My deep disdain for reality television has been no secret. Hell, my second novel, The Candidates, trashed it pretty heavily. I feel very strongly that it is very representative and all-encompassing of everything that is wrong with America. The list of reasons why would fill up the seemingly endless internet. But let’s talk about a few of those reasons for a moment…
First of all, America is not a train-wreck, so we need to quit staring at it as if it is. This is the land of opportunity. This is a country that people have died not just in defense of, but also in an attempt to reach the shores of while fleeing tormented lands. But the American dream has been replaced by some very damaging diversions, such as fame without accomplishment and it’s close competitor: reality television disguised as news.
I’m as much a fan of Honey Boo Boo as I am of the Kardashians, the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty clan, and Fox News. The only difference is that one of those is on twenty-four hours a day… but they’re all just cheap reality television that preys on stopping to look at the train wrecks in society. And when we stop and look too long, we become the train wrecks. When we emulate them, or provide enough viewership for the trash they offer to ascertain a high volume of advertising sales, we bring about the fall of a once great nation.
Honey Boo Boo was made famous for being a brat, enabled by her mom, Mama June, that made her rounds in the abusive and horrendous ‘child beauty pageant’ circuit. They are the poster family for unhealthy, self centered lives afflicted, no doubt at some point, with diabetes. And now we find out that Mama June is dating a child molester, giving the media the opportunity to do what it does best: tear people down. But much like Phil, the father in Duck Dynasty, how is it even remotely possible to tear someone down from a position that is so obviously fitting of their lifestyle? How do they lose sponsors for being associated with horrible people or being bigots when those are the exact character defects that made them famous?
Or how about Kim Kardashian? I’m sure I’m probably spelling that wrong, but really… Who gives a shit? I can’t bring myself to Google her. I already had to Google Mama June to get the headline photo, and the results made my stomach turn. I can’t possibly do it again. Some of you probably think that’s shallow of me, but if you want shallow, just watch their shows. They’re all disgusting. And we make them famous. We give them careers for being disgusting. We reward them with millions of dollars and advertising endorsements for being disgusting. And then we relish in the news of watching them being torn to pieces… So I ask you, what’s more disgusting… Them, or us?
And how about Fox News? Fox News is nothing but reality television these days. It would be nothing without fear (much like most other ‘news’ stations). We watch ‘news shows’ on Fox News with ‘newscasters’ holding disgusting views that exploit fear and tear people down for entertainment. Half of you right now are calling bullshit, saying all news is that way… and to a degree, you’re correct… but no one does it like Fox. News is not an opinion. News is the reporting of facts. We are at a disgusting time in our news cycle, though, as channels such as Fox News make their own facts, and convince half of our country that everyone else is stupid for not believing the shit they pull out of their asses at Fox News. It’s not news, though. It’s reality television, where people with disgusting views become celebrities.
The worst thing about all of this is the message it sends to our children. If you want to be famous, be disgusting while a camera is trained on you. Unfortunately (maybe) for the rest of society, only a few of those disgusting people will actually become famous and make millions for being disgusting, and what we’ll be left with is a generation of disgusting people who feel justified in being disgusting, yet upset that they didn’t make it big for accomplishing nothing.
If you want news, go to the Associated Press, or watch something other than fear tactics that never amount to anything real that’s disguising itself as news. If you want entertainment, watch artists who aim to perfect their craft, whether it be to elicit an emotion or make you think about something bigger than yourself… or, God forbid, maybe you could go outside and remember that we can enjoy a life that doesn’t involve a television, tablet, or phone screen.
I’m sure we all aim to be better than disgusting. I’m sure that’s a goal we have for our children as well. Maybe it’s time to break the cycle.