If Dealine.com is to be believed, and I have no reason to think their reporting would be inaccurate, and estimated 7.6 million people watched last week's Jersey Shore season finale.
7.6 million people.
I have never seen an episode of the show, and I'm not going to lie -- I am very proud of that fact.
I have no interest in watching those guido shitbags strut and slut their way along, somehow failing upwards and occupying an alarmingly large chunk of public consciousness. And despite that I have never seen the show, it is damn near impossible to not been assaulted by the stupidity of Snooki, J-Woww, and The Situation -- the very fact that their names are known to me only illustrates how widespread their infamy goes. Their whoreific bullshit is inexplicably the stuff of actual news reporting, which means genuine, dyed-in-the-wool journalists are involved.
Snooki. J-Woww. The Situation. These are names that everyone seems to know.
Here are three other names. See if they ring a bell.
Joan Gaudet. Jerry Mundy. Bill Knight.
Anyone? Raise a hand if you have a clue who I'm talking about.
If you have some time (and if you're one of the folks who tuned in to the Jersey Shore finale you clearly have TOO MUCH fucking time), check out the documentary The Way We Get By, and then you'll know who these three folks are.
Ms. Gaudet, Mr. Mundy, and Mr. Knight are three senior citizens who in live in Bangor, Maine. At the time of the film, Mr. Knight was 88 years old - Ms. Gaudet was 76 -- and Mr. Mundy was 74. Not exactly the age range the hip kids tune in to see, right?
Bill Knight is a WW II veteran. He is stricken with cancer. He is drowning in debt, and navigates the barrage of calls from creditors on a daily basis.
Joan Gaudet spent most of her life raising her eight children. After three knee operations, she now must use a walker to get around.
Jerry Mundy suffers from heart complications. He still mourns the loss following the tragic death of his son.
What makes them so special?
Bangor International Airport is the first major American airport encountered by airliners approaching the United States from the east, as well as the last major airport for airliners heading towards Europe -- which means that most of incoming or outgoing military transports find their way through Bangor International.
Joan Gaudet, Jerry Mundy, and Bill Knight are the Maine Troop Greeters. At any time of day or night, they make their way to the airport to greet the troops who are returning from service in Afghanistan and Iraq. Sometimes in the dead of night, during the bleak and brutal winters of Maine, they show up to provide a friendly face, a handshake or a hug, and more importantly, a "thank you" to the soldiers who have bravely served.
They have greeted an estimated 800,000 soldiers. And you didn't know their names.
Please tell me, what have Snooki, J-Woww, and The Situation done to earn you attention, while Joan Gaudet, Bill Knight, and Jerry Mundy are utterly unknown?
Watch The Way We Get By. Consider it a lesson in perspective.