and celebrities.

My friend decried it all: “I’m so sick of how dumb the American people are. Instead of talking about truly important topics, all I hear about is J-Lo this, Pooty-Tang that, Casey Anthony this AND that. Why aren’t we discussing urgent matters like the deficit, rampant poverty, AIDS, or our lagging education system? It’s like the American people are being spoon fed hot bullshit and asking for seconds while screaming or posting ‘FIRST!’ Are they all stupid? I just wish they’d put down their iPhones, Baconators, and stop watching Nancy Grace. It’s like they’ll believe/listen to/eat anything!”

I completely agree and disagree with my friend. Let me break it down point by point:

“I’m so sick of how dumb the American people are”

FIRST! of all I don’t think the American people are dumb. I know it. Not all of them are (like you reading this, you are intelligent and sexy and probably built a mountain through sheer force of will and sediment and tiger bones) but most. Disagree? How? Do you have eyes and ears that function properly? I see more people with Fedoras, ironic mustaches, and Ed Hardy lip gloss than I do Asians nowadays. Just last week a guy asked me if I had a potato and then ran away before I could say yes! If that isn’t the definition of stupidity then I don’t know what is.

I still haven’t heard the song ‘Friday’ but I know that ‘THAT’S WHAT I CALL MUSIC!’ Volumes 1-79 have outsold most of my favorite bands. So yeah, most Americans probably are pretty dumb. So what? Surround yourself with the smart, cool ones and learn how to make a shiv out of floss and you’ll be just fine.

“Instead of talking about truly important topics…”

I agree wholeheartedly with this sentiment but you can’t change a seal into a toothbrush, at least not overnight (I’ve tried). The culture we live in feeds upon itself. When cable television arrived that sealed the deal for us as a country. People are naturally lazy and love to watch other people’s misery. Did you watch the OJ bronco chase? YES. YOU DID. WE ALL DID. Why? EXACTLY.

When the Internet became accessible for most of the country that was the nail in the coffin. Before that if you wanted to see someone get hit in the balls or a puppy dressed as an air conditioner you had to watch ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos’ and buy a lot of cardboard and a puppy. I just googled ‘hit in the balls’ and got 10,000,000,000,000 results (the FIRST! 10,000 are HILARIOUS by the way).

I love following the real news. Politics, the state of our environment, international relations are fascinating to me. But when given the choice to read or hear about archaic tax codes and countries with weird sounding names OR see a video of a 14 year old from Utah detonating a pumpkin with C-4 our brains are naturally inclined to “go for the shiny” stuff.

Stop complaining about it and just find the balance. For every YouTube video I watch I read one news article about Kyrsadsgazkistan. If I watch five minutes of TMZ, I do ten hours of volunteer work and bleach my eyes. FIND YOUR OWN BALANCE.

 ”It’s like they’ll believe/listen to/eat anything!”

Will people believe anything? Yes. I started this piece by telling you about the discussion I had with a friend. Well guess what? I don’t have a single friend (that owns a solarium)! You believed me because that’s your natural inclination. We want to. And yes, people will eat a cabin made out of hamburgers if you price it under $10. So what? Stop complaining about how stupid everybody is…

If some fat person wants to eat half a cow for breakfast, that’s awesome. They’ll die sooner and that’s one less person in front of me at Duane Reade.

If New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys can sell out stadiums, that’s swell! It just makes my snooty taste in music even snootier and makes me feel smarter and classy, like a bathrobe made out of vinyl records.

If America wants to become enthralled with an alleged babykiller or a celebrity’s sexual peccadillos I don’t blame them. I still think about those dead birds that fell out of the sky. Why? I don’t know and I really don’t care. I just continue to open the door for strangers, smile at babies, and try not to be a douchebag. That’s all I can do. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go bleach my eyes and find a soup kitchen that needs some help.


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