Who Should Really Be in the Headlines?

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Everybody is a star, according to Sly and the Family Stone. This is truer than ever, with the abundance of new media portal sites. It seems that every time Paris Hilton forgets her driver’s license or Lindsay Lohan takes a shot of Jack Daniel’s, it’s the lead story. Insane! Oh. Please don’t get me started about YouTube’s popular lonelygirl15. Media spokespeople say that this is the type of news that people want, but is it? This is a classic chicken vs. egg debate.

The media has created a class of celebrities who have no real value to society. Hilton and her cohort Nicole Richie possess one talent, which is showing up at nightclubs and playing it up for the paparazzi.

When Anna Nicole Smith died, it was so prevalent in the news. Everybody knew about it, even if they weren’t interested in it. There was no way the average American could avoid the story. The media analyzed and dissected the story until it couldn’t be scrutinized any more. Anna Nicole had absolutely no redeeming value, but was treated like an A-List entertainer. She just traveled around with her entourage, acting like a bimbo and annoying people.

The reason I mention this is because a person I knew passed away recently. The only news of his death was the obituary in the Cincinnati Enquirer. The deceased gentleman, Pasquale (Pat) Scarpino, Ph.D., was a Professor Emeritus in Environmental Engineering at the University of Cincinnati. He’s one of the people that all of us can thank for clean, safe drinking water. Read more about him here. After you click the link, if his obit doesn’t appear, click “New Search”, type “Scarpino”, then click “Search”. Click the first item link to read the complete obit.He was one of those brilliant people that really give something to society. I met Pat at a science conference in San Francisco in the early 1990s. He was a very friendly, well-spoken man. My wife, Chris, was more familiar with him. When she was a writer for UC’s Office of Public Relations, she had the “Science Beat”, and he kept her busy because of his many activities.

I know that there are Pat Scarpinos all over the world, including your town. Why aren’t these people celebrated more? Maybe they’re just too boring.

Wednesday, August 8: Miller Low Life Beer

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2 thoughts on “Who Should Really Be in the Headlines?

  1. I want to thank you for posting something about my dad, Pat Scarpino, on your blog. I’ve been saddened by the lack of media attention surrounding his death–I couldn’t even find anything on UC’s own website about his funeral–but as his daughter, figured I was partial to thinking about his importance in the world. Anyway, I really appreciate you remembering him, and keeping his name alive in cyberspace. So thank you.

  2. Andrea:

    I met your father at the AAAS conference in San Francisco. I can’t remember the exact year. My wife went to there to cover the UC presenters for her PR job. I had never been to SF, so I tagged along. At the time, I hosted a weekly 30-minute local public affairs show on a now-defunct Cincinnati radio station. My wife suggested that I bring my cassette recorder so that I could interview some people for future shows. I interviewed Pat and one of his research collaborators in his hotel room. I talked to them about the Ohio River and about water pollution in general. I learned a lot about all of the crap that gets dumped in our bodies of water and how it’s cleaned up. I was never a student of the sciences, so my questions were not the type that are asked at a dissertation defense! No matter, your dad was patient and gracious in answering my questions.

    When used I the word “boring” in the post, I didn’t mean to imply that your dad was boring. Quite the contrary. He gave an interesting, lively interview. I was being a bit tongue-in-cheek about those of us who get up in the morning, do our jobs, and don’t do those silly things that some celebrities do.

    I am glad that you saw the post, and thanks for reading!

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