Monday, June 29, 2009

Too Much Information

In the wake of multiple deaths among the "famous people" community, there is emerging a real societal decision point. What is too much information? 

It was all fun and games when we were speculating about whether someone was pregnant, or some couple was on the outs. One might even say that being a hollywood star or starlett had an occupational peril of being overly observed and the topic of international gossip. It clearly is poorly tolerated by some (Lindsay, Britney), but others seem to find an equilibrium that is somewhere between active avoidance and intentional flaunting. 

But, someone's death is not an opportunity for gossip. Obituaries. Retrospectives. VH1 Behind the Music replays. Facebook mourning. This is all well and good. The world is allowed to mourn collectively. 

Then there's the inappropriate interviews. And their subsequent denials. Whether right or fabricated, the fact that there is an audience for the sexual details of MJ and Debbie's marital life is sickening. The fact that this audience emerges moments after his death is worse - since it isn't idle posturing by the living against each other. Children are involved. Whether fabricated by the press, who thought this was appropriate, or actually truly an interview, which is even more shocking, this type of information is simply not meant to be public. Ever.

Finally, there's that strange line of public information that has been garnered by the bloggers (who I admit to reading) but which really shouldn't be spread. 911 tapes of Billy May's wife upon finding her husband? Horrible! I know this is public information, but really, who can say that in her shoes, you wouldn't find that highly offensive internet gossip fodder. And leaked autopsy reports with graphic details? Truly? MJ was clearly, at a minimum, a very sick man. There's no reason for the world to have a visual map of his frailty,

There used to be lines in journalism - no photos of dead bodies. Leave the family to grieve. Respect the dead. Now, with our non-journalist blogging community, there is nothing but callus peddling in any and all information, for the right to have broken the sordid details. 

It saddens me. 

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