Ben Stein: Why Should I Care?

Comedian Ben Stein speaks at the Republican National Convention in the First Union Center in Philadelphia Monday, July 31, 2000. AP

Sunday Morning correspondent Ben Stein asks, should the soap opera of Paris Hilton's life really be news to him, when there are weightier issues at play in the world?


Can some kindly soul please take pity on little me and explain why it's important that I know about celebrities who get sent to jail, get to leave, and then get sent back again?

Can someone explain why I should care about whether a plastered movie star goes to jail in the first place?

This is a world in which the United States is engaged in a defense and foreign policy nightmare in Iraq and another one in Afghanistan. The same people who killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11 are hurting us badly in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are resurgent all over the Middle East. They threaten to make the Arab-Israeli situation far worse than it already is.

In such a world, who cares what Hollywood stars are drinking or whether they're in jail?

Iran is about to get nuclear weapons, or so it would seem. The North Koreans have nuclear weapons and have breached a deal with the U.S. to stop making them. This is serious business. Why, in times as dangerous as these, do we care about what movie star is dating which other movie star or how many swimming pools their rehabs have?

Why do we spend so much of our day agonizing about movie stars, and big busted blondes, alive and dead? Is it to escape thinking about the real problems we have? If so, it's a mistake. Not too many real problems go away by being ignored.

Is it because we're too stupid to know what's important? When the barbarians were at the gates of Rome, did the Romans gossip about Roman actresses?

Our enemies are serious about beating us. Except for the men and women in uniform, not too many of us seem serious about beating them.

Time to pay a lot more attention to the real stars … the ones in our military wearing battle dress uniforms over body armor in Iraq and Afghanistan … and a lot less about how much time Paris Hilton spends in jail.
  • Caitlin Johnson

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