A culture that fixates on the likes of the Osbournes, and those dreadful reality TV celebrities Kate and Jon, is a culture that is cannibalizing itself. Embracing the base while rejecting the noble will produce more of one and less of the other.
"Why then should man, teasing the world for grace,
Spoil his salvation for a fierce miscreed?"
Keats asked a good question. So did the writers Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green when they wrote "Make Someone Happy" (reprised by the late Jimmy Durante in the film "Sleepless in Seattle"): "Fame, if you win it, comes and goes in a minute. Where's the real stuff in life to cling to?"
The list of celebrities whose lives turned into a train wreck is long and lengthening. Why would so many want to follow these people and their broken and lousy relationships, drug use, and plastic surgeries, especially when we see where it leads for so many of them?
Last Thursday night, more people watched a Farrah Fawcett special on ABC than a Michael Jackson special on CBS, suggesting that beauty beats weirdness. Far fewer watched ABC's health care special with President Obama. By almost anyone's standards, health care is far more important than dead celebrities. That ratings disparity is a commentary on our shallowness and the refusal of so many to cling to the "real stuff" in life.