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My Take

National Enquirer

Mark McGee
Posted 8/27/22

Most of us while waiting and waiting and waiting in the checkout line at the grocery store, drug store or large discount store have taken a look at the headlines on the front of the National Enquirer …

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My Take

National Enquirer

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Most of us while waiting and waiting and waiting in the checkout line at the grocery store, drug store or large discount store have taken a look at the headlines on the front of the National Enquirer and other assorted tabloids.  

I used to laugh at those headlines because they were so outrageous. Who would believe what they are writing? Well, there isn’t much to laugh about any more.  

With the world in the state it is in today we are living in a tabloid world. What were once bizarre headlines are now commonplace in most media outlets. In the past weeks in the established media the stories range from a two-headed kitten being born to Artificial Intelligence is creating images that humans will find to be terrifying.  

Mass killings have been on the increase making people think twice about going…anywhere. Brawls are breaking out at public events such as football games. Stores are being robbed and their employees are being attacked. Serving cold French fries justifies killing the server. A woman is in love with a fence and wants to marry it. Passengers are being removed from airplanes at a higher rate than ever before for outrageous behavior. And these are just the things I can write about in a family newspaper.  

As comedian Steven Wright one asked during one of his routines, “Is it weird in here, or is it just me?” Well, Steven, it is weird in here and out there.  

I sometimes teach a class on media and culture on the college level. One thing we study is how violence has escalated through the years in film as directors try to out gross each other.  

I fear the same thing is happening with weirdness. Just where is all this strangeness going to stop?  

On May 30th of this year Olga Khazan wrote an analysis of the phenomenon in The Atlantic magazine and website entitled “Why People Are Acting So Weird.” She referenced a study by Christine Porath, a business professor at Georgetown University who has determined “the No.1 reason by far people are acting in an outrageous manner was feeling stressed or overwhelmed”.  

Who in this day and time doesn’t feel stressed and overwhelmed when it appears there is a new illness always ready to rear its ugly head or when we have to pay so much more for everything from gas to food.

During the pandemic many people forgot what it was like to interact with others and are having trouble making the adjustment to being back out in the world. In all this mayhem I feel sorry for all of those tabloid editors.  

How do you produce stories that are stranger than real life? Reality has become too real. 

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