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Archive for the ‘Reality TV’ Category

[By Ron Williams, former attorney, Texas native, patriot and a frequent contributor to free press expression and open forum debates of note.]

Tea Party candidate for Connecticut Senate, Christine O’Donnell, recently stated in her debate with fellow candidate Chris Coons that the Constitution, as written, provides that the government shall not interfere with the establishment or operation of the church, but that there is no prohibition against the church being involved in the operation of the state.  This is a most interesting interpretation of the Constitution.

This is an interpretation you hear many right wing conservatives espouse when they attempt to get government to somehow sponsor a church event or have the government provide money to support some church organized activity.  The most common of these activities is probably getting the government to pay for private church operated schools.

Some conservatives espouse in the opinion that the government should be operated on strict principles of Christianity.  After all, they argue that this government was formed on the principles of Christianity, so why should its daily operation not be based on those Christian principles?

There is a name for democratic governments, where religious principles dominate.  They are called theocracies.  One example of a religious-based “theocracy” is Iran.  So if taken who its logical conclusion, as in Iran, the President of the United States, Congress and the Courts would all look to the pronouncements of a religious leader in interpreting the Constitution and in the implementation of any law.

If you are okay with that proposition, we then come to the next question.  Christian beliefs will dominate government actions.  Now, which version of Christianity will that be?  Will it be the Mormons, so we can look to Utah for government principles?  What about the Catholic Church.  Catholics certainly are certainly Christians.  That means we would look to the Pope for the operation of the American government is interesting that even in Italy, with all of its Catholics, the Pope still does not run the Italian government,  But it seems that this would be okay with our conservative right wing brethren.  If not Catholics, which branch of Gentile Christianity gets to call the shots?

Of course, I believe that when the right wing conservatives talk about applying Christian principles to the American government, what they really mean on their Christian principles.  They believe that they get to decide what the rules are, what the laws are and how the government should operate.

One example of this might be the issue of abortion.  One of the great tenets of the right wing movement is to be use the size and influence of government.  They want to get government out of their lives.  Whether or not to have an abortion is one of the most intimate and difficult decisions a woman can make.  Then they would turn around and take the most intimate decision away from women.  Right wing conservative would use the government to interfere in the intimate private lives of women.  Explain to me how that is getting the government out of American citizen’s lives?

So what we come to, I believe, is that the people who call for the integration of church and state don’t really believe in democracy at all.  They believe in a government run on their principles regardless of the feelings, beliefs, attitudes and opinions of other citizens.

And that is what is scary.  A group of people who call themselves patriots who in fact are doing everything they can to destroy our current democracy.  I believe we have to be careful of groups like this.  What happened in Mussolini’s Italy and 1930’s Germany.  You get some group who come into power via a democratic election, only to run the government based on their narrow political agenda.  Real democracy is kicked to the curb.  All the citizens then are required to follow the dictates of this new moral majority that control the government.

As a side note, notice how right wing Christians seem to cluster themselves around our military academies.  Also, we should take note of the investigation surrounding the command structure at the Air Force Academy which has been investigated for proselytizing the Academy’s cadets

You say it could not happen here.  And why not?  If you believe I am being extreme to accuse these Christian right wing so-called “patriots” of being actually anti-American?  Well go ask them how they feel about a government operated on Christian principles, and watch him say YES.  Then ask them how they feel about those Christian principles being dictated by the Catholic Church.

I believe right wing Christian conservative are a danger to our democracy and should be recognized as such.  A true patriot accepts the fact other patriots will have a slightly different view of democracy and allow those principles to be acknowledged in the operation of the democracy.  The beliefs of these right wing zealots show that they do not believe in that sort of free democracy.

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Good news.  The boy was just hiding in the attic.

The bad news… the real time web (twitter) and news outlets went haywire.  These outlets are fighting for credibility and this ain’t going to help.

Oh, and this story is hardly over

There’s no point in judging the media, the parents, etc. etc.   Everyone is a product of their environment and learning… start putting these pieces together and its straightforward how such a “strange” set of events can unfold and will continue to unfold.

This going to generate big ratings for post event interviews, conspiracy stories, internet videos… I bet someone even invents a Balloon Boy toy or tshirt or something.  And what’s balloon boy going to learn from all of this?

