Are we this bored? Is our entertainment really all about watching the spectacle of ill-fated celebrities? Does their sorrow bring us joy? Can we say that these spectacles add to our lives in some meaningful way? It seems that we have, as Kierkegaard noticed in the 19th century, become passive spectators of life. When he wrote, though, he was talking about exhibitions at a theme park. As I write, I am talking about the bad deeds and self-destruction of others. It seems that we have become more passive (Albert Borgmann argued that real reality T.V. would be a show where the people did nothing more than watch T.V.) and delighted by the sorrow and brokenness of others.
I could go on and on listing the recent celebrity gossip, and you could as well. But we also know that people are interested in the spectacles of every-day people too. I struggle with this! I know that this is not a Christian behavior. It is certainly not in line with a Christian moral theology to delight in the mess of other people's lives, or to be so idle as to know all the gossip. But I do not think it could be seen as morally permissible by any major religion or system of ethics!
What would it mean for our communities if we took words like this seriously:
28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. - Romans 1:28-32