The nose has stopped dripping but remains plugged...thickening means there’s an end in sight. Yah! I’m coughing more than sneezing now, and I've been watching for signs that it's traveling south to my lungs, so far so good. My throat is as rough as an unpaved road so I sound pretty gravelly when I speak, like a hard core, 100 year old smoker. I’m drinking copious amounts of water to hydrate my poor chapped lips and flush this crap out of my system and I’m downing green tea with Lemon like there's no tomorrow. So that's where I am health wise.
While convalescing I watched a bit more TV than normal, there being nothing else to do. And now I feel compelled to rant bit. I guess that's a sign I'm on the mend.
Off and on, in between naps on the sofa, I would awaken to shows in progress. Things that would normally not appeal to me but I didn’t have the grey cells to concentrate on anything I had to follow closely. One of the channels had a series of attention getters, giant tumours, a man with only half a body, the Bubble Man and other medical abnormalities that people have to endure. I like being informed but this sort of programming always makes me a bit angry. I just wish they are done for more altruistic reasons, instead of being about shock value and ratings. I’ve always felt the main reason for these documentaries and the so called ‘reality’ shows is exploitation. Cheaply made shows where they don’t have to pay actors to fill time slots.
They search until they find the strangest misfortunes, stomp through their lives and then walk away. Sometimes there's the benefit of surgery to improve or save their lives and other times not. Regardless of the outcome, these a whole lot of homing in on the suffering and focusing on the abnormality; showing the same shots over and over, zooming in during the operation to show all the bloody gore, finishing with a shot of the result and then you never hear of these people again. If there was an update on their condition down the road I might have a better opinion as to the reason it was done in the first place but there never is. These people are mainly used for our shock and entertainment and quite frankly, I’m angry where television is going with its peep show mentality.
Just like all those true crime shows, they are meant to shock without much regard for the grieving families of the victims. We live in a society that is fed a steady diet of infamous serial killer’s but not one of us know any victims names. Times have changed; it seems we have become so desensitized by violence and death that we need even more gore to be put off our popcorn. Another show I watched was “Criminal Minds”. When the show first aired I used to be a fan, until I got grossed out as they wrote in more sadistic plots and showed dead bodies ripped and mutilated. Now I know they aren’t real bodies but they are fairly well done and can sometimes cause a shudder down the spine and a quick check to make sure the doors are locked. Also, what happened to the code that women and children are never defiled or killed? Everything is fair game in a crime show these days, its a no holds barred, no taboo world.
And speaking of children, they no longer have the strict bed time cut offs that were enforced in my generation. Teenagers and God forbid even younger, impressionable minds are watching these shows…what kind of message we are sending them? Maybe in a few years cutting the eyelids off of a woman, and legs sawn off one body and sewn on another won’t bother me, I’ll be so desensitized I’ll need a higher level of depravity to turn my head away. There is no longer a story for the sake of a story; it’s just patches of unimaginable gore to hold our attention while less interesting filler plugs the gaps in between. Maybe I’m cynical but I’m growing tired of paying for cable when it offers little in the way of real entertainment, just show after show of frightful murders and dismembered bodies.
And then I have a beef with all this Reality TV. It offends me in so many ways. It's all riddled with questionable motives and believe me, there isn’t that much reality. Regular lives aren’t that exciting; it’s all scripted for entertainment value. Maybe the networks should check what the words 'real' and 'reality' mean in the dictionary. Maybe these people aren’t memorizing lines but they are adlibbing their way through the show following a guideline. As far as I am concerned, Survivor, the granddaddy of all this reality craze, was the ruination of TV.
On occasion I’ve joked around about pitching a rug hooking reality show to the networks, but of course it would have to be altered and scripted. No one would want to watch a bunch of lovely, talented women showing passion for fiber art. We could call the show “Big Sister”, a shut in group of controversial hookers held up in a house, stealing each other’s wool, being critical of each other’s work, copying designs, undermining and back stabbing, vying for power, cat fights over a piece of plaid, brawls and trucker language. Maybe let the women out every now and then so they could bribe judges at juried shows, sleep with each other’s fellers or carry a baseball bat to second hand stores to gain the upper hand for a piece of recycled the wool. And all for the big prize, a trip to the Dorr Mill Store for all the wool they can carry…..(Hey, maybe you wouldn’t have to script that kind of reaction for a prize like that!) So how would that be for a reality show..…just like real life right? Of course not!!! But that’s the only way to grab today’s audience. No one, except you and me, wants to watch a rug hooking show where everyone is nice to one another, trading ideas and sharing wool, showing support and complimenting each other on their work. That kind of goody-two-shoes pilot wouldn’t make it out of the can unless of course it was a low budget, local cable show that no one cared about.
Reality shows need an edge and most real lives aren’t that exciting, at least not enough to fill show after show, week after week. Without the added spice it would be like watching paint dry. Real life is now designer TV with edgy, off the wall people, foolish, fame hungry, pot stirring, Hatfield and McCoy types, that’ll slap you as quick
as look at you.
There aren’t any June Cleaver role models anymore. To spin a reality show you have to hunt and kill something…like a gater, blow something up, compete over cakes and pastries; be obnoxious with the table manners of pigs, be a group of spoiled, cosmetically enhanced housewives, scream at chefs to perform impossible tasks under pressure , or be potty mouthed and scrappers. And then all those shows where they take thousands of people and dangle the fame carrot in front of them only to snatch it through a mass elimination. Does anyone give a second thought or care about the people they cut, throw off or send to the box truck baby? All those broken dreams and hopes crushed; collateral damage just to entertain us. Some of those shows feature real people, like you and me, hoping for a break in life, hoping to live the “dream”, but they were all just pawns, used to make money and are then cast aside without a care.
Sure one lucky person always wins, but does that balance out all the pain and devastation of those who lose? When I watch those shows I think of controversial books such as the “The Hunger Games”, and George Orwell’s 1984. Shows like American Idol, The Voice and the X Factor, to name a few, really aren’t all that far removed. Remember the Colosseum? The blood soaked arena? Wasn’t that a last man standing sort of show?
Controversy is what sells TV. Watching these contestants crumble and cry as their dreams go up in smoke is entertainment. They make sure they stick that camera in for the close-up of the dream ripped apart. But interestingly, you usually don’t see the level headed contestant who accepts their fate quietly, no they push the camera at the one who is more likely to punch out the camera guy, chase them down for a comment. Are we now so bored with our own lives that we have become a voyeuristic society that views the humiliation and suffering of others entertainment?
Sorry, I'll get down off my soap box....maybe it's all the phegm. There's so little on TV worth watching these days....it's a sad reality!