Change the Focus

I have a complicated relationship with pop culture. I really enjoy pretty much all forms of entertainment and am fascinated by the people that can do those sorts of things. But I hate the attendant drooling over every single aspect of these people’s lives, especially when people start getting obsessed with bad things that happen to bad people.

Amanda Bynes is self-destructive. Then stop giving her the attention. Kim and Kanye gave their baby a weird name. Why does that matter? Paula Deen is racist. We get it. Move on, let her career fall apart and stop picking it apart.

This last one bugs me the most because, at the same time, a true leader in entertainment died and gets a sliver of the attention. Part of this is because Gary David Goldberg didn’t want the spotlight, but when you hear what happened when he randomly struck up a conversation with actor Ike Barinholtz (Morgan from “The Mindy Project), you should realize that he deserved attention for simply being a good human being. Oh, and he created “Family Ties” and “Spin City” and won numerous writing awards.

Why do we celebrate those who bring out the worst in themselves? I know I will never get an answer and people will tell me how much fun it is to watch a trainwreck. Yeah, it can be entertaining, but what do you accomplish by standing alongside the smoldering wreckage and continuing to talk about the trainwreck while ignoring those people who didn’t crash?

So instead of posting or commenting on or sharing that horrific, but insipid, video of Paul Deen being the racist we know she is, take some time to read this tribute to Gary David Goldberg from Ken Levine, another television comedy legend.

He took advantage of his leverage at Paramount to create a day care center for working parents. Not a palatial office (his office was small and dark – his second cave?), not use of the corporate jet. A day care center for below-the-line studio employees who didn’t have the luxury of hot and cold running nannies. No studio up until that time even considered it. Paramount’s day care center is still operational today.

Personally, I prefer learning about those people who do good and trying to find a way to weave that into my life in stead of wringing every last bit of schadenfreude out of finding our the details of how bad someone we already didn’t like it.

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