"It’s too bad reality television didn’t come along about a century earlier than it did. There might never have been a Battle of the Little Bighorn because George A. Custer would have channeled his energy into competing on “Dancing With the Stars” instead.
In a fascinating “American Experience,” “Custer’s Last Stand,” to be shown Tuesday on PBS, Custer emerges as a classic fame addict, tasting public adoration early because of his battlefield exploits during the Civil War but never quite being able to say, “I had a nice run; now I have my memories.” Instead he kept looking for opportunities to return to the limelight and embellish his legend.
Today, of course, we have outlets for people who want another dose of fame and don’t care how they get it: they can create a degrading reality TV show along the lines of “The Osbournes” or sign up for a spectacle like “Dancing With the Stars.”
Custer would have been perfect on that show. He was no doubt in great shape from all that horse-riding, and with the right partner he could have certainly left clods like Bristol Palin and David Arquette in the dust. But instead he kept pursuing the spotlight the only way he knew, through military adventurism, with increasing recklessness."
Get the Story:
A Warrior’s Quest for Fame, Ending in a Last Stand
(The New York Times 1/17)
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