Some thoughts about why people are tuning out

The Super Bowl was surrounded by controversy for its halftime show, previous football refereeing and player kneeling in the months leading up to the big game. The Grammys were handed out Sunday night and there was drama with people not attending and having their acceptance speeches cut off because of their pointed remarks (though that is disputed). The Oscars is a couple of weeks away and it is without a host because of a scandal and nobody is willing to step up and fill in.

Traditionally, controversy and scandal drives ratings. But in the instances of Super Bowl and Grammys, they’ve likely contributed to audience declines. When we once were compelled and curious to see what all the fuss was about, now has us turning away and avoiding things altogether.

Why is it that for these high-profile events people are getting fed up? Is it because the fun is suddenly taken out of what should be an entertaining time? By comparison, something like a political scandal or televised hearing is drawing huge numbers of viewers. What’s the difference?

The argument could be made that politics affects the general public more than celebrity or sporting events. The future is at stake when elected officials are battling it out and trivial things like entertainment and leisure take a back seat in this world. True. Or is it?

Just as people say they are sick of awards shows celebrating the rich and famous, I have heard just as many people complain about politics being in the news way too much. For as much as people say it’s overkill, there is still a fascination to watch the drama unfold. I guess you could compare it to a car crash and people peering at the wreckage and taking pictures of the scene.

All these things could be factors but I have a different thought of why ratings are sinking. In today’s 24-7 world we lose interest very quickly. We consume a show or a song and appreciate it in the moment and move onto the next.

Sure, you can be a fan of Lady Gaga or Game of Thrones but it doesn’t mean you need to support it all the way through to winning awards. Why? What do I gain from it winning an award? Who cares? Also, people have so many other interests that are taking their attention that they can be a fleeting fan from a distance.

You have that whole “thank u, next” attitude that Ariana Grande sings about. Whether it’s a man, a show, a movie or whatever, you don’t have that deep of a relationship with what you used to cherish. We live in a disposable society and we’re quick to throw something out (sometimes for no reason) and move onto the next.

As the Oscars approaches, I look at the nominees and think, “OK, I liked that movie but it was so long ago. I don’t care about it anymore and I’ve moved on” even though it was less than half a year ago. Do I care that it’ll win an award this many months later?

There could also be another reason for ratings declines. Thanks to social media, actual celebrities are taking a back seat to other people like YouTube “stars” and Instagram “models” — everyday people. You know, common folk. Suddenly, we ain’t got time to worship that Hollywood stuff.

With so many options to steal our attention, whoever – or whatever – is privileged enough to get our time should make the most of it before we forget and move on. I don’t think it’s 15 minutes of fame nowadays. I’m not even sure it can be measured in minutes anymore.

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