Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Too Much Information

I blame John Hughes. He's the reason we have to put up with Tyra, Maury, Judge Judy, The Real World, Janice Dickinson, Paris Hilton and the seemingly millions of other obnoxious narcissists who've crawled out from under their rocks with video cameras and decided to tell us every single detail about their pathetic lives.

It started in 1984 with a little film called "The Breakfast Club". It seemed harmless enough at the time...a teen dramedy about 5 mismatched kids spending the day in detention. A few laughs, a little romance (courtesy of the reptillian Judd Nelson and equally reptillian Molly Ringwald), a hit song, it makes a little money and everyone goes home happy. Every 16 year old I knew (including me) saw it.

The central theme of "The Breakfast Club" is "my life sucks and no one understands me". This wasn't a news flash to anyone who's ever been a teenager. But until "The Breakfast Club", no one felt the need to talk about it all the time. You might have complained to your friends, wrote in your diary or composed really bad free verse poetry but you didn't tell everyone on the planet.

But the kids who really dug "The Breakfast Club" (and I would bet any amount of money that they identified most closely with either Ally Sheedy or Anthony Michael Hall) grew up and became segment producers for Jerry Springer and Montel Williams. They wanted to find people whose lives sucked and wanted to talk about it. When the networks and syndicators saw how much money they could make off of morons who were willing to share the most intimate details of their lives with millions of strangers, that's when the floodgates opened and the freakshow began.

So, today we have talk shows and reality shows and You Tube and Facebook and My Space and we know every single thing about every single person we've ever come in contact with. The whole planet is a confessional. I kinda wish we'd go back to writing crappy poems.

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