Friday, May 04, 2007

On Trivial Matters

Victor Davis Hanson remarks in his column at today's Townhall.com that we are "hooked on trivia" in that we as a nation are focusing on the banal while ignoring the important - and dangerous - developments that should take priority as "news."

Issues such as Iraq & Iran, Russia and Oil, Korea and nuclear weapons almost overwhelm us. So we gobble up Entertainment Tonight; we seek diversion in trivial matters. Hanson gives an explanation:

So why then fixate on Anna Nicole, Rosie, Imus and Alec?

Simple - they are the modern equivalents of grotesque carnival freak shows that used to provide a perverse sense of escapism from what people dare not face. Yet as our dependency on such tabloid distraction grows, so, too, do the real dangers that we ignore.

The ghost of Anna Nicole, foul-mouthed Rosie and trash-talking Imus turn out to be the best friends Ayman al-Zawahiri, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Vladimir Putin have.

A little "escapism" is fine (hey, I read Harry Potter). But to immerse ourselves in trivia at the expense of weightier matters is not just engaging in a little diversion or respite, it's a dangerous pastime.

In fact, our addiction to trivia is an indication of the strength or weakness of our national character. It is a barometer of our society. The question remains, what do we do about it?
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