Distressingly, this morning I read where Patrick Swayze’s publicist had to issue a statement denying the rumors of his demise. We all know how the tabloids and purveyors of scandal have mercilessly speculated on the health of Farrah Fawcett. It is disgusting to think that our values are so twisted that we focus on the tragedies and hardships in other people’s lives.
Farrah and Patrick have used their considerable talents to entertain and uplift the public that now salivates over their medical problems. Forgetting that we all have a date with final destiny, it seems that the vultures are lined up on the fence rail, just waiting for tragedy to strike two brave people who are battling cancer and have the drive to share their experiences as messages of encouragement to others who may face the same problems.
They deserve much better
Wake up America! Look at ourselves! Why in the name of all that is good do we relish reading about the tribulations of others? Why did we ever buy that first copy of yellow journalism staring us in the face at the check-out line in the supermarket? We cannot really blame the tabloids. If we don’t buy them, they won’t exist. If we don’t watch TMZ it won’t be on the air.
Let’s not forget that Farrah Fawcett was the girl who opted for a one piece swimsuit for a publicity poster bucking the trend of less being more in that 1970s genre. And what happened? Her poster sold 12 million copies, an all time record for a pinup. Farrah, we all knew was a beautiful young woman, but she told us to take notice, that there was a lot more to her than world famous hair and vivacious good looks. And once again, she was right, delivering powerful dramatic performances on stage, screen, and television. We owe Farrah more than morbid curiosity about her illness. We should be thanking her for all the pleasure she has brought into the world and praying for her struggle with a terrible disease.
And let’s not forget all the pleasure and entertainment Patrick Swayze brought into our lives. Who can forget him as Sam in Ghost or the brooding dancer in Dirty Dancing? We could list his filmography of performances that have seen us walk out of theaters more than satisfied at the quality of the entertainment he delivered—and, by the way is still delivering.
The point is that these brave people who have given the public so much deserve to receive appreciation and support—not prurient interest in their hardships. All the rumors and innuendo about celebrities really do not speak to their character because often they are not true and the public never has the full story. Wallowing in those rumors and innuendo, however, do speak to the character (or lack of it) of the people who support the sources of such drivel. The tabloid mentality doesn’t say much about the person who cultivates it.