OPINION: Maybe we should stop feeding strays, reality stars

We all know what happens when you feed a stray animal, they keep coming back for more. Then others figure out that, hey, that animal got fed, what about me? Eventually, you get a lot of stray animals looking for a handout and it seems like we’re up to our eyeballs with them these days.
First it was Jon and Kate, an otherwise unremarkable young couple whose only claim to fame was that they had enough kids to field their own baseball team. Ditto with the Octomom, an unemployed young woman who sired a litter so large even a dog wouldn’t have enough breasts to feed them all.
Then came the Balloon Boy, a kid whose parents obviously view children as nothing more than bargaining chips by faking his abduction by a UFO-shaped helium balloon.
Now we have the White House party crashers, a handsome couple who somehow talked their way into a state dinner the other night and had their pictures taken with everyone from the president to the Marines who were supposed to be guarding the place.
What do all these – and I use this term very loosely – people have in common? They all want to be reality TV stars. Actually, when you boil it down to the basics, what they really want is to be paid handsomely for doing nothing, for just letting a camera crew follow them around and record their daily lives.
I’m sorry but I just don’t understand the attraction. No one should – or does – care what I had for breakfast (nothing), lunch (another burger) or dinner (something breaded, not sure if it was fish or fowl or only that it was foul.)
I think there’s a word for this type of behavior. It’s voyeurism. People actually go to jail for it. But when it’s on TV, then apparently it’s OK to watch.
We, of course, are to blame and by we, of course, I’m referring to everyone except myself. Ever notice that when we use that collective noun “we” we always exclude ourselves. Personally, I’ve never watched a reality TV show with the exception of the news and sports.
But someone out there obviously is, otherwise these nut cases wouldn’t be continually pulling stunts trying to get their 15 minutes of fame and a big fat check for sitting around their house having a meltdown in high definition.
Without an audience, these types of shows would dry up and go away and we could all be spared the next reality star whose only real claim to fame was that they ingested enough fertility drugs and had enough children to qualify for their own congressional district. Then maybe there might be something on TV worth shelling out the big bucks for a flat-screen.
We – make that you – have the control and it’s literally right at your fingertips.
Maybe it’s time to stop feeding them.
Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 222 Farley Hall, University MS 38677 or by e-mail at marusse1@olemiss.edu.

Marty Russell/NEMS Daily Journal

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