Sunday, May 1, 2011

And You Thought Odysseus and DiCaprio Were a Weird Match?

Because I am so engrossed in Unbroken at the present time, this will be a quite alternative species of post.  The following is a nonfiction piece in which I express how you won't donate to the Japanese reief effort once it gets boring by comparing the Japan's Tsunami/Earthquake to a different, pop-cultural disaster: Britney Spears. I sincerely hope that it has immense, thought-provoking power over its readers.
Okay, so we’re watching the VMAs, right? Lady Gaga flying in on a hang-glider, a paramedic following Justin Bieber as leagues of teenagers faint in his presence, Ryan Seacrest making awkward jokes with singers who would much rather be talking to someone else, Katy Perry being dragged away by police for public nudity, Japan’s Tsunami/Earthquake disaster being stalked by the paparazzi, -wait, huh? Japan’s Tsunami/Earthquake Disaster? How could that be there? A natural chaos does not qualify as a celebrity, should not be trudging down the red carpet as mammoth cameras snap pictures of its indisputable glamour. No, of course not.     
            What if I told you that it did?
            Let’s for several minutes divert our attention from this specific natural disaster and move to one more easily applicable to the subject at hand: Haiti. On January twelfth of last year, this nation suffered a devastating earthquake (with a magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter’s Scale, for you earth science aficionados) that redefined the meaning of a terrestrial hell. The capital of the most impoverished country in the Western Hemisphere, Port-au-Prince, was completely demolished; buildings were leveled, three hundred and sixteen thousand people were left dead, and any amount of stability previously achieved in the corrupt nation was utterly eradicated. When this phenomenon occurred, Haiti suddenly seemed to be the focus of every country on Earth- every newspaper in existence would not possess a single reader if Haiti’s present condition was not clearly printed on its front page, each news program viewerless if the subject left uncovered.  People worldwide were famished for information, their sympathy sometimes growing so unbridled that it transformed into unhealthy obsession. It could be correct to compare this worldwide fascination with how people treated Ms. Brittany Spears, singing seductress of the ages, at the peak of her fame. When she first emerged from the New Mickey Mouse Club in 1998 with her immensely popular single, “…Baby One More Time”, the star was launched into bubble gum pop’s ever-abducting spotlight. With the new millennium came her hit “Oops! I did it again!” and even more media attention as rumors about her relationship with Justin Timberlake began to circulate. The more sexualized album Britney was released in 2001, Britney giving a landmark performance of her song “Slave 4 U” with a skimpy dress and a boa constrictor only two years later. Yet despite her gradual descent into trashdom, Spears was still on top of the world.  “Toxic”, a dance-tune that was compiled within the sophomore album In the Zone, earned Britney her first Grammy. At that point, millions of teens nationwide were passionately beginning to idolize the woman; they desired that bleach-blonde hair, that ridiculously thin figure they thought was the key to a successful life, that sweet voice which made her more than simply a pretty face. It must have been actually weird if one didn’t want to Britney Spears in that time.
             Matters after the triumph of In the Zone, however, did not prove to be so wonderful. A Las-Vegas Marriage with childhood friend Jason Alexander culminated in annulment, and Spears soon established a relationship with a backup dancer by the name of Kevin Federline. Federline was an excellent man who already had a pregnant girlfriend. Bad enough for you, Britney? Apparently so-she and Federline got married in later 2004, soon producing a child that Britney was intelligent enough to set on her lap while she drove in a certain incident. Spears was rapidly losing her famous reputation as a sweetly innocent girl with a pretty-nice voice. Then came the divorce, the fervent custody battles, the head-shaving (my personal favorite), the checking in and out of rehab…you know the story. And since the American public has gotten bored with even these atrocities, she is no longer a frequent in the news.
            So wait a second, when was the last time you saw the Haitian disaster in the news? A month? Two months? There was a big buzz in January when pretty much every media outlet was reporting that the country was still in anarchic chaos a year after the disaster. However, there were no follow-up reports about the condition’s specifics-just one, concise FYI. This rise to fame and gradual fall, this storm of media attention and eventual ignorance…it sort of reminds me of somebody. A certain person mentioned in the last paragraph.
            That’s right, kids. Britney Spears.
            Both phenomena were at one point heavily integrated into pop culture, what with Britney being Pop’s newest princess at the onset of the millennium and a celebrity-studded charity telethon by the name of “Hope for Haiti Now” being held to benefit disaster-aid. It was quite unfortunate that when people eventually got bored with both subjects after a time, each one endured a rapid boot out of the media spotlight. Networks found alternate news stories that they knew would generate more viewership for their respective news programs.  The subjects of Britney and Haiti were equally exhausted-viewers got bored from seeing the same topic over and over, eventually obtaining the notion that they knew everything about it. The network would therefore gain money when those viewers tuned into their specific news program since it covered a topic besides Britney or Haiti. Therefore, the network would gain more of a profit. Money is the greatest motivator the world has and will ever witness.
            So will Japan’s Tsunami/Earthquake escape the fate of the Haitian chaos?  How about this-will I ever stop asking you guys rhetorical questions? You know the answer-no. One hundred percent no. Despite the fact that this horrible tragedy destroyed leagues of buildings, left hundreds of thousands lifeless and even more void of electricity, it will soon become news of the past. But-and this is the imperative part-you can help. Mention Japan in any conversations you have. Mention it on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Stumbleupon, Tumblr, picnik, whatever stalkerish website you prefer. Stay informed by researching news articles about the subject, for the more news outlets see people reading such articles, the more they will publish them.
            Today is April 24, 2011. By the time you are reading this article, gone will be any attention the disaster in the Land of the Rising Sun’s. If the cycle remains unchanged, of course.
            Don’t let one of the most devastating disasters of our time meet the same fate as a chick who was nuts enough to shave her head.
            Change it.      
*This piece used the following sources:

"7.0 Earthquake Hits Haiti; 'Serious Loss of Life Expected, - CNN." CNN, 12 Jan. 2010. Web. 25 Apr. 2011.

Archibold, Randal C. "Haiti: Quake’s Toll Rises to 316,000." The New York Times 14 Jan. 2011, New York ed. The New York Times, Jan. 2011. Web. 25 Apr. 2011.

"Britney Spears." Biography. Web. 25 Apr. 2011.

CNN Wire Staff. "Widespread Destruction from Japan Earthquake, Tsunamis." CNN, 11 Mar. 2011. Web. 25 Apr. 2011.


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