Monthly Archives: November 2016

Reality shows – from Wrestling to Springer to …….

Chapter 31
Reality shows – from Wrestling to Springer to …….
Reality shows are a relatively recent phenomenon in terms of popularity. I admit that early on I was a devotee of American Chopper, but thankfully I grew tired of it and moved on. My current guilty pleasure is Wicked Tuna. I love the fishing action but am growing tired of the scripted conflict among the captains. The thing I loved about “Chopper” was the really cool theme bikes and the incredible workmanship. I quit watching because of the scripted squabbles between Senior & Junior.
Following is a list of the shows that have made the airways from American Chopper forward (there were several prior to Chopper): source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_reality_television_programs
• American Chopper (2003) Fraternity Life (2003) Jamie’s Kitchen (2003) The Restaurant (2003)
• Starting Over (2003) American Casino (2004) American Hot Rod (2004) Amish in the City (2004)
• Bands Reunited (2004) The Casino (2004) College Hill (2004) Family Plots (2004)
• (US; A&E Network) Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County (2004) Rachael Rocks (2004)
• Dog Whisperer (2004) Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares (2004) Deadliest Catch (2005)
• Miami Ink (2005) LA Ink (2007) Stranded with Cash Peters (2005) Who’s Your Daddy? (2005) 8th & Ocean (2006) Bonds on Bonds (2006) (ESPN) King of Cars (2006)
• The Real Housewives of Orange County (2006) The Real Housewives of Atlanta (2008)
• The Real Housewives of New York (2008) The Real Housewives of New Jersey (2009)
• Jerseylicious (2010) The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (2010) The Real Housewives of Miami (2011)
• The Real Housewives of Vancouver (2012) The Real Housewives of Melbourne (2014)
• Bullrun (2007) Deadline (2007) Ice Road Truckers (2007) Jon & Kate Plus 8 (2007)
• Kitchen Nightmares (2007) Chef School (2008) Ax Men (2008) Jockeys (2009) (US; Animal Planet)
• BBQ Pitmasters (2009) The Colony (2009) (US; Discovery) Jersey Shore (2009) Pawn Stars (2009)(US)
• Full Throttle Saloon (2009) (US; TruTv) Teen Mom (2009) Toddlers & Tiaras (2009)
• American Pickers (2010) (North America) Freshwater Blue (2010) The Generations Project (2010)
• Throttle Junkies TV (2010) Half Pint Brawlers (2010) Oddities (2010) Sister Wives (2010)
• American Restoration (2010)(US) Auction Hunters (2010)(North America) Geordie Shore (2010)(UK)
• Hardcore Pawn (2010)(US) The Only Way Is Essex (2010) (UK) Made in Chelsea (2010)(UK)
• The Real L-Word: Los Angeles (2010) Love & Hip-Hop (2010) (US) Braxton Family Values (2011)
• Bear Whisperer (2011) Dance Moms (2011) Duck Dynasty (2012) Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (2012)
• Saw Dogs (2012) Turbine Cowboys (2012) The Dirty South (2013) Fame In The Family (2013)
The other side of the coin is that reality shows are popular “because” of the scripted conflict. Like professional wrestling, there are many fans that actually believe it is “real”. It is entertainment, pure and simple. I invite you to step back from this whole area of entertainment and view it strictly as a witness. Now, what does it say about the evolution of our civilization? Conflict sells!
Some of these shows have been experimenting with violence. Springer introduced this element into his show years ago, but it has recently is caught fire. If this trend continues where does it lead? My mind wanders back to the highly civilized Romans and their penchant for bloodlust events at the coliseum. Hopefully we wake up soon and quash this disturbing trend.

News or Agenda – CNN, Fox, Aljazeera America

Chapter 30

News or Agenda – CNN, Fox, Aljazeera America

I have basically stopped watching news of any kind. What I have witnessed are political agendas and unnecessary “spin”. I really don’t need someone telling me what or how I should feel about an occurrence. I am more interested in news worthy reporting, but so much of what I see has to do with sensationalism or a political viewpoint.

I recall the words from Don Henley’s Dirty Laundry:

“I make my living off the Evening News Just give me somethin’, somethin’ I can use People love it when you lose, they love dirty laundry

Well, I could’ve been an actor but I wound up here I just have to look good, I don’t have to be clear

We got the bubble headed bleach blonde who comes on at five She can tell you ’bout the plane crash with a gleam in her eye It’s interesting when people die, give us dirty laundry

Can we film the operation? Is the head dead yet? You know the boys in the newsroom got a running bet Get the widow on the set! We need dirty laundry

You don’t really need to find out what’s goin’ on You don’t really want to know just how far it’s gone Just leave well enough alone, eat your dirty laundry

Dirty little secrets, dirty little lies We got our dirty little fingers in everybody’s pie We love to cut you down to size, we love dirty laundry

