Thursday, August 8, 2013

You get what you pay for.

Forbes Magazine has published its annual list of the top-earning celebrities:

Simon Cowell  $95 million
Howard Stern $95 million
Glenn Beck  $90 million
Oprah Winfrey  $77 million
Dr. Phil McGraw  $73 million
Rush Limbaugh  $66 million
Donald Trump  $63 million
Ryan Seacrest  $61 million

What is the common thread?  None of them do anything to directly benefit society.  They are either telling us how to behave, whom we should like or expressing some opinion, as though we cannot form our own ideas.

You can debate the relative usefulness of each of these to society - or not.  It doesn't take a huge amount of evaluation to come to the conclusion that of the eight listed, none of them have any real day-to-day value to our lives, yet they earn salaries that most of us could live on for three lifetimes.  That is disconcerting.

The question to ask is "Why does society value these people so highly?"  After all, the average salary for a teacher in New Jersey is $48,362.  Teachers do not appear on television.  The average salary for a pediatrician in New Jersey is $156,000.  I get it, we don't put baby-doctors on television either.  All they do is diagnose and treat illnesses of children.  Where's the value in that, compared to having someone (Oprah) tell me which book I should read?

I could go on, but I'm sure you get the point.  And I didn't even mention professional athletes.

The Hopi call it koyaanisqatsi:  Life out of Balance.