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Why Do We Care?

Last November they started appearing! They’d slowly trickle into my mailbox. At first it was one or two a month. Then it seemed to become a little more assertive, showing up weekly. By February, it seemed to be several times a week! In March it took on an almost threatening tone!

RENEW NOW!!! THIS IS THE BEST RATE WE CAN OFFER, BUT ONLY FOR A LIMITED TIME! RENEW NOW, BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE! YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS A SINGLE ISSUE OF PEOPLE MAGAZINE!

My subscription would not be ending until May! Interestingly enough, I don’t recall receiving a single renewal notice during the entire month of April.

I always argue with myself when it’s time to renew my PEOPLE magazine. It’s a pricey magazine. A year subscription can set you back $134.46. That includes twenty-three cents postage and handling per issue.

When so many other magazines are practically giving themselves away for prices like $10 and twelve dollars a year, that $134 plus change seems a bit steep. Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve always enjoyed PEOPLE. When it comes to celebrity gossip, it’s the one magazine I trust for accurate gossip. Recently I saw a blurb about George Clooney, the eternal bachelor, being engaged! I wouldn’t believe it until I confirmed it on PEOPLE’S website.

But here’s the thing. Why do I care?! Why do I care that George Clooney is planning to finally marry? Why do I care that Will and Kate have taken their cherubic little prince to New Zealand and Australia? Why do I care if Tori Spelling is putting her fractured marriage on yet another reality show? Why do I care what is going on in the lives of any of those people or any other celebrity for that matter? I don’t know any of them. Their lives do not have any affect on my life.

When a celebrity marries, divorces, gives birth, goes into rehab, creates their own fragrance, wins an award or goes to the bathroom, it does NOT affect me! Why do I care?! What compels me to discuss these things with my friends? Why do any of us care?

It’s not just celebrity type magazines anymore either. It has spilled over onto our local news. With the regular usage of social media we practically know what the news will be before it even happens. And instead of just reporting the facts and moving onto the next story, the news stations will post questions on your favorite social network, asking you what you think about the story.

“Bob here from XYZ News! Twelve bodies were found in Bubba’s backyard and Bubba was caught with a shovel! It’s not looking good for Bubba. What do you, the viewer, think about this?”

Then a few “lucky” social networkers will get to hear their thoughts read on the 10:00 news. Why? Commenting on the news is now news? When the news chooses to share a story on social media, they open the door for everyone to share their opinion about the story.

Can you imagine what the moon landing would have been like if Facebook had been around?! Grainy pictures of Apollo 11 would start appearing on everyone’s pages. Many would create a new profile picture using the American Flag or Neil Armstrong’s boots on the moon’s surface. A picture of a photoshopped Walgreens on the moon would go viral. Walter Cronkite would be updating his Facebook page via Twitter. All the while, he’d be asking us, the American people, what our thoughts are about this historic event!

There would be the inevitable conspiracy theorists who would start posting links to various pages that would declare the entire moon landing a hoax. There would be photos of white beach balls with “craters” drawn on them and little flags stuck to them. G.I. Joe would be in a bad astronaut costume and duct taped to the “moon ball”! A quick look at snopes would show the intelligent reader that the “moon ball” was indeed a hoax and would have links to transcripts and recordings of the actual launch and landing.

Obviously, the moon landing was huge news! It’s something that most people cared about and had an opinion about. The moon landing would’ve been talked about over dinner or around the water cooler and yes, if we’d have had social media back then, it would’ve blown up the internet.

I guess we’ve always had an opinion about the world, the universe and what’s going on around us. Why do we care? Why do we have to have an opinion about everything?! We’re curious? We have thoughts? We’re judgmental? Yeah, we are all those things. But we are also compassionate. We have been known to band together and raise large amounts of money for people who’ve suffered great tragedy. We’ve shared pictures of lost children, family members, & pets and found them! We’ve shared our thoughts and prayer requests. All because we cared and had an opinion. Let’s face it, I have an opinion right now. That’s why I’m writing this! But I’ve gotta go now. It’s May and I have to renew my People subscription.

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