January 29, 2014 - Every once in a while I like to go back and read old columns, see if any loose ends need to be tied, corrections or updates need to be made. Usually I don't like reading the old stuff, because -- well a lot of it sucks. Writing is an art that takes time. Style and form only comes from doing it over and over and when I read the old stuff I often cringe and want to re-write it.
Another reason to look back at ye old archives (my personal favorite) is to gloat when something I may have prophesied comes to pass.
(Insert evil laughter here) Muhahahaaa!
In 2003, I raised the red flag of caution (or maybe it was a yellow personal foul, penalty flag) about where television programming was headed. The headline I chose for that column (because at small, community newspapers we don't hire headline writers, so story writers get to write their own headlines, too) was:
Attack of the 'reality' TV
First, I cannot believe we have been subjected to reality TV for over a decade. Eleven smackin' frackin' years of crapola.
Second, well. I told you so.
* * *
Wrote I then . . .
. . . Honey, grab the shot gun, the kids, the dogs and let's head for the hills. It'll be safe there. They won't be able find us. We'll be safe -- I hope. Oh, and I better unplug the TV."
. . . ."Be careful."
. . . "I will. I promise. But if I don't make it out of the living room in five minutes leave without me and tell the kids, I love 'em."
* * *
Just think what the world would have been like had we not been lead down the reality TV programming yellow bricked road. Maybe the Kardashian siblings would have turned out to be nice girls whom other young women could model their behavior after.
Maybe we would not have been subjected to seeing Bruce Jenner's reconstructed face. Seriously, he should have grown old gracefully.
Maybe, just maybe, the latest and greatest facial hair trend would have stayed in the swamps of the south. (I don't know about you, but just looking Duck Dynasty facial hair makes me itch.)
* * *
Back to the 2003 Don't Rush Me column. . .
. . . It's as if we're living in some 1950's science fiction thriller. "Attack Of The Reality TV!" And, there is no escape. None. We are all doomed.
. . . Doomed to an ever-increasing dose of "reality" thanks to our big brothers and sisters in TV-land. Everywhere I go, I hear otherwise sane and intelligent people talk about the previous night's reality television show. (All-right, I eavesdrop. Hey, I am a reporter type, I'm supposed to listen to other people's conversations without their prior consent and/or knowledge. It's okay, I am a professional.)
. . . What started out as something small and innocuous as, "Survivor" has turned into a multi-tentacled monster. On the World Wide Web, I found a list of reality TV shows in the United States. Guess how many shows were listed for the good ol' US of A. Get ready: over 150 reality TV shows have been watched in these here parts.
. . . And, none of them have to do with "reality" as I see it. If there were, there would be shows where dads go on great adventures with their boys. Adventures like the time Shamus and I went treasure hunting for a penny -- in a bowl of "Number Two" he produced, which could have been titled, "Adventures in Poo" (if Disney would give us permission to use their orange bear's name). Nothing called, "Out of Touch," about reaching for a roll of toilet paper only to find none and knowing the only place to find said necessary roll is in a closet that is out of the room down at the other end of the hall, 25 feet away.
. . . There were no shows called "Keeping Up With The Jones," where every family in a neighborhood tries to outdo others in yard manicuring or decorating. Nothing about the race down to the post office on April 15, to make sure your taxes are turned in on time. Nothing called "A Slave to Big Brother," involving January's through May's paychecks going to pay taxes.
. . . Nothing about reality. The object was a daring bit of television history, who could pull an airplane the furthest the fastest.
. . . Riveting. Sensational. Exploitative . . .
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I said it then, in 2003 and I will say it again, "Nobody is safe. We're all doomed. Science fiction, bah! Reality ."
Your thoughts? E-mail SwameeDon before he reads your mind. Don@ShermanPublications.org.
Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: email@example.com