It took President Obama’s inauguration to move Manti Te’o off the lead-story slot on most news programs. Now he’s back. I’ve been amazed—not so much about the dead-girlfriend hoax but about so many people’s fascination with it. Did Manti know that “his girlfriend” wasn’t a real person? Was he a victim or the mastermind?
Well, obviously millions must because radio talk shows discuss it, nightly news anchors discuss it, national TV news personalities discuss it, Facebook friends discuss it.
Apparently we have become a vampire society, living off the lives of other people–movie actors and sports figures, singers and celebrity dancers, bachelors and survivors.
Once people ridiculed the tabloids; now the tabloids are us. We care more about whether or not Manti Te’o was part of the dead-girlfriend plot than we do France’s involvement in Mali or what the rebels in the Congo are doing.
We’ve been TMZed, some say. But before TMZ, the TV show that prides itself in passing along celebrity gossip, there was Inside Edition and before Inside Edition was People Magazine. In reality, there’s been a steady climb toward the frivolous and vapid in our news.
The bottom line is, we have become a society that lives to be entertained. We want our news to be sensational, our commercials to be either amusing or easily bypassed, our entertainment to be constant. We live for the weekend and only endure the time in between that isn’t lived in front of a screen.
Manti Te’o is only the latest and certainly not the last person marked out by the media for constant, overwhelming attention–his fifteen minutes of fame. He’s a high profile athlete from a high profile school coming off a high profile season, and his story seemed too sad to be real.
Lost in all this is the fact that Manti’s grandmother really did die, though the pretend girlfriend did not. But real grief doesn’t quite live up to sensationalized deception, and the story has become, who lied? Who commandeered the “girlfriend’s pictures,” and set up the fraudulent scenario?
Why should anyone care?
But already there’s been talk about lawsuits, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a book deal is in the works. I mean, strike while the iron is hot!
All this simply makes me think, How the mighty have fallen.