Monday, October 16, 2006

How Simple Are We

I was thinking, as I was reading "Faces that could launch thousands of votes - Will beauty gap swing the House?" that perhaps I would name it "Stupidest story of the day". I was remembering the episode of Laverne & Shirley where Laverne was being interviewed by a T.V. reporter about her opinion of the Nixon/JFK debate. Laverne focused mainly on how she liked JFK better because Nixon was altogether too sweaty. It was a joke, it was intended to make us laugh. How absurd, I thought, that someone would base their vote on looks alone!
"He is pretty good-looking," observed Paula Ferrin with admiration, as the 47-year-old district attorney worked the crowd at a local senior center.
"What we want is brains, honey," scolded her friend Rose Oliver.

"True," Ferrin answered, "but handsome doesn't hurt."
Ah. Handsome doesn't hurt. That's when I realized that there's a basic truth: humans are, by nature, shallow. Nothing like bright colors or shiny objects to catch our attention, whether or not the item in question can hold that attention. If marketing didn't work, people wouldn't have jobs doing it. So all right, I rescind my earlier declaration of "stupid". I do wonder, though, why I get email alerts about this, but not about, say, an earthquake in Oklahoma, or even one in Maine. (hat tip, Cookie Jill, who told me what MSNBC didn't.)

I pondered this for a little while, and then it came to me - our brains hit overload levels and beg for relief. That's got to be it. After thinking about North Korea and their "Nuclear tests" and Mark Foley liking much younger men (how polite a way to put it is that?), or about the national debt, that I care about my soap opera, I care about pop culture.

I'm avidly watching the gossip news about Sara Evans wondering when the heck someone besides me is going to say out loud that my goodness, that woman is pregnant! She just seems awfully thick in the waist to me for someone who's in the spotlight all the time, not to mention someone who's going through the physical rigors of learning ballroom dance. No one gets heavier around the middle during that.

I'm sure I lose points as an intellectual for caring about this crap.

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