Monday, 3 August 2009

Step Away From Your Rag Mag

(this post was initially written for a blog I write for: The Voice of Mom)

Becky and Stephen +10 are on day 9 of a Florida beach vacation with 2 days to go.

Our HMF (self described high maintenance friends) were an absolute joy to be with and departed 2 days ago. With their departure we were left with their vacation rags that follow the “stars.” We do not have cable television, therefore much of the hyperbole in these publications is lost on us. However while travelling and staying in hotels, we had caught Jon and Kate +8 a couple of times and perused the rag-mags — enough to comment on the dynamics between the couple and how bizarre it must be to live your life under scrutiny — especially if you have a modicum of anxiety in your system (and don’t we all?).

Frankly, I’m sick to death of publications that obviously sell and sell and sell, pushing their unsubstantiated fodder; especially when it comes to folks that have it hard enough trying to keep some semblance of an emotionally healthy life while raising children (Brad and Angelina, Jon and Kate, Tom and Katie, and yes, Michael Jackson to name a few). But to have every move that you make with your children speculated about and made into a “when are they going to break up game” — geez, it’s no wonder other countries have questions about our values and priorities when we show that, as a nation, we are more interested in how a “star” looks in a bikini this year than how to help our fellow man or what is going on around the world.

On late night cable we saw a replay of an extensive interview of Michael Jackson being third-degreed about every angle of his life — plastic surgery, how he was parented, his own parenting . . . Which of us would want to sit in front of a camera and have every word we say and every move we make scrutinized? And yes, I would probably be shaking like I was high on crack too (recalling the leg-shaking Michael trying to feed his baby on camera to prove he could do it).

Earth to tabloid and star gossip show lovers: there’s a 4 letter word in the biz responsible for the hype that the networks and publication companies know sells: EDIT.

Yes, the flattering pictures of the star with their children, or the star’s figure, or their eloquent answers to the nosy questions frequently end up on the cutting room floor. Why? Because showing competence doesn’t sell dirt TV and rag mags.

After all the stares and comments we have gotten going through the airport and hanging at the beach and going into restaurants with our large brood, I have but an inkling of what it must be like for these parents that are constantly under the microscope and are, after all, just parents — like you and I: imperfect, learning, less than patient all the time, blown away by how much work parenting is and needing a break from scrutiny.

I wish the media would give them one.

Put your gossip rag down and repeat after me: “I will not be a part of the destruction of the lives of other human beings by supporting this unconscionable industry.”

If only the media could live up to the simple truths in one of my favorite vacation reads, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel– Be impeccable with your word, Don’t make assumptions, Always do your best– the “stars” wouldn’t have to practice the fourth agreement quite as much “Don’t take anything personally.”

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