Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tuned out

America is obsessed with reality. They just aren't obsessed in actual reality. It seems tohat now, more than ever, Americans are turning to so called reality television in numbers greater than ever. The question behind this phenomenon is why?

Why are Americans so obsessed with escapism? Why, too, are the 24 hour news networks catering to this escapism? Why have, in recent months, entire days of coverage on these "news" networks been devoted to non-news makers along the lines of Britney Spears, OJ Simpson, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan? Why are websites who cater to the mindless masses with names like Gawker, TMZ and Defamer more important than those with actual journalists behind them?

In a world where the half hour national news programs on the big three networks have all had major shifts in their on-air presence and have hemorraged viewers at an alarming rate in the past decade, do the majority of people know more about the war in Iraq or Lindsay Lohan's trials and tribulations in her multiple rahab stints?

With newspapers supposedly dying, where will people turn to for investigative reporting? Who will take the time to dig deep for the story behind the story? Even with newspapers struggling to stay afloat, they are reinventing themselves to cater to the glossy, celebrity-obsessed culture of American consumers. Enormous lifestyle sections featuring fashion trends and hot celeb vacation spots have taken precedence over hard hitting news that, while it isn't in your back yard, still has long lasting effects on you and your life.

Even I am guilty of this trend. I have taken to a lighter approach in my so-called writing. Gone is the endless political criticism and focus on news from a year ago. I understand that focusing solely on one topic can burn people out but a topic such as the dumbass antics of fifth-rate celebs can get old too. I encourage people to find a healthy balance and turn off the bullshit "reality" programming fed to us by networks and cable channels who think that Americans would rather live their lives through the "reality" of others. I hate to break it to you but "Kid Nation" is coached and MTV's "The Hills" is scripted.

8 comments:

Beth said...

So-called "reality TV" has screwed up the whole notion of what reality actually is.
I don't watch those shows - too busy dealing with reality.

justacoolcat said...

Isn't it kind of funny you tag Reality Tv as escapism?

Brendan said...

I hate to break it to you but "Kid Nation" is coached and MTV's "The Hills" is scripted.

Next you'll be casting doubt on Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

Why do you hate America's children so much?

Sornie said...

Brendan, Hate is such a strong word but a more accurate one would be "dislike"... and no I am not serious about hating or disliking kids but fresh air and playing a pickup game of baseball would be better than obsessing over what's happening next on "The Hills" whose success is just proving more and more to MTV that music is far from viable on a channel that made its name with music.

Beth: AMEN!

cool cat: Yes, it's puzzling to me that people won't deal with their own realith but will obsess over who will be voted off the island next week.

Hammer said...

I prefer hard news. I ignore the fluffy crap that makes the headlines these days.

Orwell and Huxley were prophetic it seems.

Jay said...

Television sucks.
There are way better bad habits to acquire.

Countess B said...

Wow....reading this post, and everyone's comments made me feel like a dumb redneck. I have to admit, I do watch a few reality shows. I guess the attraction is seeing a world very different from my own harsh reality. I can only take laundry, dirty diapers, and cooking dinner for so many hours. I need to escape into love triangle and lotsa money spent on stupid things. But I'll compromise.....I WON'T watch I love New York 2.

Stephanie said...

I believe blogs are the literary equivalent of reality TV. We just seem to be fascinated with other people's lives. REAL lives. The opening lines of The Truman Show say it best. We've become bored with watching actors read from scripts. We want real life.