More substance, with a little less style, please


You rotten kids. Get off my lawn!

For the record, I don’t have a lawn. But I wanted to give you an idea of what’s coming to you in the following paragraphs. This will come off as a “grumpy-old-man” piece to some of you — one of those articles where the out-of-touch old guy rambles on about the days of yore, while bemoaning our youth and their crazy rock and/or roll music.

And, there might be some of that in play here. I’m guessing that we don’t truly realize when we’ve crossed the threshold and become “champions of the good-ol’ days” at the expense of the latest, greatest generations to follow. It’s kind of like driving. Nobody believes he or she is a bad driver, but, well, there are a lot of them out there. Like that idiot in the black SUV this morning who almost took me out while...

But I digress.

My original idea when I sat down to scribble this piece was that things are genuinely crazy “out there” today. Yes, you could argue that things have been crazy ever since people started walking around this dusty, spinning ball we call Earth, and you wouldn’t be wrong. For some reason, humanity has consistently put as much emphasis on killing one another as building great things or helping one another out when a hand is needed.

Greed, war, obstructionism, theft, rape, murder and religious persecution have been around since before we left the caves, and show no apparent signs of slowing down anytime soon. To act like barbarism and bigotry are exclusive to what we have around us today would be naive and ignorant.

No, what I’m focusing on today is what I’ve dubbed the “15 Minutes” world.

For those of you who haven’t seen this movie, I can’t really say I recommend it. Frankly, it wasn’t that great. But when it came out in 2001, it came with Robert DeNiro in it, so I took the bait.

It featured two brothers from western Europe who came to the United States and found fame by filming their criminal activities and passing the recordings on to a tabloid-like television show. They were spurred by the attention they received, and continued to go further and further down a very dark road with their actions.

The movie kind of captured this “instant celebrity” ideal we have so wholeheartedly embraced in this nation, and world. At the time of the movie, that “instant celebrity” came in the form of tabloid television and radio talk shows. Today, it can be found on 24-hour news networks, the Internet and reality television shows.

We have famous bearded guys who hunt ducks. Kardashians. Instagram models. A commenter on the website ProFootballTalk.com has reached celebrity status that sees him now being interviewed on ESPN shows and various online sources. If you truly want your 15 minutes of fame, now is the time to go get it.

Honestly, it really doesn’t bother me anymore. It used to really get my goat (Get-off-my-lawn term) when people would become “famous for being famous,” but I guess I’ve seen enough of it that it really doesn’t burn my rear (Get-off-my-lawn) anymore. Nor does our insipid infatuation with celebrities and their private lives. Hey, if you’re not bothering me or mine, I frankly don’t care what brings you joy.

But it does bother me that we place so much significance in this insta-fame. Donald Trump is seemingly very close to obtaining the nomination from the GOP to run for president of the United States, and I feel that much of his popularity has come from his position on the reality show “The Apprentice” and his deft ability to generate sound bites. Sarah Palin, who once very famously ran for vice president of this great nation, has already had one reality show based on her experiences in Alaska, and has now signed on to make a pilot for a reality courtroom TV show.

Warm Springs Production spokesman Howard Bragman told the Alaska Dispatch News that Palin is a natural for the role because she’s telegenic and not afraid to give her opinion. He added that she has no legal training, but let’s not allow that to figure into her deciding court cases. So, she’s pretty and says things that offend. That means ratings.

Now, I’m not trying to pick on the Republicans for this at all. They are just the two I can think of that have legitimately starred in reality shows. The Clinton family has basically been airing a reality show for two decades and Bernie Sanders has never met a microphone he doesn’t like.

It’s just... man, this is our government. These are the people who could lead our armed forces, set the course for new laws and inspire Americans to be their best through sheer determination and offer support and backing for technological and health advances.

I miss Ike. I miss Teddy. Now, get off my lawn.