The Reality of Reality
I normally don’t write pieces like this. I generally focus on health, or medical issues, and how to help people achieve their goals of building and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. So forgive me if this piece goes a little contrary to what you are accustomed to reading from me.
In a sense this article does have a lot to do with health, more mental than physical, but wellbeing none the less. In recent years, there have been despairing issues I’ve witnesses more often. In my February article S.O.S to Generation X I acknowledged the fact that social issues are in the spotlight less than they should be. Perhaps it is my age; since I am noticing the older I get, the less tolerant I am to “sweeping these issues under the rug.”
What truly brought this article to the surface was on Tuesday how after those horrific tornadoes ripped through Oklahoma, the trending top story on Google news (you’ll see why I bolded that word in a second) was Kristen Stewart. This upset me so much; because here this country had just witnessed yet one more natural disaster that leveled a county of about 41,000 people—and a celebrity breaking up with her boyfriend was what most people were interested in.
As upset as I was, it also got me thinking—where did we go wrong? As I stated on my Facebook status (see screenshot above) “Celebrities are not news” (along with a few other choice words) and it got me wondering when exactly did this downward spiral begin. When did things such as Paris Hilton’s panty flash, or Lindsey Lohan’s latest addiction become more important than things like the fact that over a million children in this country go to bed hungry every night? Or why is it that Kim Kardashian (which I’ve yet to figure why she’s famous by the way) is breaking up with her latest squeeze is more important than the idea of gay men being bashed and murdered in my beloved NYC?
And then…it hit me. I realized that this trend began in the late 90’s, right around the time when ‘reality shows’ started becoming popular. I believe that part of the reason why we have become so oblivious to the real world is because we’re too busy living in the fictitious world of T.V. and internet, smart phones, and iPads. This decline in living in reality has led to a decline in things such as education, as well as a decline in health statistics as a result.
If you think I am being over dramatic, or insinuating something that is not a real reality, check out the following facts:
- According to the Pearson group in a study conducted just last year, the United States ranked only 17 in education worldwide.
- Last year; the first year ever the U.S. Department of Education released national data regarding high school graduation rates, revealed there was a 26% drop in high school graduations.
- The 2010 census of our country showed that while we maintain a literacy rate of 99% over the age of 15, but we ranked way below average when it came to subjects such as math and science when compared to other developed countries.
There is no doubt education is an important social determinant of health. Populations on a whole depend on greater levels of education to set the stage for a wealthier economy.
We’ve become too engrossed in living virtually and being ostrich’s burying our heads so far in the sand we can smell the ocean. I truly believe that in the late 90’s and early 2000’s (especially after September 11th) we became so jaded and fearful of our world that we have devoted ourselves to living in a fabricated world of celebrities and nonsense.
So that is my rant for tonight. I hope that I’ve inspired at least some of you to turn off the E! Channel, log out of Facebook and Twitter, and use your computers and T.V. as tools for becoming more aware of your world, or learning about something you’ve always wondered about.
Most people don’t realize how blurred the line between real reality and reality shows and celebrity lifestyles have become. Our quality of life is in a slow and steady decline here folks—it’s about time we do something about it. As Memorial Day approaches, I think it’s time we remind ourselves of the blood, sweat and tears that went into the creation and forging of this country we live in. Making our lives about celebrities and reality shows which obviously is having such a negative impact on our lives, is not exactly what the men and women who gave their lives for us had in mind.