A Shattered Nation Longs To Care About Stupid Bullshit Again

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Netflix To Temporarily Remove Every Movie Except ‘Hard Eight’

‘Everyone Should See It At Least Once,’ Company Says

LOS GATOS, CA—Saying that everyone, including all 65 million of its subscribers, really ought to see the film at least once, Netflix announced Tuesday that it will suspend all streaming content except Hard Eight for a full month.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of September 15, 2015

ARIES: Some things only become funny when you look back on them years later. Conversely, the events of next week will seem funny at the time, but as the years go by, society will gain sensitivity and learn to outgrow that sort of thing.

Your Horoscopes – Week of May 1, 2012

ARIES: You will experience unbounded happiness and success in every area of your life this week, unless of course there is something fundamentally and irreversibly wrong with you.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of August 18, 2015

ARIES: Your feeling of impending doom shall come to nothing again this week as the world continues to turn and your life goes on as normal. Perhaps you should consider feeling useless and stupid instead.

Highlights From ‘Go Set A Watchman’

Harper Lee’s buzzed-about new release, Go Set A Watchman, went on sale last week, taking the world by storm with its new investigations of Scout Finch as a grown woman and its divisive portrayal of her father, Atticus Finch, as a racist figure. Here are some highlights from the new book:

Leonardo DiCaprio Agrees To Donate It-Factor To Science

LOS ANGELES—Saying the gift would immeasurably improve their understanding of the ineffable quality that makes certain big-screen stars positively radiate, researchers at the University of California Los Angeles announced Tuesday that A-list actor Leonardo DiCaprio has agreed to donate his it-factor to science.

How Theaters Are Trying To Win Back Moviegoers

The number of Americans who went to the movies hit a 20-year low in 2014, leaving theaters scrambling to find ways to incentivize the public to see new releases on the big screen rather than watch films at home or on the internet. Here are some methods theaters are using to win back audiences and increase box office sales:

Comic-Con Survival Guide

San Diego Comic-Con is expected to draw more than 130,000 fans to Southern California this year to participate in cosplaying, attend panels, go to film screenings, and learn more about their favorite series. Here are some tips for surviving the four-day conference

Your Horoscopes — Week Of July 7, 2014

ARIES: Your belief that nothing can stop you will be tested this week by depression, procrastination, concrete barriers, dysentery, armed gunmen, and the unanimous passage of several laws targeted specifically at stopping you.

Disney Unveils First Virgin Princess

LOS ANGELES—In an effort to better reflect the diverse backgrounds and experiences of their audience, Disney officials this week introduced Lily of Hazelberry, the company’s first virgin princess.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of June 23, 2015

ARIES: The universe, in all its wisdom, has a plan for everyone. Strangely, you’re supposed to be the nun who holds up a distributor cap and winks while the Nazis try to start their car.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of June 9, 2015

ARIES: Your death next week will seem in­explicable until people remember the ill-advised 1985 “cross your heart and hope to die” pledge you made to be best friends with Jenny Bosben.

New Music Festival Just Large Empty Field To Do Drugs In

Declaring the event a rousing success so far, organizers confirmed more than 45,000 people turned out Wednesday for the first annual Cavalcade Folk and Roots Festival, a four-day gathering that consists solely of a big empty field to do drugs in.

Director Seeking Relatively Unknown Actress For Next Affair

LOS ANGELES—Saying that he’s going for a certain look and will know it when he sees it, feature film director Peter Hastings, 52, confirmed to reporters Wednesday that he hopes to find a relatively unknown actress for his next extramarital affair.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of May 26, 2015

ARIES: You’re not sure if your new mousetrap is better, but due to its horrifying use of liquefying blades, the world will beat a path to your door out of sheer morbid curiosity.

Famous Television Finales

The award-winning AMC series Mad Men ended its seven-season run on Sunday night and drew critical acclaim for its final episode, a conclusion that many felt was poignant and satisfying. Here are some other memorable TV finales across the years

Plan For Future Still Involves Drumming For Lifehouse

SOUTH BEND, IN—Fifteen years after first envisioning the path he hoped his professional life would take, local man Brent Gibbs is still planning his future around being the drummer for Los Angeles-based alternative rock band Lifehouse, sources confi...

Fox Revives ‘X-Files’: What To Expect

After months of speculation, Fox has announced that it is bringing back its hit ’90s TV show The X-Files, about a team of FBI special agents investigating unsolved cases about strange and paranormal phenomena, for at least six new episodes...

Your Horoscopes — Week Of March 24, 2015

ARIES: Your belief that everything happens for a reason may remain unshaken in the face of personal tragedy, but you'll certainly be upset when you find out the reason is "to get the Zodiac some chicks." 

Your Horoscopes — Week Of March 10, 2015

ARIES: As long as people don't look too long and the lights aren't too bright, no one will be able to see where they tried to fix your face from what will happen to it this coming Thursday. 

Nation Delighted As Many Famous People In Same Room Together

HOLLYWOOD—Expressing their immense personal satisfaction at the gathering appearing on their television screens, millions of Americans across the country were reportedly delighted Sunday night upon seeing many famous people in the same room together...

