Fascinating or FasciNOing?
Last night Barbara Waters named David Petraeus (the ex director of the CIA) as her “Most Fascinating” person of 2012.
Fascinating or FasciNOing??
Disappointment is an understatement.
I was already anticipating being disappointed when I saw that Honey Boo Boo was in the running for the top spot on Walter’s list when the promos started running a few weeks ago, so I really wasn’t sitting down watching the show with high hopes. I do understand the fascination with reality stars and in my opinion there is an interesting yet peculiar draw to watching someone on TV with flaws, and even more so with bad behavior. So in that sense, you could call a culture that puts a show like that on TV as fascinating, although I can’t say that if you single out the child, she herself was particularly fascinating. I mean, jumping from space or tightrope walking over the Niagara Falls or winning the Olympics is fascinating. Burping and talking with your overweight belly button: not so much.
But that is neither here or there because my slight dissatisfaction with Honey Boo Boo was soon overshadowed with my major disappointment in Barbara Walters when I saw that she picked Petraeus as the winner of the show.
Barbara states about her choice:
“David Petraeus was not chosen this year for his war record or his exemplary service to his country, This is about military honor colliding with sex and lies in the digital age.”
When you google the word fascinating, this is what comes up:
Adjective: Extremely interesting: “fascinating facts” arousing great interest. enchanting or alluring
Synonyms: charming – enchanting – captivating – glamorous.
Then I googled:
A person who acts dishonestly in order to gain an advantage. To deceive by trickery. To violate rules deliberately, as in a game. To mislead; fool.
Synonyms: cheat – deceiver – swindler.
I just have trouble making the connection between being an interesting and captivating and glamorous person and the definition of what Petraeus did; which was be forced to resign from his high-ranking position because of the discovery of an adulterous extramarital affair that he had. Cheating on your spouse is not cool, it’s not charming, it doesn’t make you an interesting person. It makes you bad role model, a jerk, dishonest, cowardly; those types of things, but in my opinion, not quite fascinating enough to top a chart of newsworthy people. Him on the list glamourizes being a cheater and the notion that it’s somehow enchanting; and that the gross part. I’m not saying David Petraeus isn’t newsworthy, because indeed he is. The story of his affair was a big one this year, just as there were a lot of really big, not so great news stories in 2012. But to put all the infamous people who land in the news for whatever idiot thing they do on a list of fascinating people isn’t really what I would call particularly congruous with the definition of the word. Maybe the fascinating part isn’t the person at all, maybe it’s the fact that we spend so much time putting people with bad behavior on a pedestal. I think that maybe Barbara ought to change the name of her annual special from Most Fascinating People to America’s Peculiar Fascination with Morons. definitely seems more appropriate.