We're living in a culture of ridicule and it's getting out of hand. It all started with William Hung. He's the tone-deaf American Idol contestant who got air time and fame because he was so freakin' awful. That gave American Idol good reason to broadcast the performances of delusional non-talents who think they can sing. Other reality shows have happily followed suit.
Then came You Tube, the site that lets people embarrass anybody - teachers are a favourite target - by posting videos many of the subjects don't even know are being taken.
Most current example of the triumph of our culture of ridicule: the way Britney Spears is being maligned - online, on late-night TV and in editorial comics all over North America. Doens't anybody remember that this is a woman who became too famous, too soon, in a business that chews up its stars and spits them out when they're damn good and ready. Instead of mocking, humiliating and expressing satisfaction about her demise, we should all be asking, "Why isn't somebody helping her?"
We know that whoever runs the MTV Music Video Awards sure as hell isn't. Kanye West got it right when he said that the producers of the MVAs should have cancelled Spears's performance when she came two and half hours late to the rehearsal carrying an iced margarita in her hand. But no, instead of turning Spears away and doing a little rearranging, the producers hung her, and the show, out to dry, electing to go for whatever sick pleasures they could give to their audience by going ahead with what was obviously going to be an appalling performance.
The whole point of an awards show is to show the best in the business not the worst. Yes, Spears has to be accountable for her own behaviour, but the MVA producers were responsible for that show. They should be lambasted as hard, if not harder than Spears herself, for what happened on the program.
Yesterday, Spears parted ways with her management company. I'm hoping she did so because she, too, is asking, "Why isn't somebody helping me?"