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Will

Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

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9 Responses

  1. Avatar North says:

    Good thoughts Will. If I may add to it though. There are reality shows that I would say are perhaps not just blah entertainment but actually helpful. For examples I’d cite “So you think you can Dance”, “American Idol (to a lesser degree)”, “Project Runway” and all their fellow relatives in the skill based Reality TV show sub group. In the case of many of these shows we’re seeing people compete based on some genuine skill, to make things or to do things skillfully. In many of these cases it seems to me that we’re seeing people getting opportunities to join the “high culture” venues that they otherwise wouldn’t have. I think that this subgroup of shows is enabling people that are genuinely skilled and talented to have opportunities that they wouldn’t have had prior to these shows because before these shows came about you got in by getting a lucky break or by knowing someone on the inside. To the extent that this happens I consider reality TV shows a genuinely good thing. Also in many cases as we watch the shows we also get to see genuinely interesting and beautiful things being done and made. So I’m of the opinion that reality shows of this ilk enrich us all (just a little).

    The shows based on nothing but social drama mongering or watching real housewives do… something… real… are of course drek.Report

    • Avatar JosephFM in reply to North says:

      Agreed that the offspring of Survivor and talent shows are somewhat less odious than the offspring of The Real World.

      Also, he goes on to cite the eminently idiotic assertion that there’s a cultural stigma against making moral judgments toward others except when speaking against bourgeois values. Which is patent nonsense – the whole point of those shows, as you say, is moral preening for the audience. “Look at those idiots, we’re so much better than them!” Of course, this is Jonah – the master of making a halfway-reasonable argument descend into ridiculous assertions that are false on their face.Report

  2. Avatar Dan Summers says:

    David Foster Wallace totally called this.

    From footnote 24 of “Infinite Jest” (James Incandenza’s filmography):
    “Cage III – Free Show. B.S. Latrodectus Mactans Productions/Infernatron Animation Concepts, Canada. Cosgrove Watt, P.A. Heaven, Everard Maynell, Pam Heath; partial animation; 35mm; 65 minutes; black and white; sound. The figure of Death (Heath) presides over the front entrance of a carnival sideshow whose spectators watch performers undergo unspeakable degradations so grotesquely compelling that the spectators’ s eyes become larger and larger until the spectators themselves are transformed into gigantic eyeballs in chairs, while on the other side of the sideshow tent the figure of Life (Heaven) uses a megaphone to invite fairgoers to an exhibition in which, if the fairgoers consent to undergo unspeakable degradations, they can witness ordinary persons gradually turn into giant eyeballs.”Report

  3. Avatar The tired ghost of Edmund Wilson says:

    Sorry your feelings are hurt. Truly, I am.

    For what it’s worth (very little I imagine) my comment was written with a sigh, not a sneer.Report

  4. Avatar Dan Summers says:

    Well, then, I accept the apology in the spirit in which it was offered. However, sigh or sneer, you seem to draw a broad conclusion about aesthetics from an isolated data point.Report