Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Where are you, Newton Minow??

So my wife and I are flipping channels last night and she insists on stopping at "The Bachelor" for a few minutes. I protest, but ok, it can't be that bad. We've seen snippets of previous years' "contestants" and they were fairly innocuous. But last night's brief encounter with "The Bachelor" reconfirmed my general horror over the vast majority of reality television. The current "Bachelor" series should be retitled "The Bimbo Olympics," which is altogether more polite than "Whores on Parade." These women are all alike . . . except for a couple of brunettes tossed into the mix in a nod to "diversity." Otherwise they're largely vapid "starlets" who've had their teeth whitened and hair straightened for the show. They oooohhh and aaaahhhhh or laugh giddily when the "Bachelor" walks into the room. And they are convinced that there's a "connection" or sense of "I'm falling for him" ten minutes after they've met him. Please!

As for the "Bachelor" himself? From a socio-economic standpoint I guess he would be what's called a "catch." As a naval surgeon with potential for private practice after leaving the service, there's obvious income potential. But as soon as he opens his mouth, viewers discover that he's just as vacuous as the potential brides. He may be smart when it comes to medicine. But one hopes there's a little more depth than last night's scenario reveals. When he gushes that "women in fast cars" (a paraphrase) are soooooo sexy, you know that there's little hope for our civilization . . . or at least any offspring produced by this guy and any of these receptacles for his genetic material. The US Navy should be embarrassed . . . but the officers who greenlighted the "Bachelor's" participation are likely beaming like proud dads over their clean-cut, macho, party boy.

As the "Bachelor" hopped into a Ford Mustang for a trip around a driving course with each woman, I was reminded of the old Monty Python sketch, "The Upperclass Twit of the Year Competition." A group of twits (imbeciles) is given a set of seemingly easy but stupid tasks to complete. The winner is the one who manages to kill himself first.

No doubt I'm in a tiny minority of viewers who express revulsion when watching (as little as possible) this kind of television. But broadcasters don't care about those who share my demographic profile. In the end, it's "lowest common denominator" television for the masses, which is a shame given the educational potential of the medium. I'm reminded of JFK's chairman of the FCC, Newton Minow (pictured above), who addressed the National Association of Broadcasters in 1961, declaring that television programming offered a "vast wasteland" for viewers. Naturally he was criticized as being "elitist" and "snobbish." Personally, I'll proudly assume the mantle of "elitist" if network executives and producers accept the criticism of being "vacuous" and "irresponsible."

1 comment:

One Wink at a Time said...

Mr. Minow (a hero of mine as you could probably tell) had it all going on. I am soooo with you on this subject. It unnerves me, not only because a good part of society considers this crap entertainment but that they actually waste a good part of their lives sitting in front of this stuff and buying the crap they advertise at Walmart. And then (Lord help me) spend an hour around the watercooler at work the next day discussing it!!! Arrrggghhh!
Another Elitist ;-)