Former heartthrob David Cassidy was arrested yesterday for having blood alcohol content of .10 when the New York legal limit is .08. Of course, drunk driving is a serious problem. Even at this level a driver would have slower reactions and slurred speech. This is not something one should minimize. Mr. Cassidy should be ashamed of his behavior and embarrassed by his irresponsibility.
But how dangerous is this driving state? Wikipedia shows the implication of .10 blood alcohol level is not necessarily a crisis. While driving David Cassidy would be overly emotional, flamboyantly boisterous and likely to have a decreased libido with temporary erectile dysfunction. Please remember that David Cassidy is 63 years old and it’s unlikely that erectile function was of issue to him or his fans.
On the other hand, while Cassidy would have been unable to keep his emotions in check, his sense of humor was sharp and witty. “What’s up pussycat?” was his remark to the arresting policeman, Officer Tom Jones. This is, perhaps, the most noteworthy aspect of the arrest. At a time when the world’s press is delighted to criticize this aging star, the actor raises a stinging performance.
The rest of the story plays out as infamous publicity which will likely garner Mr. Cassidy no new acting work. In truth, this latest arrest for drink driving plays as a pitiful homage to an aging actor who has not put his demons to rest, despite his youthful successes.
Does this matter? David Cassidy was a meaningful part of American TV-lore; Cassidy played Keith Partridge in The Partridge Family back in 1970 to 1974. Remember that half of the current US population were not born at that time and likely never watched the show. The Pew Research Center’s stats show 98% of internet users are men under the age of 29, so we can be sure that none of them were born at the time the series first aired. Who is reading the 127,000 listings on this subject?
Young men and women are not branding their identity on the conduct of Mr. Cassidy. More likely, they cannot tell you his credits or lifestyle, even if he did appear in an episode of CSI this year. Perhaps David Cassidy is still a charismatic actor. And perhaps he is not. What is for certain is that our attachment to junk news is resulting in press releases and online hype that is entertainment, not news. Is this all it takes to remain in the public eye?
The fall of major newspaper sales has left many a journalist unemployed. Information and analysis of world events is not reported at a level of previous years. At the same time, our interest in news has been translated into 3 minute headlines and sound bites. Fact-based reporting still exists but the facts are becoming increasingly irrelevant. Too often the facts are meaningless and distant from the issues that affect our daily lives. The internet provides an endless and breathtaking amount of information. It just should be social events and political happenings that we download; not the drink driving habits of a largely irrelevant actor.
By: Vicky Judah