I'll make this quick, both for the sake of my sanity and the desire to start my weekend off shooting-rampage-free.
If you haven't already seen it, there's a rather startling piece of video making the rounds at the moment which shows irredeemable dingbat David Hasselhoff, shirtless and drunk off his ass, being interrogated by his 16-year-old daughter (who reportedly shot the video and can be heard off-camera).
The whole thing is shocking for several reasons, not the least of which is that Hasselhoff manages to accomplish the laudable feat of making himself into an even more pathetic and embarrassing caricature than the one we've all come to expect by now. More disconcerting though is the fact that the video represents the second highly personal interaction between a father and daughter in the past few weeks that has somehow become public fodder. You'd have to be Sunny Von Bulow not to know that Alec Baldwin has a nasty habit of calling his child a "rude little pig" when he gets angry enough; audio proof of this fact was such a hot media commodity a couple of weeks ago that you could practically see the drool glistening in Pat O'Brien's ridiculous 70s porn moustache at one point.
Now Hasselhoff gets the YouTube Shaming Treatment.
While there's certainly something to be said for watching "The Hoff" babble like an idiot while trying to drunkenly stuff a cheeseburger into his gaping maw, I'd gladly forfeit that little bit of Schadenfreude if it might bring a quick end to a troubling trend plaguing our land these days -- one that I have to assume will only get worse in the coming years. I'm talking about the fact that there's simply no such thing as a private moment anymore. If you haven't noticed, the past several months have been littered with proof of this: although one could legitimately argue that Michael Richards got what he deserved for shouting racist epithets in a crowded room, Paris Hilton -- despite being a worthless twat -- never intended for her own racist comments to go any further than the small group of "friends" to which she directed them. Likewise, the arrest of a violent gang-leader in L.A. turned into another tired and unnecessary referrendum on police arrest procedures simply because one person armed with a cellphone camera believed it should. Then of course, there's the Baldwin/Hasselhoff photo-finish, in which two separate daughters of two separate celebrities made the decision to shame their respective fathers' bad behavior by showing it to the world.
The message is so Draconian as to almost border on a form of terrorism: be careful what you say or do, because you are being watched at all times. In the paralance of the X-Files, trust no one.
While I damn well don't condone Baldwin's vicious tirade or, for that matter, Hasselhoff's very existence, it chills me to the bone to know that modern technology and an unscrupulous and hungry media beast have allowed a couple of frustrated or spiteful children to hold such power over their parents, and in effect provide an object lesson to all that public ridicule is never more than a YouTube posting away.
Welcome to the new millennium, where Shame TV is on the air -- and you're the star.