"A word in earnest is as good as a speech"
~Charles Dickens: Bleak House

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Reality Television ..... I just don't get it!

This morning on the news I heard a story about a "Teen Mom" star who had attempted suicide. That was a sad story, no one should have to go through that, even if it is just a cry for attention.

What really upset me (aside from the fact that this is considered a news story at all) was that at the end of the segment they mentioned that the stars of this show make 6 figures a year. I was stunned! That is more money than most people I know make in a year working really hard. What is society getting from paying reality stars this much money to bring down society?

I only know about most of the reality shows from watching commercials for them, the occasional news story online that catches my attention, or the front pages of tabloids while I am waiting in line at the grocery store. I did watch "Jersey Shore" for about 15 minutes once because my students told me I could not judge reality television unless I watched it .... that is 15 minutes of my life I will never get back.

What I do not understand is when it became acceptable for the worst of society, vulgar, uneducated, violent, trashy, to become role models for our youth. Young people don't just watch Jersey Shore because they think it is funny, they watch it and then emulate it. I suppose it started with "Jerry Springer" the more outrageous the better. Jerry came to my school when I was an undergrad and gave a presentation on speech ethics (you can laugh, I did). But he did say that his show had no socially redeeming value and if that people watched his show and wanted to be like his guests he felt bad for them. If only he knew that his show would be the precursor to people being famous just for being famous I wonder if he would have continued? Probably, he made a lot of money.

And that is really what it all comes down to isn't it .... the dollar. If the teen moms are making 6 figures a year, someone else is making so much more. With no consideration or care about what it is doing to society as a whole. The only way that we can stop this insanity is to stop watching the shows, but people won't. It is like watching animals at the zoo, we know it is cruel to take them out of their home and put them in a cage, but we really like to see them so we continue to visit the zoo.

I hope this young girl gets out of the hospital and gets well. I hope she looks at her life and realizes that despite the bank account she has messed up. I hope that she gets her daughter back, for gos fame and becomes a mom. And I hope eventually that we realize we should not be giving reality stars like Snookie book deals, but we should be encouraging our daughters to read about real female role models.

Society makes me sad sometimes .... it is just crazy!
Teen Mom Suicide Attempt


  1. sad that outrageous behaviour creates celebrity and earns obscene remuneration... and where is the 'reality' - i've always thought that a strange term for unreal but encouraged outrageous group behaviour...

    have to say i'm enjoying reading your observations...

  2. Thank you very much. This is a lot more fun than I had anticipated. I enjoy yours as well.

  3. I completely agree with you! I enjoyed your post.......reminded me of Andy Rooney.

  4. Thank you Anonymous! I loved watching Andy Rooney every Sunday with my Dad. Some of my best memories sitting on the couch pretending I knew what he was talking about. I would laugh when my dad laughed and scowl when he scowled. Thanks for the memory!

  5. What worries me about reality TV is that if this really is 'reality' for many people then society really does have problems!