Thanks to my hero, Frank Rich, of the New York Times, for the inspiration for this thread.
Making money, and seeking one’s moment of fame these days is much like it was in the 1930’s according to a recent NY Times editorial by Frank Rich. The 1935 book, and then 1969 movie, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, examined the common man’s desperation for survival and attention at an especially despondent time in the history of this country. The corruption and venality of current-day reality television and the dance marathon movement of the 1930’s are compared by Rich and unsettling similarities are revealed.
So, is it so terrible to expose one’s children to real or imagined danger if the goal is 15 minutes of fame, which can in turn, be exploited for obsence profits? Has this Great Recession become the most recent version of the Great Depression? What do you fine bloggers think?
14 responses to “They Shoot Falcon’s, Don’t They?”
I don’t think this balloon hoax was a result of the recession. Instead, I think it was perpetrated by a father who has basically never grown up and wants his own way.
From all the reporting I’ve read, this father has had a desire to become a movie actor and wants attention all the time for a long time.
What I don’t like is all this reality television. At what point is going too far? Have we become a society of peeping toms? Do we get some sort of adrenaline rush to watch people deal with everyday problems?
What do we get out of watching Jon and Kate with their 8 kids when they are obviously fighting and then we act all surprised when they announce they are divorcing. We may act surprised, but we are dying to hear all the dirty details – aren’t we?
And what about the kids? What price are they paying for the so-called fame and fortune of the adults in their lives.
The reality television mindset has migrated over to the news television, IMHO. What I mean by that is all the sensationalism and the constant gossip drivel we seem to get from the news networks.
I remember when news anchors were not considered celebrities.
Perhaps that is the problem today – too many celebrities?
I wonder if reality television enjoys such popularity because if we pay enough attention to other people’s problems it might be easier to ignore ours. We can come up with advice for other people and feel some form of satisfaction that we know what to do.
We can’t be expected to fix other’s problems, but we are expected to fix our own.
You may have a point. Or maybe it is just the gossipy side of human nature to want to watch and sit in judgment?
I have a confession to make. I don’t watch reality TV shows. Not Jon and Kate, not SYTYCD or AI, biggest losers or stuck on an island. Have I watched any of them? The answer is yes, but I never got hooked. I think that’s because so many of them make me uncomfortable. Sure, I like to see winners, but the plight of the losers is more than I want to deal with.
Nor do I watch game shows or soap operas, whether nighttime or dayttime.
I’m not a big fan of reality TV shows either – so can you tell me what SYTYCD is? I guessed AI is American Idol….or am I really out of touch?
I got my fill of reality TV show when Jerry Springer came on hot and heavy. The last time I channel surfed, I came across a Jerry Springer show and it was the usual demonstration of humanity degrading itself and my first thought was – this looks tamer than it used to be.
Could it be society is getting used to all this dysfunctional behavior and think is okay?
corr: think it is okay?
So You Think You Can Dance; my late wife’s favorite ‘reality’ show, and the younger is about as hooked.
I have to confess, I had a perverse fascination with the show More to Love which was one of the bachelor shows for those possessing, well, more to love.
I am sure that competing with a bunch of competitive women to win the man you love, has got to be soooooo… much fun. /scarcasm
I’m not recalling the details now, but on one of the dating reality shows, some guy was outted as not being at all what he claimed to be.
I’ve watched Dancing With The Stars — a whole season! It was the season Helio Castroneves was the winner. He’s a race car driver and my sister works with him. She had the whole durn family armed with phones and voting. I liked it and although that’s the only season I watched most episodes I catch one now and again, along with SYTYCD, and enjoy both. Those dancers are athletes, I admire their grace…
Does anyone else remember the old Jenny Jones talk show? The reason she stopped doing television was because of that one show when a gay man wanted to confess his secret crush on another man on the show.
As it turned out, the other guy was convicted of killing the gay man a few days later. So, for the sake of television viewing – two lives were ruined?
Reality shows are cheaper to make and their popularity shows no signs of decreasing – so the networks are going to keep churning them out as long as their ratings keep going up.
My guilty pleasures are Hells Kitchen and Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. They are both reality shows. They’re the only ones I watch, but I do watch them. Even when its obvious that someone is being kept on the show for “conflictual” reasons. Otherwise, I have stayed away from “reality” shows. They aren’t really real, so I get confused. Who needs another reason to get frustrated and confused?
SYTYCD &AI are the only reality shows I watch. I like real talent not faux.
I also watched Hell’s Kitchen (not faithfully) and Kitchen Nightmares. I like the Nightmares show because Gordon Ramsay can take some rundown restaurant and turn it around into a success – and I like that premise for the show.
I like Hell’s Kitchen because I happen to like to like cooking shows. Gordon Ramsay can be a little overbearing at times – for my taste – and he does use the F word alot. But I still like both shows.
I also watched America’s Got Talent – simply because I like to see what people can do and some of those people were absolutely great.
The reality shows I don’t care for are those ones who are picking their marriage partner. How can anyone think this is real when there are 10 or 20 people fighting for the same person?
I guess I am still old fashioned when it comes to certain things – and picking your life partner is one of those things. I don’t care to be doing it on television for all the world to see.
Seriously though, I don’t begrudge anyone their reality shows but I do have to wonder about those shows that have kids involved – like Jon & Kate + 8. Those kids are ultimately the ones paying the price for whatever emotional damage has been done. And for that reason, I wish these reality shows would not use kids.