Friday, October 02, 2020

Is It Tomorrow Yet?

It’s September 1959 and the Disneyland Spacegirl and Spaceman are waving to the guests and the cameras. I wonder if these two unsuspecting cast members could have begun to imagine the state of affairs that “tomorrow” would find us? A country torn politically, divided by a virus, and finally filled with people so angry that it is almost scary to open your mouth for fear of what might occur.

The art of communication has been lost over the last few decades and replaced with a lot of talking (and typing) devoid of listening or any attempt to bridge potential gaps caused by race, culture, or any of the other differences between people that once actually made this a great nation. How did we get here?

Looking at my pop culture timeline, I believe it started in 1992 with MTV’s “The Real World: New York,” which was the first widely watched reality TV show. Groundbreaking at the time, it provided a look at what happened when you put seven strangers together in one amazingly hip apartment in New York and then turned the cameras on. Casting was key; you could tell even in the initial episode that this group was not put together haphazardly. They were picked to create conflict and memorable moments and of course…ratings.

What did America learn? If you want to get on TV (and future seasons of “The Real World”), you needed to have something colorful about yourself (scandalous), be loud/talk over others,  and relish conflict with those around you.

The next pivotal moment in the decline of this country was the infamous table flip in 2009 by Teresa Guidice in Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.” While the franchise had begun in 2006 with Orange County, it was the table flip that really propelled it into fame. Conflict resolution was best served with profanity and rage. America ate it up.

The annual reunion shows were like a very bad circus. Upon first glance, one might initially think these were a group of beautifully coiffed adult (!) women:

It didn’t take long for host (and executive producer) Andy Cohen to light the torch and turn the set into a brawl:

This is what America now accepts as not only entertainment, but a way of life. Without reality TV, our current President would never have been elected. Is there much difference between a “Real Housewives” reunion and a Presidential debate? Not from where I stand.

I wonder if Andy Cohen is laughing all the way to the bank or taking any responsibility for what his empire of reality TV has resulted in?

Next time you have a conversation or even a debate with someone, how about actually listening to what they're saying and keeping your trap closed until that person is done talking? You might be surprised how hard yet rewarding it is!

See more vintage Disneyland Spacegirl/Spaceman photos at my main website.


Fifthrider said...

All of these findings are correct. I don't know enough religion to get religious ( lucky you ) but I do recall that the Tower of Babel had something to do with dividing people into various cultures and language, with the test being "Can they overcome themselves and bring it back together?" Every time humanity gets close, someone stirs things up and tosses in a match. It's like success is being sabotaged. I miss my childhood. We had minor global conflict, but world peace wasn't out of the question at that time. Now I'd like to cross the street without getting intentionally murdered, please.

It was refreshing to spend my Tuesday night at a bungalow at the Hotel Del talking to a friend from out of town. His family was with him. We're on opposite sides, politically, but relished that we can disagree and not kill each other while something else raged on TV. Humanity can overcome this, we just need less fuel on the fire.

Also more muppets. Can't go wrong with muppets.

Darryl said...

...and thats why I dont watch that garbage.

Max said...

ooohohoho get him

Anonymous said...

1) I don't watch any of those shows and I never have. I go out of my way to avoid them. They are train wrecks that hold no interest at all. Why people want to watch other people acting abominably is beyond me.

2) As far as listening to others goes, I just want to repeat what Harlan Ellison said -- that everyone is entitled to an INFORMED opinion and not the first dumb thing that pops into their heads.

You want to have an actual exchange of ideas, fine. But tell me that the world is flat, or that vaccines cause autism, or that Donald Trump is a great president, and my brain looks for something else to do. I have no tolerance for that nonsense and I don't have to respect it or listen to it.