Tuesday, March 4, 2014

That Poor Thing Called Fame

The Original Line Up of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, 2010, from the LA Times, public domain/fair use claimed, http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/showtracker/2010/08/bravo-officially-announces-real-housewives-of-beverly-hills-lineup-and-premiere-date.html
Greetings All:

Monday night in our house means, "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" night.  Now before some of you say, "Son, step away from the MacBook Air and let me see your man card,"  allow me to explain that the Housewives is something I watch by choice.  This was not the plan, I assure you.  However, it would be a lie to say that I  have not become a fan of the show, I have.  Well, perhaps fan is not the best word.  I started watching it with my wife Dawn.  But for her, I would never have paid it any attention.  However, it is something that I do watch, willingly.  At times, I look forward to it.  We all deserve (and I might add, need) some guilty pleasures.  As much as I respect, admire and like Tim Feriss, I reject his "low information diet," philosophy.  I follow the news a lot, probably more than I should.  So the whole "Housewives" genre is both amusing and entertaining.  It's the "Pop Tarts" of television for me.  Lots of flavor, no real value.

The show does have an intoxicating draw.  If you've not heard of the show, think of it as The Real World fast-forwarded two decades with the disposable income.  Put another way, it is, glamorous people doing glamorous things.

Or so it seems.  If you follow this genre, you are aware that more than one of the "Housewives" have fallen on hard times.  Then again, one might say they walked right into the brick wall of reality while they were too busy smiling for the cameras and not watching where they (and their bank account) was going.

One of the early Housewives, Bethany Frankel, lit into the mother ship of the "Housewives," Bravo TV, by accusing them of purposefully hiring ladies who talk a good game and walk in very nice shoes, yet are broke.  She states the shows stars are, "...all show and no go" and are more intent of flaunting faux wealth than actually amassing that money!"


Considering what has unfolded with a number of the "Housewives," she's got a point.  It seems as if when the bubble burst a few years ago, a LOT of people who appeared to be doing well were actually falling into one, without the bucket of a line of credit.

The poster kids for this "manufactured lifestyle," are Joe and Teresa Guidice.  Today, they pleaded guilty in Federal court to a number of crimes.  It looks as if they are both off to Federal prison for a few years.  If you want to check out the indictment, here it is:


Joe and Teresa at Federal Court, Bravo TV, Fair Use Claimed, see full citation below


Less anyone think I am giddy about this, I am not.  Joe and Teresa have four kids and their lives are going to, more than likely, become very different, very soon.  My heart goes out to them.  Regret can be a heavy burden and even though we all carry it for our own errors and omissions, in our hearts, the weight often shifts to those we love.  Who knows, maybe Joe and Teresa will come out of prison stronger, better people and help others inside.  It is the best to hope for.  Still, there will be no producers from Bravo to help edit any of it.

Damon Young, a philosopher I've never heard of, wrote an article about the scientist who won the Nobel Prize earlier this year in his article, Curiosity vs. Celebrity:  Why Do Some Reject Fame?  He concluded it the following:

"We are, as far as we know, the only species who can speculate on the nature of reality. We have a gift for precise, systematic thinking, which combines deft calculation with bold imagination.
This is not what we are for, but it does seem a waste to devote the only known higher intellect in the cosmos solely to brute necessity or restless distraction – or the combination of the two: celebrity."

As I watch these shows, it reminds me that while I don't live the life of the "Housewives," I don't have to pay the costs of that lifestyle.  We all make bad investments.  We have a house in Arizona that is my "Exhibit A."  That is nothing compared to the cost that celebrity can bring and it's not the base price, it's the interest.  

I'll wrap up this post with a quote from one of my favorite writers, Marcus Aurelius.  These words are as relevant as when he wrote them as a Roman Emperor,  "...that poor thing called fame..."

Poor indeed.  When I view my life I realize just how wealthy I am, even here in Iowa, far away from the fame of Reality TV.  And for that, I am grateful.

Be well my friends,

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