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Is Fame Better Than Family?

Music Op-Ed By David Reiersgord

Is Fame Better Than Family?There's a huge lesson to be learned from the TLC reality series, 'Jon & Kate Plus 8'. Together, these two have destroyed a family, potentially ruined their children's lives, and seemingly picked fame over family. So, my question is, when does fame grow stale?

I don't watch the show, but unfortunately its been dominating news coverage at a time when Iran is struggling with its political freedom, North Korea continues its nuclear threats, and our economy continues to decline. 

I'd rather read about greedy people, too. Global prosperiety has no merit. 

The problem that Jon and Kate have is that they actually think people care about their family. Sadly though, America only knows them through their television. Once the show is off the air, no one will remember them. No one will give a damn about how they destroyed their family. Jon and Kate became obssesed with fame, so much so that they sacrificed their family for money.

While thinking about this story, trying to draw comparisons, I'm constantly returning to the current direction of the music industry. Fame and fortune have a funny way of sneaking up on people, consuming their thoughts similar to a chemical addiction. Look at what being a celebrity did to Britney Spears. How about Lindsey Lohan? Both of their careers were ruined because each of them sacrificed their personal dignity to make money.

However, I don't believe Britney, Lindsey, or Jon and Kate are to blame. The people who should be accountable for this mess are the TV and record executives who exploit their clients so they can make money. 

The number one song in America right now is 'Boom Boom Pow' by the Black Eyed Peas. I tried to listen to the song, and I couldn't even finish it. It's not music, rather machines working together. Even the voices aren't completely real. The number one song in America is something that could be created by your neighbor at four in the morning on a Tuesday. 

The music industry is no longer about talent. It's about how marketable you are. How can the suits at the top sell you? To be successful, you must tweet and update on your Twitter account about an update that was made to the facebook page which is a less formal version of your official website.

Jon and Kate are no different than the one-and-done's in the music industry. I'm not surprised that the two of them chose money over their family because the executives at A&E aren't concerned with the well being of their family, but rather capitalizing off of the tremendous ratings generated from the show.

This isn't such a negative issue, though. It's no secret that recording artists don't make nearly as much from their records in comparison to their touring revenues. It's only a matter of time before these "musicians" get swept under the media's giant rug. 

Is Fame Better Than Family?

After making a comeback this spring in Virginia, Phish just finished up a short tour - their first in five years. They also announced recently that they will be releasing their first record in five years, Joy.

What I love about Phish is that they're never on the radio, they don't appear on vh1 or MTV, and they don't give a damn about promotion. Why? The music they make is real and people feel something from it. 

How many of today's acts can you think of that will last as long as Phish has? Better yet, find me another band that can take five years off and still be one of the top drawing bands in the country. 

Phish proves that you don't need to look fabulous. You don't need to market. You don't need to change your voice because you actually can't sing worth a damn. What Phish explains, through their music, is that if you care about what you're doing, and you make it a passion instead of a career, then you'll be successful. 

I hope people will learn a lot from Jon and Kate's horrible situation. Fame can ruin people's lives faster than it can make people happy. While executives believe their cashing in for the long haul, the consumer will eventually see through the make-up and air brushes and stop spending their money on fake products.

Rest in peace, Micheal Jackson -- 1958 - 2009 

David Reiersgord is a Content Editor for Weekly Davespeak. You can contact him at

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