There’s not much (if anything) about family court that impresses me, particularly the way kids are routinely and mindlessly overlooked and volleyed about like meaningless tools or weapons. Because of my already dismally low opinion, I am not surprised by the media circus surrounding the custody hearing for Michael Jackson’s children or the repeated exposure of Jon & Kate Plus 8’s kids during their incessant tabloid parade.
It’s impossible to miss the pictures of these kids plastered on countless celebrity dirt magazines at every cash register, and clearly they wouldn’t be there if such trash didn’t sell copies. What entertainment value is held by reading about children who just lost a parent, or kids dealing with a very public parental separation with accusations slung in bold, capital letters pawned as casual reading material while you wait to pay for your Wheaties, bread, and milk?
I don’t watch Jon & Kate Plus 8, and I haven’t read a single magazine article about them, their impending divorce, or who did what to whom, if anything. Curious how the TLC website was handling this presumably unanticipated turn of events, I skimmed the show’s blog, where readers were invited to leave “comments, advice, and words of encouragement” for the family’s future.
To date, 2, 472 people have chosen to do just that, a few kind words peppered with insults, accusations, and finger-pointing judgments. Evidentally watching a pre-packaged television show has rendered many people incapable of understanding that they have been spoon-fed what producers want them to see, and that they in no way actually know these people. Comments directed at each parent in turn point out each one’s faults and all the reasons they are single-handedly responsible for the current situation, in a typically pompous, all-knowing tone as the visitor dispenses self-proclaimed invaluable insight regarding a situation with which they in fact have no intimate or even passing knowledge.
And, as usual, in the midst of all the insults, accusations, finger-pointing, and “me, me, me”, the kids are lost yet again, used as media pin-ups to gather attention and sway public opinion, held up and dangled like money-making carrots while their hearts, souls, and feelings are brushed under the rug as inconvenient collateral items that will be swept up and disposed of later like wadded-up trash.
My disgust reached a new low when I read this at the end of an article about the custody of Michael Jackson’s children: “The attorneys were outnumbered only by media outlets jockeying for seats in the hearing.”
Since when is it more important to ensure each media outlet has its fair bite of the cash-cow entertainment pie instead of making sure the best decision is made and that the kids’ well-being is taken care of? Well, pretty much since always, it seems. I have yet to see a lawyer or judge or even many parents whose priority truly rests with the children. Bring on your horse-and-pony show of lies, accusations, sob stories, and retaliatory filings! Make us laugh, make us cry, make us leap to our feet in a standing ovation for the most dramatic performance in a courtroom, then please exit stage left and do be a dear and kick those bleeding, broken kiddos out of the way as you go, please. We have no damn use for them once court adjourns and the show is over.