September 28th, 2011

Veronica Mars types on a Mac

Writer's Block: Internet addictions

Besides LJ, what websites are you always surfing?

Facebook, twitter, dreamwidth, blogger, deviant art ... not to mention my own website and places like the writer's group I'm part of, Writers of Mass distraction:

I try to get all over the web as much as possible, not only to keep up with things but because writers have to promote, these days.  Although I should be writing, I've met a lot of great people this way.

book cover humor

column: The Ultimate Reality Show Rises to New Lows



                I’ve been thinking of the upcoming TV season, in much the way some people think of upcoming root canals or IRS audits.

                Sure, there’s the anticipation of a new season of imaginative, fun shows that explore the limits of probability with great dialogue and well scripted plotlines: Fringe, Supernatural, Pro Wrestling. Then there’s “Reality” TV.

                The biggest advantage of Reality TV is that the more of it there is, the less time I have to spend choosing what to watch.

                The Reality genre is much larger than I usually think of it as being. In fact, it’s been around as long as TV has, as far back as a 1948 show called Candid Camera. In its widest definition, it includes everything from game shows to one of my favorite programs, Mythbusters.

                So let’s narrow what I’m talking about down to a new sub-category, which I invented about five seconds ago: We’ll call it “Stupid Hateful Underhanded Reality”, or SHUR.

                Oh, SHUR.

                This brand of show presents people at their worst: hateful, back stabbing, stupid, and/or untalented. It's like Congress, only with better approval ratings.

                I remember the first time I heard about the TV show Survivor. What a great concept, I thought: A group of people must bond and work together, meet challenges, and show off the best of humanity.

                Silly me. The best of humanity doesn’t sell. The worst of humanity, that does.

                As a result, Reality programming has become an advance sign of the oncoming collapse of civilization, alongside fast food, the IRS, and teenagers who can’t keep their pants pulled up. (Just kidding, IRS!)               

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