Jaw-Dropping, Mind-Numbing Stupidity, a.k.a. MTV
Having lived in a cable-TV-free home for most of my life to this point, I am still surprised at the depths to which popular culture can sink. I'm also fairly surprised to have that revelation in a setting like Midd. You would think that, bright, intellectual students that we are (that was only partially sarcastic), we would want to watch something that might engage our big brains just a tiny bit. Far from it. At the gym today, I caught the end of My Super Sweet 16 and the beginning of Next, both of which left my jaw literally hanging open at the sheer tastelessness of it all. The former was nothing of a revelation, really - seems like a lot of reality shows are about pointless extravangance, cattiness, and girls acting too old for their age. The latter, though, seemed like something that ought to be a SNL parody of a dating show. The whole thing was so badly conceived and executed that I'm amazed they manage to get funding. The premise of the show is that one person has a lineup of dates to choose from, and at any point on the date can reject them for the next in line - the dates receive money for each minute they stay in the running. As a concept it could be a lot worse, but the sick, juvenile, spiteful "humor" was so contrived and over-the-top as to be utterly, unbelievably unfunny. Here's what I remember of one exchange among the prospective dates, some of whom had already been rejected: "What's that on your face?" "She put kabuki on me." "She did a dookie on your face?" "You look like dookie!" - all punctuated by raucous laughter. Painful to read, isn't it? That's the sort of joke third grade boys might find funny. I cannot fathom any girl ever dating one of those guys. And this is the sort of cultural message one of the nations more popular entertainment networks is broadcasting. Drugs are illegal because they make you stupid. Shouldn't shows like this be illegal on the same premise?