Loretta LaRoche: Tragedies shouldn't be fodder for entertainment

Loretta LaRoche

Heath Ledger's death is a sad ending to a life that was filled with promise.

My heart went out to his parents and sister as they spoke of their love for him and their hopes that they would be allowed to grieve in peace.

The media blitz has been incessant and pervasive. Every detail has been reported, and I am sure more will come. Reporters and paparazzi stand guard outside the apartment building where he died, hoping to be the first to pounce on anyone who just might know something that might add to the story. Hopefully, it will not turn into the media circus that occurred after Anna Nicole Smith's death.

Dignity, grace and civility seem to have vanished as the need to delve further into celebrities’ lives becomes more of a national obsession. In life or death, individuals who capture the public's fancy might as well forget about privacy.

Many have managed to live without a great deal of scrutiny, but those who can't or won't must feel like they are continuously swimming in a tank filled with piranhas waiting to feed off their bones.

The likes of Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan seem to embrace the media insanity, but then what? Someone in their circle, like their parents, should scoop them up and say: "You're acting like a fool, get a grip."

More importantly, shouldn't we, the audience for these shenanigans, stop watching? What if every television in the country shut down at the mere sight of another Spears sighting? Do you think the TV moguls would get it?

They can only feed us what we are willing to ingest.

Why are not spend equal time focusing on individuals who give their lives in the service of this country? Why don't we showcase them and others who live their lives with decency and good values so our children have real heroes to model themselves after?

I often feel that we are slipping into a dark abyss where the need to be voyeurs of other individuals' tragedies or poor choices has become fodder for entertainment. We are so much more as human beings, and it's time we got to witness the glory and not the gory.

Author, humorist, PBS star and Fortune 500 trainer Loretta LaRoche lives in Plymouth, Mass. To share your pet peeves, questions or comments, write to The Humor Potential, 50 Court St., Plymouth, MA 02360, send e-mail to, visit the Web site at, or call 800-99-TADAH (82324).