Let’s face it; we all love a shit-show. Humans, by nature, love to watch ridiculous and outrageous instances of humans doing things they probably shouldn’t. It is why shows like Jackass had such a high following or videos titled “15 of the Most Stupid People of All Time” have fifteen million views on YouTube. It’s also why Danielle Peskowitz Bregoli is famous.
In case that name doesn’t immediately ring a bell, the phrase, “cash me outside, howbow dah?” should.
She is the 13-year-old Dr. Phil guest that has sparked memes, songs, and videos of all sorts. She went from being a rebellious teenager who stole cars, carried a knife, and tried to frame her mom for a crime to an internet sensation seemingly overnight. She was also recently taken off a plane for “cold- cocking” another passenger which resulted in her, her mother, and the other passenger being banned from the airline for life.
The real question here is what affect is this having on her or anyone else in her situation?
She is a child caught in a moment and catapulted to the spotlight because of it. From a psychological standpoint, there are clearly deeply rooted issues that are driving her behavior and need to be reconciled. What should have been an intervention became a positive reinforcement of the behavior that needed the intervention in the first place.
In one of the more moving parts of the interview, Dr. Phil questions her about her father and her relationship (or lack thereof) to him. She didn’t know him but knew that he had started another family without her. Dr. Phil also mentioned that her mother had cancer twice. That is a lot of uncertainty and rejection to deal with at 13 years old.
The issue with our culture is that we demand to be entertained. We rarely stop to consider that the source of our entertainment is filled with real people dealing with very human struggles. The danger in making broken people “go viral” is that it reinforces habits that set the subjects up to continue these cycles for years after the short term fame has subsided.
It creates an easy distraction from very real issues in their lives that need to be faced and reconciled.
There is nothing wrong in finding entertainment or a thing that brings pleasure to our lives; that is a noble pursuit. The question to be asked is what is the cost of this entertainment? Would we still find it entertaining if it was our daughter? We would want to make pictures and songs and videos of her if it directly affected us?
Find joy, find happiness, and experience your life to the fullest. The question is does our entertainment help these viral celebrities do the same or by reinforcing them are we enabling them? The choice is ultimately up to the individual, both the celebrity and the audience, but consider the part we play.