February 13, 2003


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I accidently read the analysis of reality TV last issue because I thought it was my own article (online of course) and it let my inquisitiveness bloom. What about TV is so innately degrading that we should ridicule it in campus entertainment sections? Although when I initially asked it, I thought it was rhetorical, I decided you don’t make rants out of rhetorical questions and thus developed the short answer, which goes something like this: because it’s made by and for idiots to idiotically sell idiots idiotic products in the guise of idiotic entertainment.

Nevertheless, I don’t understand the global condemnation of reality-based TV. How does reality-based news, something that’s existed for so many centuries I couldn’t possibly find a statistic even if I tried, go unscathed among the witch-burners and heretics of fiction-based TV lovers? I mean, imagine the producers that came up with this whole “United Nations” idea. “We could put Iraq and Libya in a room with the United States and Germany and then all the countries will vote them off international trade routes if they don’t pass the tribal trials.” Hell, I’d watch that if we could cease the reality-based evidence and get to the reality-based bombings. Either way, the New York Times and its followers have been making this reality-based news for so long, it’s covertly infiltrated my reality-based reality. I intend to call them on this. (Not literally, of course. They’re The New York Times. They don’t communicate with phones. They communicate with their telepathic higher levels of cognizance.)

The first objection, of course, is that reality-based news is entirely mendacious. Like they really expect me to believe that the federal government and celebrities would be acting the same way if all those cameras weren’t there. Next, I’m no sociologist, but my hypothesis is that watching all these new “Desert Storm Redux” and “Columbia” shows are no way to create family-oriented news. Finally, reality-based news produces all these irritating and gossipy cliques of viewers who sit around in their jackets with patched elbows, carrying around their Howard Zinn books, and anxiously awaiting which terrorism alert color will be selected this week so they can proceed to think of funny jokes in their political ‘zines. (“And the winner is … Code Florida!!!”)

Don’t get me wrong. I love reality-based news. I just don’t enjoy the hypocrisy of the detractors of reality-based TV, but catch every issue of the Times. This newspaper could take some tips from the Times. For example, look at this recent sentence on CNN anchor Aaron Brown: “Mr. Brown … was on vacation Saturday in Palm Springs, Calif., playing in the Bob Hope Celebrity Golf Tournament.” Mr. Brown!? Awesome! All of the sudden, that dorky newsguy became that dude from Reservoir Dogs. I know what you’re thinking to yourself, “I like my Chrstian name. Why are they trying to efface my identity?” Please, first names only served as fulsome reminders of how much extra space you take up. I have seen the future and it is mostly last names, Segways, and apartment complexes. For example, is this a sentence from an article on the UN or from Sense and Sensibility: “But there is little doubt…that Mr. Rumsfeld is playing a significant role in pushing the proposal forward.” This is the sort of reality news even the most elite intellectual has to embrace. The Daily Sun could take some lessons and abandon their patented ambiguity-based stories for some reality.

Archived article by Alex Linhardt