I was watching “Real World” the other day and Frankie, the “non-conformist,” was in yet another fight with her boyfriend because she was drunk and hooked up with some dude (and she wonders why he stops answering her calls.) So, naturally, with the cameras rolling, she goes into the bathroom with a steak knife and supposedly cuts herself. She’s like a real-life version of Marissa from “The OC. Wait, scratch that, “The OC” is probably closer to real life than the “Real” world. Anyway, of course, all her roommates are worried and feel bad for her, blah blah. But I, and hopefully the rest of the viewers, know better. We see through Frankie’s camouflage. Just look at her credentials: pink hair, obnoxious body piercings, a made-up phobia of ships, self-mutilation, constant fights with aforementioned boyfriend, and a pet snake. This isn’t about an argument or depression or conformity. The girl just wants attention. What’s next on her list, a night-vision sex tape with Shannon Dougherty’s ex-husband and a show with Nicole Richie?
Sure, some people fall for these lame attention-getting attempts, completely oblivious to the motives behind the mask. But for those of us who don’t, running into these displays can be unbearable. Like the kid in “The Sixth Sense” who sees dead people, we see them everywhere, and the things we see are just as disturbing. There are many different versions, but there is a unifying, mystical quality that ties them all together. See, these people are all just trying too hard, and, like the dining hall’s General Tso’s Tofu, it just doesn’t seem natural.
In addition to Frankie’s “What are you staring at?” method, there is the age-old, “Hey, look at me!” version made famous by Howard Stern. It can often be seen at parties or at Toad’s being used by the homoerotic lacrosse player. You know, the guy who does a few too many chest-bumps and talks a little too much about his “bros” and how they’re “totally sick” and how they “pound brews to the face.” Sure, it’s a nice facade, but in reality we know he’s just worried about not spilling his Michelob Ultra on his nicely-pleated khakis so that he looks good for his “bros” when he’s on the Booty Cam.
Another attention-getting method is the self-righteous protest. This is especially popular here at Yale, where people are running out of things to denounce, forcing them to steal ideas from “PCU.” (You know “PCU,” the movie with Jon Favreau in his fat, pre-“Swingers” days). The latest examples are diatribes against athletics and secret societies because of their exclusivity. I guess people figure that if you can’t join ’em, beat ’em. The only way for some people to get attention from these groups is to bring them down.
Next on the agenda: Special Olympics promote elitist attitudes and anti-bipedalism.
I can only assume they idolize the handsome Martha Burke, who is mounting an attack against Augusta National, an exclusionary group thick with tradition, just like Yale’s secret societies and sports teams. Protesting a private club like Augusta National, which has every right to set membership rules, for not allowing women is like protesting Yale for not admitting dumb kids. If Martha Burke really wants to make a difference, she would create her own, new organization to undermine Augusta, rather than just draw attention to herself with televised protests and press conferences unveiling her high-profile attorneys.
Finally, we have the “What the f@%k?” category. Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown’s trek to Israel, Wisconsin student Audrey Seiler’s staged kidnapping, Paul Hornung’s black athletes comment, and Britney Spears’ 24-hour marriage are among the best examples. By the way, why isn’t the dude who married Britney famous yet? At the very least, he should’ve published a book describing the honeymoon, and his agent should be booking a celebrity boxing match against Justin Timberlake. Kid, I should be your publicist.
A more recent illustration can be seen in Ashley Revell, the man who sold all of his possessions, worth $135,000, and bet everything on a single roulette spin in Vegas. No surprise, it was all over the news. Unfortunately, the jackass won. CNN.com even did an extremely important internet poll based on the heartwarming story: “Would you bet your life savings on a single spin of the roulette wheel?” The results: 93 percent would not, 7 percent would. I cannot believe that 15,000 people, including myself, actually wasted their time answering this question. I’m pretty sure I got dummer after doing it.
As you can see, the attention battle is a difficult one to win. I have lost simply by mentioning the above examples, for that is exactly what they want. Though the battle may be lost, the war can still be won. So I will continue to seemingly buy into their schemes, because I wanna be there to see it satisfyingly blow up in their faces, a la Audrey Seiler and Howard Stern.
Carl Williott died his hair pink. WTF.