Looking back on it now, I am assuming that I was among the first generation of students to experience this type of personal ideology lecturing. I can only assume that the schools depicted in 'Fast Time At Ridgemont High' and 'Dazed and Confused' were 100% accurate portrayals of school-life in their respective times.
No doubt, the idea of 'self-esteem education' was to use simple methods to encourage children to make the most of their educations, and to improve their attitudes by keeping them happy inside.
It seems that this was all a part of a shift in some of the ideals we've been conscious about with regards to our children. Fortunately, I narrowly escaped the ADD epidemic that plague much of my younger peers or I wouldn't have ever even noticed.
But the 'self-esteem training' was only the beginning. Since then the trend of over-nurturing and hyper-consciousness has exponentially spiraled into a cocoon that prevents children from getting the necessary if only occasional ego ass-kicking that we are all so afraid will permanently damage a child's brain so significantly that he/she will spend the rest of his/her life sucking thumb in the corner of a room.
So am I calling for a repeal of these self-esteem based education techniques in public schools? First of all, I'm sure that they are not the same as when I was in school, or at least I hope they have evolved somewhat. But no, I am not.
I just think it is hard to gauge exactly what each child needs. The child that comes from a broken home with domestic abuse and is convinced that he/she is the reason all of the problems at home exist, needs some pretty substantial self-esteem boosting, and perhaps even more than the occasional 15 minute workshop or presentation can offer.
Schools should indeed offer assistance to these needy students. And while I think it is definitely a good thing that we have become conscious of the needs of these types of students, we should also become conscious of what this hyper-sensitive ideal-instilling and ego-boosting type of education can do to people who not only don't need it, but actually need some ego-targeted slap on the wrist (or in some cases mortar shelling).
I give you, Heidi Montag.
Heidi is among the 'celebrities' in Hollywood (and now New Jersey) who are simply famous because someone put them on TV to make the rest of us feel better about ourselves.
Think about that. Why do most people say they watch reality TV shows? (not the competition shows, the ones about twenty-somethings that are given a menial task and then end up fighting with each other every episode) There is only one response: "It's a guilty pleasure. I watch it for the train-wreck. I just can't turn away."
Sure, there have been dozens of programs in which the 'stars' don't linger in Hollywood by stretching their celebrity status to ridiculous ends.
So why is Heidi Montag still around, still everywhere, yet has nothing interesting/entertaining to offer?
Simply because she feels entitled to be famous.
What are the facts:
She was on an MTV show called 'The Hills', which was a spin-off from 'Laguna Beach'. The 'Hills' is referring to Beverly Hills, which is one of the most lavish lifestyle locales on the globe. When someone is used to getting everything she wants with no repercussions and no effort, the greed simply continues to expand and when she finally doesn't get what she wants, she will be confused as to why.
In a way, it's really not her fault.
The digital age has brought about an era of instant gratification that is more prominent and achievable than ever before. Simply put, anyone with enough money can get anything they want WHENEVER they want it.
- Montag appeared on a popular national television show at age 18, something that 99% of people only dream of.
- She then got a more prominent 'role' on another show at age 20.
- At the ripe age of 21, she wanted to look better, something everyone wants for most of their lives, and she purchased the means to do so with plastic surgery. "It was really something that had been tormenting me and I was very insecure about it," she tells Access Hollywood of her pre-surgery looks. "I thought about it for several years and I waited until I had the finances and really thought about it and was old enough to really make a mature decision." No doubt, it was the mature decision.
- Still 21, rumors swirl about her potential engagement with 'Hills' co-'star' Spencer Pratt. Although Pratt told Entertainment Weekly, "We would get engaged; we just wouldn't do it on Lauren's show," yet they did just that. Even though their only qualifications for being on TV in the first place were just being around, which what earned them a high-profile spot on 'Lauren's' show, it was still not good enough to announce their engagement on, oh wait except it was.
How then, could Montag separate herself from the binds of the MTV show that is keeping her so irrelevant?
Since the means are available to create a generic back beat, as well as process vocals enough to make singing talent secondary to popularity, why not put out an album? Surely the fact that she has probably never taken a singing lesson is no reason why SHE can't have a successful music career, right? "I want to make the new 2010 version of a pop star," she tells PEOPLE. "I want to become a galaxy star." Indeed you do.
Finally, this was project that could only be successful as the quality its content, as is the proper order of things in the entertainment world that is now lost forever in the giant crack in the time-space continuum known as the 21st century.
Released online Jan. 12, the album sold fewer than 1,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
and as posted on www.newmusicreviews.net-
"In fact, industry sources tell UsMagazine.com that the album has sold only 658 downloads to date.
This is likely upsetting news for the reality star, who told Entertainment Weekly last week that she went broke making Superficial but thought that “within the first week, we will definitely make our money back.”
She told EW, “I put every dollar I have into this. I’ve spent over $1 million, almost $2 million, on this album. It’s cost as much or more than a Britney Spears album because I wanted it to be that quality… The songs will make an impact in pop history.”
And sure enough, she may have. The news of this record debut flop made a huge impact in today's pop world, however the history books may unfortunately overlook the 'galaxy star's' album.
The music video for the album's single "Higher", shot by who else, Pratt, was somehow even more of a disappointment. It is posted below in all of its failuristic glory, but be warned, it is not for anyone with a weak stomach or bowel problem:
The video is posted on People's website on it's 'Rate it!' section. People readers did just that on the page. Over seven hundred comments that are unanimously similar to this one, "I watched less than a minute. Is this a practical joke? She can’t be serious."
At this point, I kind of feel bad for Heidi. I can only hope all of this has taught her some kind of lesson, although I'm not eternally optimistic.
I wish I could identify blame for Heidi Montag. Some would say Spencer perpetuates her greed and narcissism with his own. I'm sure he would say that even the album was all a plan to just get more publicity, and talk about them as I am doing right now. As they say, there is no such thing as bad publicity. If there is every anyone to disprove that theory, it could be Spencer Pratt. If I had one wish, it would be that.
I could go back and blame the self-esteem programs of our elementary school days, but although that is a specific target, it is only a microcosm of the bigger issue in our society: the sense of entitlement with so much of our youth.
Everything now seems so obtainable, mainly because so many things are. There is a website to teach anyone with the ambition and time to do pretty much anything, for better or for worse.
And when everything seems so easy, more and more people attempt feats or creations that they never would have before. This can help to give us some great things that perhaps we never would have been able to before.
But mostly, the additional volume into the pool only dilutes the substance further.