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Sordid Obsessions by The Colonel

Sordid Obsessions 

OP/ED By The Colonel

This past weekend when I went to my local Borders store to check out the latest books and magazines, I came across something that made me sick in my stomach, the cover of some tabloid magazine which sets a new high in low, and shows how journalism has hit the rock bottom in 21st century America. There was a picture of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt on the cover of the aforementioned magazine, and the title of the cover story was:

“Angie & Brad: The Photos That Will Tear Them Apart”

“Brad Thought He Knew Everything, But He Has No Clue”

 So this magazine not only claims to have information about Brad Pitt’s partner of 5 years and the mother of his children that he has no knowledge of, but it also goes so far to claim the revelation is so shocking that will tear these two apart. Pay attention: It is one thing for the tabloids to report on possible breakup rumors, but in this case it sounds like this magazine is trying to cause a breakup itself. Attempting to destroy a family in order to increase magazine sales, now the raise is too high for scumbag Paparazzi. Even though I was disgusted and repulsed, but I picked up the magazine and browsed through it. The story was about Angelina Jolie’s adventures in circa 1999, about a particular night she spent with a friend in a hotel room where they did heroin and this friend took pictures of Jolie while she was half naked. There was also some bullshit about Jolie’s emotional problems and how she voluntarily checked into a psych ward for 72 hours at one time during her marriage to Billy Bob Thornton; and that was it, the dark secrets that will tear a family apart turn out to be nothing but a bunch of gritty, old pictures and some he said/she said mumbo jumbo without even naming the sources.

Before I get to my main point, I have to mention that I am not a fan of Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt. In my opinion, they are no different from the rest of the actors. Sometimes they feature in a movie to cash a paycheck, and sometimes they choose a project because they like the story and the character they play. Some of their movies are good, some mediocre and some bad. When a new movie starring Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt or anybody else for that matter hits the theatres, if I like the story and find the trailer interesting, I’ll go and see the movie, otherwise I don’t. Therefore, I look at this issue objectively.

Now to my main point: This tabloid story is obviously a bunch of baloney that won’t change anything, the fact that Jolie did heroin and took half nude pictures 11 years ago in a hotel room somewhere won’t tear her and Pitt apart. As for the public opinion, anybody with half a brain and even less dignity who reads this will think: A young actress doing drugs, so what? Who doesn’t do that in Hollywood, and how is this news or anybody’s business? Since when a person’s life, career and achievements should be judged based on some wild one night stand from more than a decade ago? Pathetic stunts like this won’t do any damages to those who are targeted. Instead, they paint an image of those who orchestrate the stunts. I imagine some bald, fat, impotent little man, consumed with anger and bitterness and jealousy, sitting in a crumbling room, typing gossip garbage with his bloated, greasy fingers about a woman who doesn’t even know or cares that he exists. This little man’s goal is to increase sales of his tabloid trash and make an extra penny, although somewhere in his jaded, spiteful heart, filled with ache and regret, he desires his story would do more damage and makes somebody else feeling as miserable as he does. Unfortunately, the little man represents a bigger picture, the picture of America’s sordid obsessions with celebrities, and how the American people continue to turn their eyes away from the vital issues and grim dangers that keep on destroying the very fabrics of this country, and instead obsess over how this actress spends one night stands or how that actor screams at his girlfriend over the phone, etc.  Shame.

I remember an episode from The Twilight Zone, perhaps the best, most influential sci-fi series in the history of television which did a superb job by using science fiction as a vehicle for social commentary. The episode “What’s in the Box?” tells the story of an old married couple who do not have niceness in each other. The man gets home from his job as a cab driver late one night and gets into an argue with his wife while having dinner. In the meantime, a TV repairman is in the next room fixing their broken set. The man who is a TV junkie harasses the repairman about the inconvenience and cost. The repairman abruptly closes the open TV panel and announces the TV is fixed. He leaves, the man starts browsing through the channels, and finds a station which is showing the past, present, and future of him and his wife. In the TV show, the man kills his wife during a fight, and ends up on trial and in the electric chair. Consequently, at the same night the couple continues to argue and fight and the man attacks his wife and kills her, just as he had seen on the TV show. A brilliant example of how life imitates TV and how obsessions replace reality. The message of this story, aired in 1964, resonates loud and clear in 2010 for those who tend to listen. I’ll close this article with the opening narration of The Twilight Zone’s “What’s in the Box?”:

“Portrait of a TV fan. Name: Joe Britt. Occupation: Cab driver. Tonight, Mr. Britt is going to watch a really big show, something special for the cabbie who’s seen everything. Joe Britt doesn’t know it, but his flag is down and his meter’s running and he’s in high gear, on his way to The Twilight Zone.” 

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