ESPN + Lebron = Evidence of a Troubled Society

Right now, lots of people are tuning into a news channel devoted entirely to sports. They’re waiting breathlessly to hear what one person among billions has decided as far as which basketball team he will join this coming season. A lot of people are upset about the whole thing. They say this is a disgusting display of ego and obsession, a man desperate for adoration. Tacky others call it. Bad for the NBA others chime in.

The thing is, the Lebron James Circus is revolting because it shows what we have become as Americans. We are hysterical over a man who bounces a ball and throws it through a hoop, spectacularly at times to be fair. But at the end of the day, this a man who plays a game. This man’s “job” does not impact lives. What he does with the obscene amounts of money we as a nation shower upon him might, whenever he feels the desire.

Of course we should be completely ashamed of ourselves. Why isn’t there a frenzy like this when real impacting decisions are being made? The biggest celebrities in a city shouldn’t be game-players, they should be policymakers, community leaders, and educators. It should be mayors that can’t do groceries without being harassed, not some ball-chaser or tacky musician.

Somewhere along the road we gave up on serious issues and dedicated ourselves to the fluff. People made lots of money off the fluff and so they gave us more of it. Of course we swallowed it whole and begged for more, insatiable. Where Anonymous sources were once the bane of a journalist’s existence, they’ve become the lifeblood of a deteriorating system. Where authors and artists once held the power and sway of presidents and queens, drugged pop singers and egotistic athletes have staged, and won, their coup– with our help.

Why did we turn our brains off? Why did we start paying attention to exclamation points instead of paragraphs? Why did we agree to exploding gossip columns into full-blown weekly glossy publications with scandalous and invasive photographs canvassing pages that used to be covered with news articles (facts) or literature (well-written fiction not trying to pass off as fact)? Are things so bad around us we so desperately needed to pack up our intelligence and send it on an indefinite vacation?

In a time where information is everywhere we choose to continuously ignore facts, burying ourselves in fantasies. We know sex sells but we fall for the ad every time. We know the music industry is littered with untalented yet perfectly manufactured acts but that doesn’t stop us for going gaga over the newest fluff they send our way downloading the mp3 and stuffing it into our ears every chance we get. We are surrounded by information clutter and we only want more unable to discern what is useful and worthwhile from what is simply taking up space.

The terrifying thing is we’ve gone past the point of no return. There’s no coming back from the abyss we’re in, we just won’t accept it. We’re junkies of trash and we can’t cut the supply even if we wanted to, we just hope someone else does it for us.

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