To watch or not to watch

By The Columbia Chronicle

Tim Delaney

Copy Editor

Are you enjoying the new fall television season? Have you already fallen for the new shows like “Jesse” or “Felicity” or any other character-titled series? Were you disappointed by the storylines that tied up all the loose ends of last season’s cliffhangers on “Friends” or “ER”? Well fear not, viewers! It seems we might have a new competitor vying for our attention as early as this November that will surely end up in the Nielson top ten. Every network will carry this new show. After all, it has all the components of “Melrose Place” and C-Span in one package.

This yet-to-be-titled show stars the leader of the free world in what is considered by many to be the fight for his political life. Yes, I am referring to the impending impeachment proceedings of President Clinton. I’ve come up with a couple of titles for the show: “Washington DC, 20064” or “Sex, Lies & Cigars.” I don’t mean to make light of the situation, but like most everyone else, I am so tired of this “crisis.” But that’s not to say that I won’t watch, I most probably will watch as much as I can. Sound familiar?

Much like the O.J. Simpson trial, this story has captivated American society. Actually, the two stories share common traits. Simpson had the Bronco chase, a bloody glove, the Fuhrman conspiracy, and of course, Kato Kaelin. Clinton has his January lie (“I did not have sexual relations with that woman”), a stained dress, a supposed right-wing conspiracy, and Kenneth Starr. The similarities are eerie, but why are we really so intrigued?

We’re intrigued because both of these stories are as watchable as any show on television. The lies, backstabbing, greed, egos, and — last but certainly not least — the sex can be seen every night on primetime television. The disturbing fact is these unbelievable stories are not the brainchild of Aaron Spelling. They are real history.

This is what’s generating the media frenzy. Sex sells, and that’s no secret. Is the press a reflection of society? The answer is yes; after all, it is their job to bring people the facts.

This is the stuff society pays attention to, much like slowing down to stare at a car accident. There is a morbid fascination to it all. How else does one explain “The Starr Report” being No. 1 on the New York Times’ Best Sellers List? Frankly, I’m as guilty as anyone else. The only section of the Starr Report I read was Lewinsky’s testimony; I skimmed over the rest of the document. You know, the part about “charges against the president” or something?