Dear shipmates, we regret to announce that the Captain has made the diagnosis and confirmed it.
The American public is sick.
The people of the United States are afflicted with a chronic case of celebrity obsession.
You can find the evidence in the headlines:
“RIP Tinkerbell, Parish Hilton’s Pooch and Purse Dweller”(This was a national news report about the death of Paris Hilton’s 14-year-old Chihuahua.)
“Kim Kardashian Can’t Fix Armenia’s Bleak Future”(Kardashian traveled to Armenia to try to make that nation feel better after more than 100 years of genocide.)
“Bruce Jenner Comes Out As Transgender”(This report recapped the Diane Sawyer interview with Jenner that ABC aired on Friday night.)
Who are these people and why should we care?
Let’s begin at the top.
Paris Hilton is the great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, the founder of Hilton Hotels. While Conrad worked hard for his money, Paris' “celebrity” status is based solely on her relation to him and the money he left her. As a young socialite, Paris made a splash in the New York City nightlife scene, and as a result she and BFF Nichole Ritchie starred for five years in the FOX reality series “The Simple Life”. Eventually the pair had a spat and the show was cancelled.
The term “famous for being famous” was coined specifically for Paris & Nichole.
And who is Nichole Ritchie? She is the adopted daughter of singer Lionel Ritchie, and the goddaughter of pop sensation Michael Jackson – two talented men who actually worked for a living.
Then there’s Kim Kardashian. Kim, you may have heard, recently “broke the internet”.
Kim first became famous for being a friend of Paris Hilton. Eventually she and her family were offered a reality TV series on E! called “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” – that’s the title as well as the plot line – which is now in its 10th season. Kim is currently married to singer Kanye West – a media whore if there ever was one – and to date she has done very little with her life other than to be famous.
So why anyone thinks Kim Kardashian could do anything to help Armenia is beyond me.
CAPTAIN’S NOTE: Kim’s birth father was a 3rd generation Armenian-American… just so you’ll see the connection there – thin though it may be.
Which brings us to Bruce Jenner.
The Captain would first like to apologize for this. Since last week, Jenner’s face and name have been plastered all over the media, to the point that the entire Crew of Banana Winds has grown ill. I didn’t want to perpetuate this blight, but it fits into today’s blog.
The funniest comment I heard this weekend related to Jenner’s “coming out” announcement was, “Who is Bruce Jenner?” And I personally believe this may contribute to the coming out story.
Go back in time with me if you will, dear children, to 1976. Bruce Jenner won the decathlon in the Summer Olympics that year and was declared “World’s Greatest Athlete”.
Unfortunately, being the World’s Greatest Athlete doesn’t put food on the table or pay the bills. So Jenner tried his hand at acting – how hard could that be, right? – landing a starring role in the 1980 Village People flop, “Can’t Stop the Music”, and various other unremarkable titles.
Then in 1991 he married Kris Kardashian – another non-event. They had two beautiful daughters, and Bruce was swept back into the limelight when the Kardashians were awarded a reality TV show in 2007.
Yes, it is significant to note that the show was not called “Keeping Up with the Jenners”.
Bruce & Kris split up in 2013, after which rumors of Jenner’s gender dysphoria began circulating.
So on Friday, missing the lights and cameras of reality TV, Jenner sat down with Diane Sawyer for a lengthy televised interview, and we’ve heard virtually nothing but “Bruce Jenner” from the media ever since! Everyone who ever knew Jenner are sharing their opinions, as well as others who never knew him - like the Captain.
And sadly, Jenner has now been offered his own reality TV show.
Now here’s what bothers the Captain about all of this.
First, people have suffered from gender dysphoria for hundreds of years. Bruce Jenner is not the first man to ever decide he wanted to become a woman. In fact, the first sex-change operation was for George Jorgensen Jr. back in 1951; he died as Christine Jorgensen in 1989.
Cross-dressers and transsexuals have been a part of the Captain’s life since as far back as he can remember, and a part of history for as long as humans have existed.
Second, with only a brief success at the 1976 Olympics, Bruce Jenner has not excelled at anything else. His only recent claim to anything near “fame” is that he co-starred on a reality TV show which was really about the women of the family, not him.
Third, reality TV is not reality. None of these people are “stars” and they should not be granted celebrity status. They have produced nothing of value, and they have done nothing to better the human condition.
Let me tell you who we should be “obsessed” with.
-On Saturday, a half-dozen members of my church prepared a wonderful meal, took it to the local food kitchen, and fed 137 hungry people.
That same day, another group from the church prepared and served a grief dinner for a family and friends who lost a beloved family member too soon.
And on Sunday, 40 church members and others from the community came to my church and donated blood to the American Red Cross.
And yet, you won’t see their faces in “People Magazine”. They won’t be highlighted on “Entertainment Tonight”. There are no reality TV show offers for them.
But it doesn’t get any more real than this.
These are the people who matter. These are the people who are doing something special to make the world a better place. These are the people we should be celebrating.