I started watching Scandal this summer with Brandon, and since Scandal is basically the crack of the TV world, I’m hooked. I’m already on Season 3 and I am fully planning on catching up, partly so I can enjoy the … Continue reading
Most normal Americans yell at the television when they watch men running across a field with a ball. I yell at the television when I watch couples walking through a house with a wish list a mile long. When I … Continue reading
I don’t do drama. I don’t like arguments and gossip, and I’ve never been one for the “he said, she said” sort of business. I’m not confrontational, and I shy away from any conflict at all.
Yet there is nothing I love more than sitting down and watching a good episode of “trash TV.” The more drama, the better. I get into Real Housewives of New Jersey, and I sit there and “oh no, she didn’t” at shows like Shahs of Sunset (like I am as I’m writing this. How could you, Reza?).
I read a blog post recently about the game Cards Against Humanity. Many people are upset by the game’s advertised offensiveness, and worried that it’s a sign of moral devolution. The author, however, argues that playing Cards Against Humanity is akin to a moral “safety valve” of sorts. It creates a safe space for self-aware immoral behavior.
In the same way, I think this is why I and others like watching trash television and absurd reality shows. It allows me to escape my real life and vicariously be someone I’m not, someone who cares about who talked behind whose back and whose boyfriend is actually dating her best friend and who got in a bar fight over so-and-so’s cocktail dress. Watching silly television shows like Shahs of Sunset allows me to temporarily forget my practical reasoning and get wrapped up in the drama, if only just for a half an hour. I laugh, sass, and sympathize with these outrageous characters as they live their ridiculously overdramatic lives.
Like Cards Against Humanity allows people to exercise their impulses to be offensive and immoral in a self-aware way, watching silly trash TV lets me be dramatic and petty in a self-aware space. I know that in real life I wouldn’t side with any of the people in these shows. I’m not actually “like, so offended” that she said that to him or that they broke up. I know that the feelings and opinions I have when I’m watching these shows are not anything I’d carry past the end of the episode.
For those of you who have your a secret (or not-so-secret) place in your heart for trashy reality TV, I think it’s a good thing. I think that allowing ourselves to enjoy our weekly hour or two of trash television helps us to be more calm, cool, and collected the rest of the time. If you’re a Polar Vortex 2.0 victim out East, enjoy your snow day. And watch some trash TV. It just might be good for your brain.
There’s an issue that’s recently divided our nation. It’s on Facebook, Twitter, the news. It has been the subject of heated debate nationwide. I’m not talking about gay marriage, abortion, or immigration, although some of those might be related. I’m talking about a couple bearded men who love ducks…and Jesus.
I usually shy away from anything controversial, but in the wake of the recent controversy surrounding Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty, I feel compelled to comment.
For those of you that haven’t followed the story, the initial controversy was regarding statements Robertson made to GQ magazine. He made several inflammatory comments. One comment made likened homosexuality to bestiality. In another, Robertson claimed that not only did he understand the plight of African-American slaves in the South, they were happy under slavery. Gay rights groups were infuriated by the homosexuality comment, and A&E briefly suspended filming of Duck Dynasty, before reinstating it a couple weeks later. More recently, Robertson has again been brought to the spotlight, as a 2009 video of him speaking about marriage to a group of young men has surfaced. In the video, Robertson advises men to marry women that are young, like “15 or 16,” because women who are older are a greater drain on one’s finances. This has again stirred the pot of the DD debate.
I have a couple thoughts about the whole incident. First, A&E is a business, and as such, they can make decisions on what to air in the same way that employers choose who to hire or fire. So, by A&E initially suspending filming, they were not in in any way violating first amendment rights. They were simply choosing to make a business decision. I find it sad that A&E chose to put profits before defending its company values (by reinstating filming shortly after suspending it), but regardless, A&E gets to make that decision.
Second, I’m personally upset by the claims that the men of DD are “bringing Christ back to America.” It may be just my perspective on it, but the Bible states that all of the glory should go to Him, not oneself. I feel like Robertson’s attempts to make a spectacle of the situation don’t really fall under that edict. I suppose it’s up for interpretation where the line should be drawn between sharing your beliefs and using Christ to promote yourself, but I don’t know that getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to raise TV ratings through making such inflammatory statements counts as giving glory to God instead of oneself.
I also feel that many of the things he and other cast members have said aren’t biblically based. Statements such as that African-Americans in the South were happy under slavery and that things were “godly” during the pre-civil rights era or that men should marry young women who are 15 or 16 so they cost less and can do more of the man’s dirty work don’t seem Christ-inspired to me. They seem uninformed and offensive.
I’m all for freedom of speech, but I think we should question how much attention we’ve paid to Robertson and the other DD stars. Phil Robertson has been quoted as saying, “If I can’t speak my mind, this isn’t America.” Well, Phil, you can certainly speak your mind, we just don’t have to give you airtime to do it.