Mercury schmercury

Posted by Anonymous
on Wednesday, November 8, 2006

The United States is captivated by a cosmic event today. Mercury crossing the Sun’s face? Who cares? People are more interested by pop-sensation Britney Spears divorcing her hubby Kevin Federline.

And rightly so. Doesn’t a planet crossing the Sun happen every day? Especially Mercury, it is the innermost planet, after all. A mega-celebrity divorcing a celebrity-by-association … now there’s something to get excited about. That’s something as rare as a celebrity slugging a paparazzo or adopting a Third World orphan.

So goes the thinking of America’s celebrity-driven news. Science, in this case astronomy, takes a back seat to everyday events, such as childbirth, weight loss/gain, shopping excursions, and, as it happens, divorce. The difference? These actions involve people who are famous. Famous for what? It doesn’t matter. Whether it’s a mediocre movie, reality show “performance,” or chart-topping song, they have the general public’s, and Madison Avenue’s, attention.

Head to your local grocery this weekend. Scan over the impulse-item periodicals before you determine if you have surpassed the 20-item limit for Express Checkout. I’ll wager these covers will feature a certain failed celebrity marriage rather than the last Mercury transit we’ll see for the next 10 years. Well, perhaps with the exception of the Weekly World News, but that doesn’t count because it probably ties the transit to Bat Boy.

And we wonder how it came to be that the United States now lags behind several nations in science education. What example has this country set for children when, in everyday life, we place a higher priority on the innocuous activities of people famous for being famous. Thanks to our celebrity-crazed society, we’re lucky we’re not dead last.

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