Reality TV and it’s affect on society

During the last two years my friend got me interested in watching Survivor, a reality based TV show. I must say the concept of the show is intriguing.  Take a group of people, place them on a beautiful deserted island, make some rules to promote the systematic removal of their fellow islanders, provide a large cash reward for the last survivor and let the games begin.  In the season opener, the host of the program called it a grand experiment in human behavior. I believe he is correct. After watching this program for nearly two years, I have many mixed feelings about it which I will try to express in the following piece.

My biggest concern: is this type of programming healthy for society? Without getting into the gruesome details, lying, deceit, promoting one’s self, winning regardless of the pain inflicted on your fellow-man are just some of the tools needed to survive.  This seems rather divergent from the idea of living in peace.  I spend much time pondering why our society is so violent and the one theme that keeps coming back to me is TV or media in general.  The old obvious things like murder and sexual encounters are almost pass in today’s world so now we have a more insidious and divisive stab at the human brain, the teaching of a philosophy of gaining power at the expense of your fellow-man!  This is the backbone of capitalism; exploit and capitalize on other people who are lured in by the promise of monetary rewards! Survivor has been on the air for nearly 36 seasons and has generational followers.  Although the show remains virtually the same throughout that time, the producers have learned to tweak the format to bring out the worst in human behavior.  You start out with normal everyday folks and turn them into carnivorous creatures ready to devour their competition.  I guess the theme here is that the evil tendencies lurk in all our souls.

 

The second reality show I want to mention is The Bachelor, which picks one eligible man who is swamped with a group of generally beautiful women and through a maze of dates and other activities he might become engaged to one woman in the end.  There is a methodology of removing women as the show goes on as he narrows his field of choices. Now you need to think about this carefully, all these women come onto this show to find a man, that’s why they are there!  The show tries to bring out the personalities of the women to allow the man to choose a companion who more closely meets his criteria. I am sure that many of the things that might be said in a normal relationship development are held tightly inside for several reasons; you are on national TV, all you friends and family are watching, you will be eliminated early or some of them might be interpreted as foolish or embarrassing!

In this season’s show the man reduced his choices to two very beautiful and seemly wonderful ladies.  He expressed over and over that he had fallen in love with both women.  In light of the fact that both women were showing their very best side all the time to help ensure that they be selected, this seemed to me like a train headed for a bridge-less gorge with no brakes.  I do feel that he believed he was in love with both women even though they had spent zero time together in a real life situation.  The emotional stress that all these people were under was immense and was tearing at the very fiber of their personalities.  My friend repeatedly told me that it was just a TV show but I responded that it was a reality show with real people dealing with real situations and I felt empathy for the people involved.  Finally he chose one of the women, and the scene where he said goodbye to the woman he did not select was as heart wrenching as anything I have seen on TV!  It was obvious that he still held deep feelings for this woman he was leaving behind.

Flash forward to when he is spending more time with the lady he selected in a more reality based situation.  Life is not always exciting, not like a TV show where everything is tightly controlled.  No more exotic dates to far off lands, just a trip to a local restaurant or a movie, maybe a romantic evening alone watching a movie, making pizza or playing a game.  Gradually the image of the other lady begins to creep back into his brain.  In his mind all he can remember is the fantastic times they had together.  There were no evenings making a meal, cleaning the dishes or hanging out in the living room watching a movie.  Every moment with her was fantastic and now he is becoming bored with this REAL-LIFE experience.  Maybe he made the wrong choice…buyer’s remorse.

So now he has to tell his first choice that he made a mistake and he wants to see the second place woman.  Needless to say, she was not too happy about this.  He was deeply upset and unable to fully understand his actions.  He spent far too much time trying to get lady number one to understand what he was about to do, but he tried and tried until she told him to leave.

No doubt falling in love is a deeply emotional journey but it also requires sacrifice and work, not just fantastic dates and events.  My concern is with people who watch these reality shows and somehow confuse these renditions of life with realities of life.  Couple this with manipulation of human emotions for entertainment purposes and you are laying the tracks to failure.  Lastly I worry about a society that adopts this capitalist approach to the interactions between a man and a woman.  One of the ideas thrown out when people discuss the demise of our society is the fragmentation of marriage followed by the family.  How would the concept of family have any chance of surviving with the ideology that these shows promote?  Promoters of these shows claim they are just entertainment and not to read too much into them, but I say they are mirrors of society that reflect back to us in their own small ways the direction that our society is going.  I will give you one historical example of this, Roseanne Barr’s show  which depicted a family in constant chaos, uneducated, undisciplined and struggling to survive in an evolving technological society.  The first time I watched this show I saw it as a window into the future of the American family.  Even then I was seeing the tug-a-war between the family and a changing society.

So back to the bachelor.  In the final episode of the show we see the man asking the second lady if she will take him back, forgive him, give him another chance to win her love and devotion.  To my disbelief she took him back!  My money is that he will soon grow tired of his second choice.  When I learned that he was a racecar driver, it all came clear to me, he is an adrenalin junky. He lives on the edge, that place where all your senses are stimulated to the max. This is exactly where the show keeps their contestants, on the edge with all senses stimulated.   Marriage is an endeavor requiring communication and lots of real work.  Being married is a commitment to use all your abilities to understand and improve your spouse’s life and hopefully they feel the same way, otherwise the relationship is doomed to fail.

 

 

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Forced pooling changes its name to Co-tenancy modernization and Protection Act.

