Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Reality TV and You

This is a great little piece by Colleen Carroll Campbell at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. The garbage of reality TV not only degrades the people involved and reveals the thinness of our culture, it degrades us as well. Speaking specifically to the debacle that is the “Jon and Kate Plus 8” show, Campbell writes:

The excruciatingly public marital troubles between Jon and Kate Gosselin reached their predictable denouement Monday when the reality television stars announced their impeding divorce before an audience of 10.6 million. After 10 years of marriage and two years of filming "Jon & Kate Plus 8," the parents of 8-year-old twins and 5-year-old sextuplets denied that the constant intrusion of cameras into their private life had precipitated their split or exploited their children. And true to form, the couple assured viewers that the divorce would not interfere with their hit cable series. As Kate Gosselin said gravely, "The show must go on."

It is very telling that the TV show carries more weight to these people than does a marriage or the health of a home in trouble. But this is emblematic of our own lack of personal substance. Not only do we live vicarious and dysfunctional lives through TV people, but we find our own substance through them. The fodder for our daily conversations and perceptions about relationships, language, work, politics, comes through TV.

An uncle to the children on this TV program (Kreider) had a great piece of advice:

"So please," Kreider said, "stop watching."

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