A perfect example of this phenomenon is the morning "news" programs. There is less news than ever on the program and even more gossip. Today, on NBC, is a perfect example. Now lasting four hours, it is loaded with the latest celebrity news, scandalous behavior, human interest stories and concerts. You can get a few minutes of news once each hour.
Although I believe this celebrity fascination to be a generally bad thing, I am coming to believe that it could be a good sign. People crave the latest news and gossip about scandal for several reasons.
- We secretly desire to be famous ourselves and are looking for pointers.
- We are always on the lookout for ways in which we are better than famous people.
- We truly believe that celebrities are better than us and this is our way of venerating them.
- It is easier to pay attention to celebrities than to deal with the real news.
- This news is always out there, so we might as well pay attention.
But I think there is one more reason. There is one thing that causes me hope for humanity, and American culture in particular. This pre-occupation with celebrities and gossip is a sign of the human need for worship. Did you catch that? People want to worship someone/ something bigger and greater than themselves.
Hollywood fascination is a sign that people have not forgotten the need to worship, to venerate the "other." Now, we need to get the focus back on God, where it belongs.