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The Jay Leno Show has been widely discussed.  Is it a fundamental shift in TV? does it change the economics?  Will it flop? Will others follow?

Pre-launch reactions weren’t really positive nor negative.  However, tonight’s airing didn’t really seem to knock people’s socks off.

The ratings will have to be the final verdict. BUT…. (it wouldn’t be a fun blog post if I didn’t speculate without sufficient data, right 🙂 )

My initial take: this will be a mediocre success in the short term and eventually make for a hard decision at NBC.  The huge amount of internal media thrown at it by NBC ensures that people know about the show.

The show’s content long term challenge will come from the Internet.  A topical comedy show that aims to be on top of the day’s events is really the specialty of Internet media.  The fact is TV content needs to be of a certain quality to succeed long term and trying to churn out decent comedy in this new form is going to be very difficult.

The business of the show will struggle long term as well.  They have to make big bucks on TV ads and I don’t think they can make the same cashflow with this show AND 2 late night shows. Here is also another issue… how will the other shows and the local affiliates react.  Let’s say this does work a little bit.  There’s a high likelihood that the Tonight Show and Jimmy Fallon will suffer from lack of a strong lead in and ad dollar competition.  The local affiliates might hate it to as for decades viewing behavior has been news then comedy.  If others are like me then as soon as these monologues finish you start to fall asleep…. uh oh!

Oh, yes, let’s discuss Kayne and his impact on Leno’s ratings. This is not going to be a long term boost to ratings.  When Hugh Grant happened, we didn’t have youtube and twitter.  Kayne’s moment has already peaked.  What I mean is that the consumer attention for this Kayne moment on Leno has already been exhausted by the Internet.

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Does anyone see the irony AND similarity between the Wilson shout-out, “You lie…!” during President Obama’s address September 9th, 2009, on health-care legislation to a joint session of Congress and the Kanye West shout-out that he thought Beyoncé deserved to win the Moonman for Best Female Video.

Wilson, 62, shouted “you lie” at Obama during the  speech which came after Obama said his health-care overhaul wouldn’t benefit undocumented immigrants.

Later that evening FactCheck.org, a Washington-based watchdog group, said Obama was telling the truth.

On Sunday (September 13), Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech speech at the VMAs to express his independent and self-professed ‘invaluable’ opinion.

Can we dare say ‘art imitating life’ or is it that there is a growing lack of contingencies for un-civil behavior?

What is it we value?   Ya, I’m talking to you…   What is it you value?   Right; watching VMAs to see the wardrobe malfunctions and the Dolt meter red line…

Clearly what matters is so different for those entitled from those that aren’t entitled that this will continue to happen until the fear subsides and we come to value solution over exhaust.

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So, Fox always pushes it (or so they think)… and now they have More To Love.

It’s the Bachelor, only average waist size.

Blah.

Not so strangely, the show is just as sexist as other reality competition shows.  The stereotypes are fast at work within the first 10 minutes of this show.

A) The main guy is BORING.   he’s out of shape, a real estate dude and BORING.

B) The main guy is boring and UNATTRACTIVE.

C) The main guy is boring and unattractive and yet in a POSITION OF POWER (keys to fame and fortune for the contestants).

So, the dynamic of competition (American social+reality TV competition) is in place.

Will this be successful?

No.  There are some obvious advertising relationships….. but….. the cliche set up + less marketable people makes sure this is nothing more than a novelty.

Oh, and by the way boring and unattractive people, regardless of size, are BORING and UNATTRACTIVE.

What’s more fun to consider is how this was sold into management.  Who pitched this?  How did they pitch this?

This is very different than Biggest Loser.  Biggest Loser has obvious advertisers that are aspirational and it is not condescending.

Face it, as much as reality TV is supposedly about real people, it’s not about real people.  Real people have warts, sweat on camera, hate, snort, fart, snore…. basically they make bad television.  We all want HEROES and LOVERS and MYTH and ASPIRATION… coming through our TV sets…. or do we?

So anything that claims to be Real People when it clearly isn’t and it doesn’t present a better myth is going to fail sooner…….. rather than later.

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