Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I Hate Reality TV

I can hardly express the extent to which I *hate* reality TV or at least the vast majority of it. Even the most benign I find bafflingly pointless. What is so entertaining about watching people living their “normal” lives just because the people are morons, have 30 kids or are 2 ft tall? For one thing, it is simply lazy television; it is something quick and lucrative networks can slap together on the cheap because (we are told) they don’t have to hire any writers or actors (after all, both groups have unions and are thus rather pricey). However, I believe that the worst examples of reality TV are far worse than being just pointless or far from entertainment. I object to them mostly because they are a betrayal of the divine spark in humanity.

As most know I am an avid fan and supporter of the ancient sport of traditional Spanish bullfighting. A lot of people want to see it banned for being “barbaric” (and the day it is banned in Mexico will be the last day I ever visit that country). Naturally, I disagree. I know it is certainly not for everyone but in my opinion it is a glorious, beautiful tradition of skill, grace and the struggle between a man and his courage. It is pure, it is natural, it is poetry in motion. I have been to some rather “gruesome” bullfights but even in the worst cases I find reality TV far, far more barbaric. In fact, I will go a step further and say that I find most of reality TV more detrimental to western civilization than gladiatorial combat in the Roman Colosseum.

For a thousand years the games in the Vespasian Amphitheatre in which gladiators, men and beasts, fought to the death, have been held up as the image of ancient Roman barbarity and we have long smugly patted ourselves on the back that we are so much more “evolved” than those bloodthirsty Romans signaling with their thumbs the fate of a defeated slave. However, I submit to you that we are actually no better than they were and in fact, in some ways, even worse. Why? Because, like the toro bravo in the bull ring, the gladiator at least had a fighting chance, however slim, and he went down heroically, bravely, with dignity and honor. All of which are absolutely lacking in the so-called “entertainment” of reality TV today.

What we have seen instead in the last few years is a race to the bottom in numerous shows revolving around people degrading themselves, disgracing themselves, humiliating themselves and their families all for money or the chance at 15 minutes of fame. They pass as entertainment people eating disgusting things, exaggerating ignorant stereotypes, showing off how shallow and stupid they are or displaying how over-the-top immoral they are by some woman who has to drag in half the trailer park for paternity tests to find out who the father of her child is. It is disgraceful in every sense of the word. A common working girl walking the streets has as much dignity (if not more) than most of the cretins that appear on these displays of the breakdown of high civilization. If the ancient Romans could see such displays as the modern masses devour I think they would shake their heads in embarrassment that people descended from their civilization would hold their lives so precious but sell their honor and dignity so cheap.


  1. I was thinking the same exact thing.

    Have you seen the commercial's for Wipeout? A bunch of overweight individuals run around getting hit in the face by padded this and that.

    It's degrading.

  2. I have not seen ads for that particular show but it doesn't surprise me. The overweight have already been held up for ridicule by shows like "The Biggest Loser" which try to cover up for them displaying the obese, on huge scales almost naked, for ridicule and the shock factor like some sort of freak show all because they claim to be "helping" them. The truth of course is that they don't have to make a public display of robbing them of their dignity in order to help such individuals.

  3. The Biggest Loser! I've been trying to repress the singular time I watched that show. What I don't remember, can't crush me. But now I do remember watching that "show" and what I felt, above all else, was sadness. It's repulsive, not merely watching, but also knowing that others are getting some sort of sick fascination/pleasure of it.


    It's depressing to think about.

  4. Ole!
    I still have my bullfight posters from Granada and Sevilla that I collected as an overseas college student!
    I don't know where they are now, but they sustained me for years seeing the pastel-colored paintings of the matadors. Drama, color, grace.

    [Aside here: I use bullfights as a reason to suggest avoidance of red cars, or red clothes, or red anything, since it encourages aggression. Everyone has heard - true or not - that the red flag angers the bulls enough to make them charge!]

    Whereas, I would never watch any TV, for fear of spiritual eye contamination - who knows what harmful rays come out of those screens! But even WORSE is having to look at newscasters, interviewees, speakers. They emit very bad energies - and often actually have demons around them. Allowing the eyes to rest on such people, particularly 'celebrities' can pull down a viewer's energy for the rest of the day. Not to mention, distort one's ability to see truth and make intelligent decisions.
    I feel a real sting in my physical eye when I look at people in the mainstream media or on most video clips from ALL news stations. Some of them are almost nauseating due to the bad energy they or their voices transmit.

    So, I could never tolerate any pop music, entertainment, etc. for one second! I never knew what 'reality' t.v. was until this well-written essay! Sounds like the reality of a demon world; a preview of what awaits those who indulge in viewing these shows...?

    I bet the ancient Romans were indeed on a higher cultural level by far. There is almost no comparison between their civilization and the modern American one.

    Look at the ugly monstrosities which pass for Catholic church buildings! What about the rest of the architecture?
    Then drive to Segovia and look at the aquaduct built by the Romans....

    Look at the Arches in the Colosseum, for example that of Septimius Severus.

    When last week I looked at travertine, which was locked in my mind that I needed for renovation of my house, the Lowe's salesman, hardly a bastion of scholarship, explained its advantages. What did he use as a sales pitch?

    "This is what was used to build the Coliseum in Rome. Look how long that has lasted, so there is no question about durability."

    Better to read the illuminating "Letters of St Margaret Mary" which are amazingly good or REAL History and Biography than almost all movies except a few, and simply ALL TV, in my opinion!

  5. I don't watch them myself but I have the misfortune to sometimes be around those who do. It is no exaggeration, in my experience anyway, to say that they suck the very life out of you. Seeing just a bit of them makes me so gloomy and depressed about the state of society that we have so many people who could lower themselves to such depths for the opportunity of seeing themselves a laughing stock, making a humiliating spectacle of themselves. I have often said (though I realize its not historically accurate) that seeing reality TV show makes me feel I can understand what Emperor Honorius must have felt had he watched the Visigoths riding over the seventh hill.

  6. Reality TV? Bleck...

    People like to watch stupid people.
    It makes them feel good about themselves. Strokes their ego.

    That being said, I'd rather watch cartoons.

  7. Progressman, I watch cartoons a lot. You'd be surprised how good the Japanese ones are, and the parental bonuses in the DCAU and Looney Tunes shorts are absolutely brilliant.

    It's a matter of being controversial. When it comes to reality television, the more controversial the "characters" are, the better. No such thing as bad publicity and all that jazz.

    Also, shows like Celebrity Masterchef (or whatever it's called) bring in people who have a "story". The most talented cooks shouldn't apply, only the ones with a good little boo-hoo story.

    Ultimately though, this is because we have become a society so poisoned by destructive tendencies within our political and social structure that our dignity is all that is left to destroy. Consider that those who were once respected - monarchs, aristocrats, genteel broadcasters and so on - are all generally the subject of ridicule, or have been forced out for being too respectful (politicians are another matter - they need to earn respect like trust).

    Frankly, I think that we should all try to be the witty, genteel snarker. After all, that's why insults from more than fifty years ago are actually amusing and worth taking on the chin.

  8. Some years ago, a French reality TV show (this was at the time when the whole phenomenon was new everywhere) aroused such disgust in its viewers that they deposited large amounts of garbage outside the TV studio's front door, so that the TV staff could neither enter the studio nor leave it. And that was the end of the show in question, at least in France. People power at work. I wish we were as militant as the French are in fighting against trash culture.


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