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This article was posted 2 years ago and here we go again,

Contrary to what many believe, Forced Pooling is not a requirement that everyone in the neighborhood install a pool.  All kidding aside, Forced Pooling is a very serious issue!  Here in West Virginia our legislature is currently deciding if we, if West Virginia want to allow Forced Pooling to be passed into law.  So what is forced pooling?

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If an oil/gas company wants to drill on or near your land, they may be able to force you to allow them to drill if they get a certain percentage of your neighbors agreeing to drill!  With the inevitable passing of this bill, because of the incredibly large amount of money being thrown at our legislators, a land owner will no longer have the right to decide what is done with the mineral rights on one’s property!   Yes, they could put up a drilling rig near your home!  So much for NIMBY legislators  (Not in my back yard) who are comfortable with drilling in other places that do not effect their own environment.

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Maybe this last election was more about oil/gas companies getting the right folks elected so that they could get forced Pooling Passed than it was about all the other stupid stuff that we were fed by the media. I think it is more than interesting that so near the election we are already talking about Forced Pooling.  The new guys have not even tried out their assembly chairs before forced pooling has become a major discussion point.

Anyone who is a student of human behavior knows that land owner’s rights are taken away little by little.  The best analogy to explain this is the slowly cooked frog.  If one places a frog in a pot of cool water, it will likely sit blisfully there for a long time.  Upon increasing the heat gradually way, the frog will slowly cook, never trying to escape before it heads to that great pond in the sky.  If that frog is placed in hot water, it will immediately jump out to live to eat another insect.  We humans are very similar to our frog.  If they take away our rights very slowly, some of us, will complain, but little will be done to rectify the situation.  When a disastrous situation arises suddenly, we jump into action to save the day.

If you are concerned about your rights to decide what you want to do or not do with your land and personal property, you better be contacting your legislature to express your feelings regarding Forced Pooling. Do not be like the frog who enjoys the heat and get slowly cooked.

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Jesus, Mother Teresa and Socrates need guns!

I have been contemplating the latest event that occurred in Florida.  I have already written on article  “From a distance the earth looks peaceful and clean.”  but I woke up this morning with an idea that I wanted to develop for you, my loyal readers!  I also had some help from my daughter.

Bless me Father, I gonna sin.

Maybe we are looking at this gun issue from the wrong direction.  Another friend of mine is a Catholic priest and he expressed to me his fear of being shot during confessions or while performing a service.  I listened to him express his concern at being a potential target in a house of the lord!  He was obviously very bothered.  The answer to this is simple, ARM THE MINISTRY!  Think about this, the minister in most churches has the tactical advantage.  Most ministers are in the front, up above the congregation and have a place to hide a gun in the podium which could be hardened to protect the shooter.  Properly trained they could take out any individual in the group.  I am pretty sure the NRA will support this idea.  Think of the marketing, the guns could be decorated with religious pictures or maybe even redesigned to look more like a cross.  There could even be T-shirts and bobble head dolls of the ministers carrying a rifle.  The possibilities are endless!

 

Don’t worry, I can take it out for a fee.
Don’t make me say it again, pee in the bottle!

As I was writing the first paragraph, other possibilities became obvious.  Often times hospitals are emotional hotbeds due to the tragic injuries and even deaths.  By now I am sure you have figured out where I am going with this.  ARM THE DOCTORS AND NURSES!  Why should they be easy targets?  Think of the increase in gun sales.  Most nurses are so over worked and stressed out they may invite the idea of carrying a gun.  Obviously the marketing potential is enormous.

 

I am on a roll here,  It scares the hell out of me that Sister Mary Lou from the third grade would be packing under her habit!  No more ruler on the knuckles or being knocked out of my chair!  Chuckie, if you don’t get to work.  you are going to force me to take serious action!  No sister, no, I will behave.  Problem solved.

You have one last chance Chuckie!

Of course politicians will need to be armed since they are the ones leading this movement.  They could also be brand conscious and endorse their favorite brand.  Think of the revenue our politicians could realize, maybe we could pay them less, or not at all, if they make enough money from endorsements.  This capitalism at its best, a market based political system! (just between me and you I think they already are)

Now think of this, if we are going to expect teachers to perform like policeman, maybe we should expand their training.  We should make teachers become triage trained so that if there is a shooting, they will be ready and trained to handle the carnage that takes place during the shooting. Hell, why not require them to get a medical degree while we are at it. Of course all these individuals will need indebted training in gun usage.  I am sure we could make the cost of this training tax-deductible.

Do I need to repeat the lesson on ballistics?

Now, there is one group that we have failed to discuss; our senior citizens.  All huddled in a non-secure building with underpaid and unarmed staffers looking after them, it’s a disaster waiting to happen and there is only one way to fix this; we need to arm our seniors!  Who cares if their hearing is a little impaired or their vision is not quit what it used to be, they need to protect themselves!  For those seniors who are mentally challenged, we can give them guns with blanks which will help them feel like part of the community.  No one left behind; where did I hear that anyway?

Now you got to ask yourself, did I shoot 7 or 8. I sure as hell don’t remember.

While we are on this topic, I have one final idea.  I would like to find some investors who would financially support me in my new venture, bullet proof clothing, why not?  If we dress our kids in bullet proof clothes, they will probably survive a shooting, provided they are wearing their helmet and they did not buy their new clothes at a discount store.  Of course the bullet proof clothes will be available to the shooter as well.  This is an easy problem to solve.  We must give our teachers, seniors, medical professionals and of course politicians armor-piercing bullets so they have the advantage over the attacker.  Sometimes these problems force us to think outside the box or did I mean jail cell..

Just for those of you who think I have finally found my way in the gun debate…I am being sarcastic!