Friday, March 19, 2004

Comments on two of my most indulgent Reality TV shows and the contradiction of conservatives:

The Apprentice - The savior of NBC, Donald Trump, comes off as the arrogant, unethical prick we always knew he was. And this is exactly the reason I watch a group of young attractive business grads fawn over him each week. This show provides a glimpse into the mind of our corporate leaders that many of us only hear about from bitching friends and relatives. The ends invariable justify the means. In the world of selling this means women flaunting their sexuality to make more money, men deceiving little childen and their parents, who shell out money for an autograph of a black man (this was supremely disturbing) or both sexes forming alliances to rid themselves of those they don't want to live in a house with... those less attractive, overweight, opinionated or of another ethnicity. A frightening glimpse into how the world of power and money really works.

America's Top Model - Another show worthy for its insights into a world that few of us will come cose to, but are intrinsicly interested in: top fashion models. On episode 1 we find out that not willing to show your entire naked body to strangers and the entire world is enough to send you packing. In others we see the myriad of ways that superficiality trumps talent (none of the remaining models can even walk a runway without drawing laughter.) The next episode was supposed to feature scenes from "eight-in-a-bed romp" between the sex-starved girls and hand-picked Italian suitors, but UPN bosses (a sister network of MTV and CBS) has decided that they can not risk another Janet Jackson episode (see fox article). And what exactly were the producers trying to see happen with their intorduction of these men into the story line? Oh, the conflicts between needing to fatten the ratings and yet stay out of the conservatives spotlight.

This reminds me of back-to-back segments I saw on O'Reilly Factor on Wednesday. First was the Superintendent of Levvitown, NYs school system (the first truly American tract suburb - and O'Reilly's proud hometown), there to discuss "social promotions." After he made a particularly insightful comment about society's responsibility for child poverty and poor educational outcomes (blaming ubridled Capitalism), O-Reilly had nowhere to go but call the Super a Socialist and informing him that "this isn't Cuba." I wish the Super would have stood up for his beliefs, instead he chastised O'Reilly for calling him names.

The priceless irony came after the commercial, when a Forbes magazine editor was on to defend Reebok's hiring of 50 Cent for their new ad campaign. Of course O'Reilly has a twig up his ass for all rappers (Ludacris and Eminem are some of his most publicized enemies). Forbes guy spoke about how the 50 Cent tactic is working worders - turning around Reebok's image making them loads of $$ - and that this is fair game under Capitalism. Now forced on the defensive about the logic of Capitalism, the show vividly displayed the contradiction inherent in the Conservative position: it is impossible to be for family values and unbridled Capitalism at the same time.


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