My RSS feed of entertainment news is full of variations on the same headline: “John Travolta is heartbroken over son’s death, sources say”.
As opposed to…? “John Travolta dancing the fucking tarantella over son’s death”? “John Travolta staging massive party to celebrate death of child, hires Katy Perry and Perez Hilton to MC”? “Travolta’s son dies; Travolta shrugs, goes to Starbucks and orders vanilla latte”?
I don’t know John Travolta, I’ve never met John Travolta or his wife Kelly Preston or any member of his family. I don’t much care for his religious preferences, but they are no more my business than mine are his. Of course I feel very sorry for the man and his people. Losing a teenage child must be unimaginably painful. My sympathies extend, as they would to anyone I vaguely knew about whose child died.
And unlike the apparent majority of my countrymen, I’m willing to leave it at that. Because none of it is my business in any way.
Celebrity, in this country, has become a monstrous thing and our central currency. We have no more musicians or singers, we have rock stars and divas; we have no actors, we have action heroes; and many of the people who are famous now are famous for no reason at all. The fact that I know who Kim Kardashian is — despite my best attempts to keep myself out of such things — is terrible. I still don’t know why I know who she is, though I’ve seen her have sex on camera with that awful singer that Burial sampled. But she’s a bad amateur porn actress at best. (And she is bad. Trust me.)
And poor John Travolta, who’s probably out of his mind with grief right now, has to deal with the most contemptible excesses of celebrity media. I feel even worse for the guy because of it.
Please, America, go back to living your own hopeless, soulless lives, and quit sticking your nose into the soulless, hopeless lives of people you see on TV.