Reality & its discontents


I am with you in general on the deleterious effect of reality television. In general. I admit to having been oddly captivated by season 1 of Survivor (holy shit, what a decade ago?). But season 2 left me cold and uncomfortable (and hungry, but luckily at a time when Whoppers were still 99 cents sometimes). And so forth from there.

Toward the thesis that reality TV made us bad people, I submit this seems pretty much entirely correct take on Paris Hilton, celebrity worship & cheap populism that are all kinds of bound up in the Reality TV Phenomenon. Mostly:

The problem with Paris wasn’t Paris, it was the amount of attention the media paid to Paris. (Assuming you think Paris Hilton is a less worthy subject of attention than a Hollywood starlet, which seems questionable to me, but again, never mind.) And whether or not she encouraged the attention, the simple fact is that if you had a problem with the media, the target of your complaints should be the media.

I would like to brag about how I was ahead of the curve on this one, but my conversations-in-bars from 2005 are for some reason not archived on the internet, so i can’t prove it. But I’ve had feelings like this for a long time, most recently re Lindsay Lohan (this is what I think about when I’m supposed to be thinking about labor economics or what’s for dinner). It just bothers me when people gang up on famous people who are just kind of being idiots the way a lot of non-famous people are idiots. Sure they act more privileged than most but we don’t have cameras following us around telling us we’re awesome/pretty/ok-to-drive (yet).

Same goes, for: Ke$ha, I guess? Seriously, this makes me cringe thinking that grown people (I’m assuming, yes) care so so so much. Also the idea that Yellow Submarine is some sort of cultural Ka’aba that must not be vandalized! and not, yknow, pretty much a joke the Beatles played on everybody (but what wasn’t, right? Am I right?). I hate to quote (paraphrase?) the always-problematic High Fidelity, but: It’s all pop music!

Oh but now I’ve lost the plot, which is that my general antipathy toward reality TV breaks down in the specifics, notably & perhaps solely: PROJECT RUNWAY. And I even came to this show late, after its jump from Bravo to Lifetime during which it became (or so I am told) more or less a preview of a distopian future in which Garnier and Hewlett Packard and Piperlime are the most powerful companies in the world (Oceania has always been at war with

Anyway, I don’t know if you watch it, but last night’s episode was so good. I’m not gonna spoil it, but: unggggg [SPOILER ALERT duh]. Don’t worry: fast-talking Valerie remains Weapons-Grade Adorable.


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