-By Derek Hutchinson
So everyday there is news, right? The Wall Street Journal reports mainly on business, The New York Times covers the news of the entire world, Anderson Cooper sits on his journalist throne on CNN, and Katie Couric’s three remaining fans tune in hoping that instead of reporting she will announce her return to Today. How we define each day is centered on the great happenings of the world like the rise in oil prices, the assassination of a political leader in the Middle East, and even kids getting mauled by a tiger. Many people believe they are ‘educated’ because they listen to the news and they heard about economic indicators which show the economy is about to enter a recession. Am I going to say that people shouldn’t read the news, that it’s bad? No. Honestly, I read the news or watch it at least once a day too, but what I don’t do is take it so seriously. Example: when Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. I am glad I have access to a media which can inform me about this, but what I can tell you I didn’t do is go on and on about it and use a poor woman’s death as a talking point. What does this mean for US foreign policy? Will Pakistan launch nuclear weapons and cause a war? That is where most people take this kind of news. If you are a politician or in the army maybe this is your point to discuss, but to the average American I can look you in the eye and tell you that you don’t have the slightest clue what this means or how it is going to affect anything. In fact the first thing you probably did was go to the Wikipedia to find out about Bhutto, because before her assassination you had no damn clue who she was. There are countless topics daily that people hear about and automatically have become experts on, but if the news didn’t just tell you how ‘important’ the topic was than you never would have been the wiser. So lately I have taken a vow to read the news for informative purposes only and to only speak about things I know, because as far as I am concerned I am not going to delve into the politics of US foreign policy with someone when I know deep down I have no real knowledge on the subject.
On a further note, I have taken a second vow. To make pop culture news number one on my list and whether you want to hear it or not, I am going to tell you why you should too. First of all, pop culture news is never bad unless someone dies. And it is always entertaining. To be very truthful, I would rather hear that Britney forgot to wear underwear than read about China becoming the next economic power in fifty years. How ignorant am I, right? Well, not really. Because whether or not China becomes a superpower, I can tell you that Lindsay Lohan will continue to fall on her face and the paparazzi will continue to be there to take pictures of it, and I will continue to be entertained time after time. Former Sugar Ray lead vocalist Mark McGrath I consider to be a great news anchor for ‘Extra’, and his personality, in my opinion, outshines that of someone so drearily monotone like Stone Phillips. Kornheiser and Wilbon of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption are great at what they do too, bantering back and forth about the latest sports news. But neither of these shows report what is considered ‘real news’. Then why do they exist? Because so many Americans have realized that it’s just more entertaining to watch sports or primetime television. I sure as hell do not want to come home from school (or work after I graduate) and be one of those people who watches the news, gets depressed about rising prices and international turmoil. I would rather be fascinated by the 10 amazing plays of the day on sportscenter or hear that Paris Hilton served another four days in jail. Today is January 16, 2007, and do you know what one of the top stories on CNN.com is? Ashley Tisdale: I’m glad I got a nose job. Maybe you don’t know who that is, but she is a celebrity, and the fact she got a rhinoplasty put her on the front page of the most prestigious news site in the United States. CNN isn’t dumb and that’s why they have a whole ‘entertainment’ section in on their site. In fact that makes a big enough point right there, its called entertainment because it’s entertaining.
If you asked someone how they view the 1980s they wouldn’t say, ‘When Ronald Reagan was President.’ They would bring up things like spandex, Michael Jackson, neon colors, Wayne Gretzky, and Madonna. Really what I am trying to say is that pop culture in the end often defines who we are as people especially during a period of time. Fads go in and out and the people behind them aren’t economists, or politicians, and especially the people who read the news. There will always be that person who I hear say, ‘Who cares about Britney not being able to see her kids, there are starving children in Africa!’ My simple reply will to them is, ‘Did you feed a child in Africa today or did you watch Deal or No Deal?’ Movies, TV shows, magazines, and professional sports are all things that exist because within the American soul there is something that tells us we really do care about celebrities, trends, and athletes probably much more than we care about anything we would hear about in the regular news, whether we want to admit it or not. Me, I am here to embrace my pop culture and be enthused rather than pretending the world’s problems all fall on me.