Posted tagged ‘Health Care Debate’

Robsten and Government “Death Panels”

September 2, 2009

Until recently, I’ve never focused much on celebrities.  Even recently, I’ve only focused on one celebrity.  (If you’ve followed this blog at all, you know which celebrity that is.)

My biggest number of posts on a single subject have probably been about him (Robert Pattinson, if you are new to this blog.)  The second largest number has probably centered  on the stress and isolation of modern life.  (I’m including in this number some of the ones not technically categorized under stress, but which probably should be, i.e. those on single parenting, marriage, Friday night gym, even some on writer’s block.)   I’m guessing that there’s a link there.  (Yes, between parenting and stress, but what I’m really talking about is stress and a friendly, middle-aged interest in Robert Pattinson.)

But although both stress and my Manic D personality continue in full force, my interest in RPatz is slowly beginning to fade.  (My family members will soon be able to breathe a collective sigh of relief.)

(Of course, Rob’s next movie is due out in November.  Who knows what that will inspire?)

But putting Pattinson himself aside—(by the way, he just gave a really very charming interview in—STOP IT RIGHT NOW!)

But (ahem) putting Pattinson himself aside, what continues to fascinate me is the coverage of him by the blogosphere, the little internet “news” outlets, the entertainment weeklies.

It’s really quite amazing.

The stories remind me of a big supernova daisy where one little comment by Pattinson,  Kristen Stewart (his co-star), an “insider”, or some other celebrity who has never actually met Pattinson, will generate huge petal-ly loops of increasingly remote speculation.

When Rob has managed to evade the paparazzi for some time (as has happened recently), the celebrity “news” media even stoops to openly fictional stories based upon the activities of the character he portrays.  See, e.g. the recent cover of one entertainment rag which proclaims him and Stewart to be “ENGAGED!” on the set of third Twilight movie.  What I believe the story is about (I really really really have not actually read it) is the engagement of Pattinson’s and Stewart’s characters.

The whole celebrity daisy phenomenon has set me to wondering how mainstream news is reported.

And, frankly, the reporting of the health care debate has led me to believe that the mainstream news world is really not that different from the fantastical Twilight realm of Pattinson and the paparazzi.

The furor over government “death panels” comes especially to mind.   This uproar, which has no basis in reality, seems especially ironic given that currently much medical care for the elderly and the disabled is already provided by the government in the form of medicare and Medicaid.  (The number of persons in nursing homes and disabled adults supported by Medicaid is already legion.  Medicaid planning is a huge and accepted area of the law.  Reports of Medicare and Medicaid recipients being denied care by government panels are relatively small, certainly as compared to reports of non-Medicaid patients denied private insurance coverage.)

The death panel outcry reminds me of last summer’s netroar over Kristen Stewart’s alleged pregnancy (with RPatz as father, of course.)  The seed for this was apparently a blog in Australia (Stewart was in L.A. at the time) which reported that Stewart had asked a friend to purchase a pregnancy test for her.  Dozens (maybe even hundreds) of  headlines inquiring into Stewart’s childbearing status immediately followed.  Soon, they featured photos of Stewart in skin tight pants which were magnified to huge blurry proportions.  Arrows were drawn on the photos to point out a supposed tummy bump.  (The slender Kristen was not only supposed to be pregnant but showing.)  Pictures of Rob Pattinson wearing a sheepish, guilty father, expression were posted at the side.

Of course, the death panel rumors really are somewhat different.  They originated in Alaska.

I love Alaska; I love Australia; I love the Mississippi.  Check out 1 Mississippi (Karin Gustafson) at the link above.