In Your Hands

Jerry Falwell stated, at the 1992 Republican Convention, that there was a holy war being waged in the United States, the we are fighting over the spiritual soul of America. The Republicans lost that election and have been really good about distancing themselves from right wing Christian quacks ever since, but that’s not my point. My point is that he’s right, and I am asking you to fight.

The fight isn’t where you might think it is. It isn’t at Abortion clinics and synagogues, although those are important battles and we have to continue to join hands against hate and ignorance…

Yeah, that’s right. I said “join hands”.

…we have to continue to join hands against hate and ignorance, but that isn’t a fight we can lose simply by being lazy. The fight is in our minds. It is a war against the worship of celebrity that is more in our hands than any other fight, and it is just as important.

Please, turn it off. When the TV is showing you celebrities at nightclubs, grainy video of some heiress in her underwear, turn it off. Just turn it off. It’s become a self-feeding monster, and it’s up to you to stop it. When the daytime TV shows were showing endless loops of White Supremacists and people who slept with their boyfriend’s dads, we started turning it off and rising above it, and now it’s time to do the same with the Hilton sisters and the stars of Smallville.

Boycott the E! channel. Boycott red carpet coverage. Boycott Parade magazine and People magazing and yeah, even Rolling Stone if they can’t get their shit together. You make yourself small when you oogle, when you stop and stare as someone does the simple act of *walking*, when you celebrate someone because of their simple *existence*, you lower the level of discourse in our country. When you have an opinion about a famous person’s marriage, you’re burning calories that could be used for *masturbation*, which is a useless tast, but at least one with an iota of satisfaction at the end.

There is a fine line, to be sure. My brother Ian wants to talk to artists he admires at weddings, and that isn’t this. For me it exists somewhere that side of the Osbournes and this side of The Osbournes. The TV show is brilliantly edited and masterfully put together, it is an allegory on family love, the makers of it demand craft and they should be celebrated.

But then, on MTV, Kelly Osbourne sings at the MTV music awards and Jack videotapes her, and on The Osbournes, on the same network, we watch Jack videotaping Kelly at the MTV music awards, and then, on E!, owned by the same company as MTV, we watch Kelly and Jack arrive at the MTV movie awards, and then on Entertainment Tonight, produced by the same company but in syndication, they run a piece on Jack and Kelly at the MTV movie awards…

We need to turn it off. I’m not kidding. I don’t want to talk about who is famous, I want to talk about who is good. The film-makers behind the TV show The Osbournes are brilliant, the members of the Osbourne family haven’t done anything yet to garner any attention. Ozzy had his moment, but none of the rest of them have earned their celebrity. You are making this happen, you are creating a cult of personality, you are excusing drug addicts and rapists, or passing judgement on them unfairly.

I’m gonna say it. You are creating the same environment that leads to totalitarian dictators. They had pictures of Saddam and Lenin covering their walls, we have pictures of Ashton Kutchner.

I know you will be tempted to drop me a smarmy message about the fact that I couldn’t possibly know all this unless I watch it myself, but I don’t. My roommate has it on in the background a lot, and I have to hide in my room until it’s over. Those *HOUR-LONG SPECIALS* that air *every night* featuring celebrities giving the camera the finger and trying desperately to be left alone. People, artists and sportsfigures who try to eat a meal or go to a gathering and get harrassed by people demanding autographs and pictures, people who are recognized by the fact that others recognize them, this needs to be stopped and only we can stop the supply side of the economics that drives this ridiculous machine.

Don’t laugh at how dumb the girls are on reality TV. You’re the asshole that is making that dumb girl rich. Don’t sneer at a celebrity’s behavior. You’re the asshole that makes him think he is above reproach.