Somebody–maybe Mark Twain, H. L. Mencken, Sinclair Lewis, Nathaniel West, Joseph Heller, Tom Wolfe, or John Stewart–once said that it’s impossible to satirize American life, because by the time you get the satire done, the reality has already eclipsed your fantasy.
That seems truer and truer each day. Just think of recent celebrity eruptions, for example: The pathetic wannabees mocked on American Idol; the Octomom–who’s now signed for a reality TV show, of course; the Balloon Boy family; and now the White House gate crashers. You could make this stuff up, but why bother? Just check the morning headlines. For them, the unpublicized life is not worth living.
These people worm their way into your consciousness, taking up valuable mental real estate even in the minds of those who loathe them. You don’t have to be a “consumer” of their actual product, whatever that is, to wallow in their trashy lives. They pervade society, a constant and depressing low-grade fever that never quite goes away.
What to do? I’ve got more thoughts on Celeb Overload in a radio commentary here.