Half Of Hollywood Test Group Screened Placebo Film

LOS ANGELES—Saying the methodology helps them ensure unbiased results in their marketing research, studio executives at Paramount Pictures confirmed that during a Hollywood test screening this week they showed half of all theatergoers a placebo film...

Your Horoscopes — Week Of January 6, 2015

ARIES: One of the worst moments of a person's life is when they finally realize that they're mortal and are going to die, especially when it's a person like you who only sees the cement truck at the last second.
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A Shattered Nation Longs To Care About Stupid Bullshit Again

SPRINGFIELD, MO—Were this an ordinary Tuesday night, Wendy Vance would return home from her receptionist job at a Springfield chiropractor's office and spend the evening engaged in any number of empty, meaningless diversions: watching old, taped episodes of Friends, browsing the new issue of Cosmopolitan, or driving to Center Square Mall to browse for shoes.

Tonight, however, the 29-year-old is unable to bring herself to turn on the TV or even half-heartedly flip through the new Pottery Barn catalog. Instead, she has decided to visit her grandmother in nearby Mountain Grove.

"If none of this had happened, right now I'd probably be watching that stupid Journey VH1 Behind The Music episode for the 40,000th time. Or talking to my friend Kerri about the Gap skirt I want," said Vance, holding her grandmother's frail, time-worn hand. "Now, all I can think about is how precious life is, and how important it is to spend quality time with the people who matter to you, because everything could change in an instant."

Added Vance: "I just want my regular life back."

Vance is not alone. Shaken by the tragic events of Sept. 11, people across the nation have abandoned such inconsequential concerns as the Gary Condit scandal and Britney Spears' skimpy outfit at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards. No longer are they talking about shark attacks or what's-his-name, that Little Leaguer who was too old to play. Instead, they're focusing on the truly important things in life: friends, family, and being good to one another.

How long can it go on like this?

Three weeks after the horrific attacks that claimed more than 6,000 lives, many Americans are wondering when their priorities will finally be in the wrong place again. Some are wondering if their priorities will ever be in the wrong place again.

"In the aftermath of this horrible tragedy, people find themselves cruelly preoccupied with the happiness and well-being of their loved ones, unconcerned with such stupid bullshit as the new Anne Heche biography or Michael Jackson's dramatic comeback bid," said Dr. Meredith Laufenberg, a psychologist and family therapist at UCLA Medical Center. "Who knows how long it will be before things are back to normal?"

Reading a book to his 7-year-old nephew, Adrian Mauer of Chicago echoed Vance's longing for banality.

"I don't even know what happened at the Daytime Emmys, much less the Latin Grammys," Mauer said. "How could these monsters do this to us? Is nothing sacred? It makes me want to enlist in the Marines and slash bin Laden's fucking throat from ear to ear."

According to Laufenberg, Mauer's anger is a natural response to the current situation.

"Across America, there is a profound sense of grief for the victims of this tragedy," Laufenberg said. "But there is also a profound desire to inflict great pain upon its perpetrators, to make them pay for taking away our ability to get way, way too into the McDonald's Monopoly game."

Even as America's television networks slowly return to regular programming, the vital issues of our pre-Sept. 11 lives are relegated to the background.

Jennifer Lopez, about whom the nation gave a shit in happier times.

"If Access Hollywood would just go back to blathering about Julia Roberts' surprise platinum-blonde makeover and Brad Pitt's new dog and a bunch of other crap that doesn't matter in the least, I'd know everything is right with my world," said Shelley Orr, a Stockton, CA, data-entry clerk. "Oh, my God, what's going on with the whole car-phone controversy? Are they going to ban them? I haven't even thought about it in weeks."

Laufenberg and other therapists are seeing countless cases of Sudden-Reality Shock Syndrome (SRSS), a disorder affecting those suddenly and violently re-grounded in the real world. Crisis and grief-counseling centers across the nation are offering therapy groups for those who need to discuss their newfound inability to care about mass-market crapola.

According to Iris Huffman, emergency-services director at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute, the key to enjoying vapidity again is to extract oneself from the hard realities of the world very slowly.

"The instinct is to immediately throw yourself back into your regular daily routine, but this isn't always best," Huffman said. "Allow yourself time for a gradual return to the petty, shallow, meaningless little life you led before this horrible tragedy. I'm telling my patients: Don't go see Zoolander until you know you're actually ready."

According to Georgetown University history professor Timothy Schuitt, our interest in stupid bullshit is what makes America great.

"The United States is a free country, a strong country, a prosperous country," Schuitt said. "Many veterans gave their lives so we would have the right to focus our attention and energies on the DVD release of Joe Dirt, the latest web-browsing cell phones, and how-low-can-you-go hip-hugging jeans. It is a sign of our collective strength as a nation that we genuinely give a shit about the latest developments in the Cruise-Cruz romance. When Mariah Carey's latest breakdown is once again treated as front-page news, that is the day the healing will have truly begun."

While Schuitt says he is optimistic that Americans will one day obsess over stupid bullshit like they used to, others are not so confident.

"This is a life-changing, society-altering catastrophe of the first magnitude, on par with a Pearl Harbor or Great Depression," said noted historian and author David Halberstam. "The sad truth is, this country may never go back to caring about pointless, inane trifles as we once did."

Where have you gone, J. Lo? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.