Saturday, April 5, 2008


I call this piece expediency out of frustration. I intended to write another work of a specific slice of my life for the web page I maintain, but this idea got in the way. It is quite simply, more expedient to write what is there and work more on what is to come. Motivation for what you are about to read has been brewing for quite some time. I have come to believe that reality television shows are naught but harbingers for the destruction and desecration of the collective mentality and verve of the universe.

I have cable television. I have extremely good cable television. Two hundred plus channels and a DVR to record shows when I am not even there. I can record two shows at one time. I can record two shows at one time while watching another. I can choose from many topics and styles of shows; murder mysteries, dramatic series, comedy, horror, cartoons, etc, etc, etc. It is a particular portion of my life that I hold near and dear.

I maintain my attachment to cable television for a number of reasons. Pay-per-view is cheaper then going to Blockbuster. Old movies bring loving nostalgic emotions up in me. News stories that anger or delight me, and additionally offer me inspiration for this blog. I enjoy the ability to view historic events as they happen, or have happened. Dramatic shows with messages that stimulate my spirit and lift my soul.

I use it as a tool to become a better teacher. I use it to entertain myself. I use it to educate myself. Moreover, and most significantly, I use it to guide my spirit. You see, I think of cable television as one of the spiritual experiences sought by myself and my fellow members of the Twelve Step program I attend. Exactly how that works is for another place…maybe.

The focal point of this morning’s tirade grew out of my daily sojourn into the communicative side of the cyber-world. My e-mail has been infested with announcements for reality shows. I realize that it is probably my own fault. I clicked on some link, or read something that released my email address to the universe. I have more then oneaddress and from time to time I must spend time unsubscribing to a profuse amount of organizations which desire to give me laptops, or show me the secret to unimaginable wealth or, my personal favorite, the desire of a whole host of wealthy Third World individuals who have passed on to the Great Reward with their last thought being that I deserve to be left what has now totaled to over 789, 000,000, 000,000, 000, 000,000, 000,000 dollars or British Pounds Sterling.

Well, I guess that is the cost of doing business in the Twenty First Century. What I truly take exception to is the idea that the Army of the Inane has invaded the center of my spiritual world. I went to that most hallowed of beings for guidance. That omniscient and benevolent divinity of the ethereal cosmos we call the Internet…Google. I typed in the words “How many Reality Television shows are there? Well, I will confess to some expertise as a researcher. I would not be worth mush as a teacher and writer had I not developed some acuity in that realm. I spent most of the time allotted this Saturday morning attempting to discover the answer to my simple question. I must have viewed over forty web sites before discovering that my answer must be a well-protected secret. I have visions of some clandestine entity overseeing the web, and protecting the genre. Visions of George Orwell and Aldous Huxley creep in, and I am not sure as to my safety. Perhaps I have committed an indiscretion of monumental consequence. I fear not the outcome of my quest. I think I need to come back to reality and stop bullshitting.

It appears that only one site has had the good graces to list the current reality shows. I highlighted them and clipped them into a document. The list was twelve pages long. I converted the document to a three-column affair and it was six pages. I started to count and lost the urge to be exact. Suffice it to say that there are over five hundred (500) shows that proclaim themselves as “real.” It has also been a genre for as long as there has been television. I remember Allen Funt’s “Candid Camera” from my childhood with some measure of good will. I had little choice at the time. I watched what my parents put on.

Now that I am the master of my own remote control, I feel encroached upon when I am offered a show where a famous (???) rock star occupies a mansion and proceeds to hold a contest on which scantily clad, overly made up, bimbos will have sex with him. What happened to the days when a rock star got his carnal pleasures honestly…after a concert when he is all sweaty and exhausted because the drugs he took to get him through the two-hour work day he and his buddies enjoy wore off.

Why do I have to watch people get aboriginal by eating slugs and rodents in the pursuit of fortune and fame? Does the ability to sleep on the ground and not bath for weeks at a time qualify someone for success? Well I did that when I served in the Army. I never got famous for it and, as I remember, I did it for the massive sum of $288.00 a month. We do pay the folks who guard our way of life so well, don’t we?

Who cares if your future husband is a redneck? If you are going to invite me to your wedding, at least let me come in person so I can meet you thrice married cousin with the twelve kids who is looking for another husband (payday?). Be real, for God’s sake, and tell me that you’re doing it because some Suit from a television production company offered to pay for the wedding cake. I can respect that. If you did that, I wouldn’t even have a problem if you wore white after getting caught on camera having an affair with the manager of the Dairy Queen… your boss.

I was a truck driver for almost two decades. The trucks I drove were supposed to look old and wore out. I drove the crap out of them in order to earn a living. I did not bother with my appearance that much. Like most truckers, I worked 70 to 100 hours a week. Very few people ever even saw me. Just the guy selling me diesel, and the waitress in the cafĂ© that called me “darling” and made sure I had enough coffee and knew who had the best price on West Coast Turnarounds. Trick? Only myself when I engaged the services of whatever entrepreneurially gifted lady of the evening caught my eye.

I will confess to watching some of these shows. Hypocrisy? Big deal! There is a famous professional wrestler whose family is on one of these shows and I do watch, primarily because I am a fan. Hulkamania rules! A program featuring an old-timer from a famous Classic rock band who wore bizarre makeup and spit fire catches my eye from time to time, but only to see his significant other who is a former soft-core porn star who I have secretly always wanted to date.

My ire comes mostly from the fact that these shows are so numerous that it prevents Hollywood from producing better. It saddens me that my kids would rather watch “Bindi: The Jungle Girl” then read “Tarzan of the Apes.” I fail to see the relevant contribution to society of “Tommy Lee goes to college.” Why not watch “Great Performances” on PBS and see musicians who actually play music instead of being famous for having married, divorced, and made a sex video with that “Baywatch” chick with the large breasts?

Well…enough. I am tired of this page, and I don’t really think it did anyone any good, but it is what came out of my fingers this morning. Better that then watching “The Real Life of A Little Known Future Award Winning Novelist.” Peace

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