Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The end of America (the short version)

I blame MTV.

I blame American Idol.

I blame "reality" TV.

I blame the general population.

I blame myself, too.

Yes, it's a big blame game but I have legit questions too.

Are Americans so downtrodden and worn down by their own lives that the only recourse is escapism? Is the only way to accept their own lives to live vicariously through the lowest of the lows that fill the broadcast schedules on the TV channels we watch?

Are we so overly exposed to our sad and pathetic reality that our only escape is what has become (for some at least) an unhealthy obsession with pop culture including celebrities and the "reality" television that comes along with them? After all, if there wasn't a market for the products, would the papparazzi violently stalk celebrities?

I could go down one path here and state that America needs to pay attention to the real reality that surrounds us (wars, our economy, the election, etc.) but too much of one thing is not a good thing at all.

The other path is to find a balance. It sounds preachy to say it and I know I'm far from perfect but I can honestly say I don't watch shit like TMZ or American Idol. I rarely, if ever, watch E!. VH1 and MTV's slathering of bottom feeding programming doesn't get tube time in our house. I don't watch the 24-hour news channels. And at 10 PM I split my time between The Daily Show and the 10 o'clock news on WCCO. Maybe that balance comes from my parents or maybe it's from my own choosing.

Even though I am somewhat young, I tend to think I am from a very different segment of my own generation. I was one of the few growing up who had the luxury of eating supper at the family table. We sat down and ate as a family. Yes, we even managed to do this (in a different venue) during the busy seasons on the farm. It brought out a sense of togetherness. We often had the evening news on in the adjoining living room because living in the country there wasn't the constant barrage of choices on the TV. We talked during the meal and discussed the day. How many truly have that luxury in 2008? How many families make it a point to eat together if the schedules of the working parents provide for it?

9 comments:

Michelle Ann said...

Reality TV...no good? But it's like junk food for the brain. I NEED Top Chef. Every once in a while, you just need a bag of Doritos. That being said, I have become a fan of cable series; Entourage, Weeds, Californication....

Sornie said...

See Michelle Ann, that, to me, is balance. And if I had any points left from yesterday's points blowout, I'd hook you up.

Balou said...

I can't understand who is watching and feeding the celeb frenzy & reality TV craze. It seems the media decision makers keep dumbing everything down for us.

Beth said...

I realized the other day, that the only shows I watch are reality shows!!! god, I need to get a life...

The Future Was Yesterday said...

ANOTHER excellent post! You're on a roll.

"I blame myself, too."
Put me in that crowd as well.

" I was one of the few growing up who had the luxury of eating supper at the family table. We sat down and ate as a family. "
You're one of the few that knows "Supper" is the last meal of the day, too!:) Like you, I grew up on a farm, although light years ago. Family Values is not a Republican buzz word. It is caring about the welfare of those next to us, and helping out when needed, among other things!

Other than the ESPN group, I watch maybe a half hour of TV a week. Put another way, I pay $90 a month for my sports and cable modem.:)

The ills and shortcomings of America are so many, and so varied, they could be debated forever. But I think you summed them all up with what you said early on: "I blame myself." I really respect and admire the thinking of anyone with the courage and honesty to admit that!

Sornie said...

The real fault, if I want to head down the politics road, lies in those who are unable to blame themselves sometimes. To admit you've done wrong is huge. It places the responsibility for something squarely on your own shoulders and while it could give you a black eye, you'll look like a bigger person for not passing the buck.

Beth, the first step is admitting it. May I suggest "Miss Guided" tonight at 7 PM CT on ABC. A great, quirky comedy that deserves to be watched.

PunditMom said...

Sadly, too few. We try and fail more often than note to eat dinner together. With Mr. PunditMom's arrival home in the evening delayed by traffic 3/5 nites and PunditGirl still needing a pretty early bedtime, it's my never-ending struggle to get us to the table at the same time. :(

Sornie said...

I can totally understand PunditMom. I was lucky to have parents whose business was our family farm. I know that when there's a rugrat around the house that I'll be in the same boat as your family. I get home from work between 5 and 6:30 so a family dinner would be a challenge to say the least.

cathouse teri said...

I blame the fact that families don't have dinner together any more. :)