Standing in line at the local super market, Brent Jones of Carrolwood, FL, takes a quick glance at the tabloids displayed near the register. The headlines tell the latest scoop on Hollywood super stars like Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, and Jennifer Aniston. Mr Jones couldn't care less and he wants to know why.
"I don't know why I don't care about what's going on in the lives of the Hollywood elite, it's just never mattered to me" says Brent, adding "I haven't figured out how knowing what's happening in their lives can somehow enhance my own existence or better my own world".
Mr. Jones isn't alone in his confusion over not caring about celebrities lives says Dr. Donald Trugrit, psychologist at the You Should Care clinic in nearby Tarpon Springs. "Mr. Jones suffers from a condition we don't quite have a handle on just yet, we're still studying this phenomenon".
Dr. Trugit leads a group therapy session once a week in his Tarpon Springs clinic for people who appear to lack empathy towards many things. "We're seeing it's not just limited to celebrities lives, that was just what got us started in our group sessions, but we've uncovered similar attitudes towards many other important aspects of life".
Kim Pope, a fellow sufferer of the condition says "I don't care about a lot of things I see in the news, not just stuff about celebrities. Just today, I saw a headline that said that only 38 percent of health care workers get the flu vaccine, and I'm like, ok, so what? Another story in the news was about a retired Marine corporal pleading guilty to impersonating a retired colonel during a speech he gave on Memorial day. For the life of me, I can't see how this news enriches my life, and I guess that should worry me".
"The news and entertainment industries spend billions of dollars each year to bring these stories to us, so, obviously, they must be extremely important and beneficial" explains Jones, "I lay awake at night, wondering what's wrong with me, why can't I care more about this stuff. I'm so tied up in having my own life, it seems so selfish that I can't force myself to live vicariously through others".
Dr. Trugit has been trying to work with about 20 patients, both in an attempt to help them find their more caring side while at the same time, studying their condition in hopes of finding a root cause. "If I can isolate some past childhood event that's common among my patients, maybe we can determine how this condition develops. We haven't ruled out the possibility that they may suffer some chemical imbalance, we're currently awaiting test results".
Whatever the reasons for the condition, the news and entertainment media giants are eager to see progress made in the research and cure. "We're taking this very seriously, I mean, if people aren't finding our stories relevant, we need to help them. It's so sad to see that many people suffer from this, our hearts go out to them", says Benjamin Doofus, president of the American Media Matters Association. "Can you imagine going through life, not realizing the relevance of what Senator Kennedy says? Or not caring who is dating who in tinsel town? Can you imagine the empty feeling these people must feel, not finding interest in Oprah's guests, or becoming completely detached from the latest scoop on Michael Jackson? These people seem to not even care about who the best dressed was at the Golden Globes! It's truly sad."