I finally did it. I watched the segment of the Barbara Walters Special in which she features Honey Boo Boo and her family. Walters named Alana Thompson one of the “Ten Most Fascinating People of 2012.”
Ms. Walters chose not to interview the family directly but presented previously seen clips. Apparently, she took a lot of heat for her choice which also helped to publicize her special before it aired. Intentionally or not, Alana was used to sell Walters’ program just as she has continued to be used by her mother and her family to garner money, recognition and fame.
What is most curious, is that the most “fascinating” questions as to why Honey Boo Boo has been so fascinating in 2012, were never asked, questions like:
- Why do people watch this show and why were its ratings higher in some markets, than the national political conventions?
- Fifteen years after the JonBenet Ramsey case, why is there a show called “Toddlers and Tiaras” and why is it more popular than ever?
- Why do parents keep putting their kids in beauty pageants?
As in the case of many television programs, initially people tune in for a little escape and perhaps some curiosity. Many can’t believe a show like this is even on TV. But if they become a regular watcher, they may be getting seduced in somewhat the same way as the participants and the parents. The voyeuristic quality of this whole endeavor feeds on itself. (yet another not-so-inadvertant food pun.)
Hollywood has never had good boundaries when it comes to child stars. The long list of children who hit adolescence just in time for an adult meltdown, is legendary in Hollywood. From Michael Jackson, to Lindsay Lohan, show biz has rarely had positive long-term effects on kids.
One has to wonder who is leading whom. Does the media lead the culture or is it creating it? In this case, individual citizens must begin to educate and lead the media by refusing to watch a spectacle in which children are being robbed of their childhoods before our very eyes.
Apparently, Barbara Walters was seduced too. It’s unfortunate that she didn’t use the opportunity to shed real light on Princess by Proxy Syndrome and the damaging consequences that await a whole new generation of little girls.