We can do “The Innuendo,” we can dance and sing When it’s said and done we haven’t told you a thing We all know that crap is king, give us dirty laundry”

These Lyrics provided an unflattering commentary on the “news”. Unfortunately it has continued to devolve even further. Of course we, the viewers, are to blame. We have fallen into the trap because the entertainment industry recognizes that we enjoy taking sides and reinforcing our beliefs. Fox on the right and CNN to the left of center. In order to garner viewers the other major networks have joined in. It may sound strange, but if you are really interested in fairly accurate and unbiased news reporting I suggest that you check out Al Jazeera. Their name reeks of the middle East and Muslim, but I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Unfortunately this station has announced that it will discontinue broadcasting in the Spring of 2016.

A couple of other interesting comments:

CNN is owned by Turner Communications. I doubt anyone could accuse Ted Turner of having a left of center agenda.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox_Entertainment_Group                                                       Fox is owned by: ” Fox Entertainment Group, Inc is an American entertainment industry company that operates through four segments, mainly filmed entertainment, television stations, television broadcast networks, and cable network programming. The company is wholly owned and controlled by the American media conglomerate 21st Century Fox, which is chaired and part owned by the Australian-American Rupert Murdoch”.

Rupert has an agenda and it effectively competes with Attila for a position way to the right. On the other hand, Fox is the network that hosts the Simpsons, the longest active running TV animated series. This sitcom paved the way for animation that hit many of the current controversial issues head on. In fact, the intention was to show just how ridiculous many of the opinions were on these issues. In my opinion, the show was equally effective in bashing opinions both left and right of center….in a sense balanced reporting. This show has maintained a well-deserved media position for the past 26 years (as of 2015). They remained on the leading edge of political (and other) satire until South Park took it to the next level.

 

Guns, guns and more guns!

Chapter 29 Guns, guns and more guns!

Just when you thought I had offended just about everyone, well not quite. I have several friends that are staunch NRA supporters. Actually I am not at opposed to gun ownership as long as they are registered. I see registration as an important item for law enforcement. I am in favor of our law officers having the latest armament available. My concern is regarding the “facts” regarding murder rates in the US vs. other countries. I often the comment “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. That does make sense, but the facts seem to indicate otherwise. Let’s compare our experience to a few other “civilized” countries:                     Source: http://chartsbin.com/view/1454

Current Worldwide Homicide/Murder Rate

Country or Area Rate (rate per 100,000 population) Note Source
  Australia                                                         1.23  

Belgium                                                             1.83

Canada                                                                1.67

Denmark                                                          1.4

France                                                               1.35

Germany                                                             .8

Iceland                                                                  0

I could go on, but you get the idea

U.S.A.                                                                 5.22

The issue is, are we safer because we have more guns (or less gun control)?

The other comment that I hear often is: “it’s a Constitutional issue; the 2nd amendment gives me the right to own as many and whatever type of weapons that I want”. I would suggest that this is not entirely true, and even if it was we might want to modify our thinking based on the facts. Let’s look at the entire wording of the 2nd amendment to the Constitution:  “Amendment II A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Yep, that is the entire amendment. It should be obvious that the intention of this right had to do with the need to maintain the militia, which at the time made excellent sense. At the time of the writing the Bill of Rights in 1789 the standing Army (created in 1784) was extremely small and the founding fathers realized the need to call on local militia troops should the country face another threat from a substantial foe. In 1812 the opportunity presented itself:  Source: http://www.weegy.com/?ConversationId=BA44DE6B                                                         “The United States was not prepared to prosecute a war, for Madison had assumed that the state militias would easily seize Canada and that negotiations would follow. In 1812, the regular army consisted of fewer than 12,000 men. Congress authorized the expansion of the army to 35,000 men, but the service was voluntary and unpopular; it offered poor pay, and there were few trained and experienced officers, at least initially.[61] The militia objected to serving outside their home states, were not open to discipline, and performed poorly against British forces when outside their home states. American prosecution of the war suffered from its unpopularity, especially in New England, where anti-war speakers were vocal. “Two of the Massachusetts members [of Congress], Seaver and Widgery, were publicly insulted and hissed on Change in Boston; while another, Charles Turner, member for the Plymouth district, and Chief-Justice of the Court of Sessions for that county, was seized by a crowd on the evening of August 3, [1812] and kicked through the town”

Obviously, today’s times are much different and I seriously doubt that the founding fathers would have even considered this type of amendment if there had been a well-funded, substantial Army.

But I need weapons to protect my family. Well apparently they do not in other countries.   Also, consider that of the murders in the U.S.A. where guns are involved 30.2 % of these are committed by friends, acquaintances and/or family. This represents many more than the total murders in most other 1st world countries!