Occupying that fuzzy wasteland between news and entertainment, ABC's 20/20 began a summer series last Friday night featuring the "Seven Deadly Sins." They blew it.
Instead of beginning with the sins we've all come to know and love since the 6th century, John Stossel and crew decided to start by recasting "Pride" into "Vanity." If Saint Gregory the Great wanted to include Vanity he would have. John, he chose Pride.
Instead of exploring Proud to be an American (Google's top search hit for that phrase) so close to the 4th of July we have pieces on teen boob-jobs, cut-rate plastic surgery, and "Reshape Your Body, and Reshape Your Life?". Of course, as we move deeper into the bathing suit season, female body parts were featured, all the better to kept the viewers tuned in for the commercials.
Never mind that Pride and Vanity are not the same thing. At best Vanity is a small physical subset of Pride, historically associated with women.
Never mind that the desire for makeovers - extreme or not - likely springs from insecurity, not Pride. Those were not vain women we saw; they were women with low self-esteem - insecure at best, self-loathing at worst.
Never mind that by transforming Pride into physical Vanity 20/20 managed to avoid dealing with many larger and more important issues wrapped in Pride: consumerism, social and economic class, racism, political rhetoric, military adventures abroad. Maybe ABC did not want to upset anyone in Washington.
John, Give Me a Break. With Barbara Walters and Geraldo Rivera watching, was this the best you could do?
Every now and then I get reminded that both ABC News and Mickey Mouse share the same address. 20/20? It is not Frontline, not yet anyway.