So I came across this in the New York Times and it further illustrated why our reality TV culture is destined to fulfill Suzanne Collins’ nightmarish vision of the future in “The Hunger Games.” Sure, “The Hunger Games” has a broad appeal, with its rather contrived love story and a strong heroine (still not common enough in pop culture these days), but the actual Hunger Games–the tournament where girls and boys fight to the death–is a mirror for our own obsession with reality television and the dangerous path shows like “Does Someone Have to Go?” lead us.
Here’s an excerpt from the Times article:
This is reality television’s “Lord of the Flies” or “The Hunger Games” or “The Running Man.” On next week’s episode, people will be shown pleading for their jobs — their jobs. The preview clips alone are heart-rending and barely ethical. It is impossible not to be invested in the outcome, and not to feel that the people whose livelihoods are on the line are pawns not just of their bosses but also of the show’s producers and the network, all of whom face far less severe stakes.
The Times story says it all and I don’t need to repeat what’s been said, but if we’re ever to truly grow as a society, we should probably reject reality TV like “Does Someone Have To Go?,” a show where the viewer literally watches employees duke it out to keep their jobs and beg and plead with bosses to keep their job. All captured in glorious high definition for the America to enjoy while stuffing themselves with the latest and greatest summer time offering from Ben & Jerry’s.
If this is how low a network like FOX must go to find ratings and something that passes as “entertainment,” then count me out.
Television is a medium where the audience likes to find entertainment. Some of it is on the brainier side of things and some (well, most) is just junk food for your brain. Something that you can enjoy without the worries of the world crushing you. However, in a country where the jobs crisis is still very real, watching people beg and plead to keep their job is morbid, a bit sickening, and makes you wonder if this country will ever truly recover from the Great Recession or have we all just become cultural sadists, who find pleasure in watching others suffer on television.
With that rant out of the way, I wanted to take the time to say, yes this is the first post in nearly 3 years and I’m hoping to get this blog reactivated. I’m headed to graduate school at the University of Florida this fall and am hoping to once again, rant and rave about all things political (and otherwise). See you in cyberspace.