"Is reality television making us stupid?"
I am sure your subconscious instantly responded before you have even had time to actually digest it in order to come up with a proper response. Mine screeched 'NO.'
I could hardly believe what I read in the yes-response, (the 'article' comprised of a yes and no responses). I kept screaming in my head, 'seriously?' Surely you must be joking?! Her grouse is with the networks for subjecting us to shows which (do not) mentally tax anyone, networks that have demeaned and devalued what it means to be a 'star' (my words). According to her 'why should we be subject to shows that are created out of modern celebrity and force-fed people's daily diets and love of shopping?'. In short, she claims it is the fault of the networks for showing The Kardashians, Coco Loves Ice etc full stop. My silent scream to this person was, 'who took away your freedom of choice?!'
So, with trepidation, I went on to the 'No' response, and was glad she and I were on the same page. Long story cut interestingly short; she said that reality shows are 'one giant cheeseburgers, the packaging is attractive, the product is addictive, but can you really blame the manufacturer for making you fat? Who puts that non-nutritional snack in your mouth...?' Gbam. Who forced you not to click on the Discovery Channel, so you can watch something educational and valuable of your time?
Reading this piece only a few hours after I had heard a charge on using 'time' right was not a coincidence. It is not about watching Coco Loves Ice, or The Kardashians, or Kendra or even Big Brother, I am not a fan of those, but it is about what we use our time for. I have my guilty pleasures, as do everyone. I could stay with an Angel or Buffy movie all night, I went crazy and had no life outside of Jack Bauer's 24, I do not even try to pass up any chance of watching a James Bond movie (yes, even after the first few hundred times!), but it is not really about TV, but about those things that take us away from the things that matter, the things that are productive, valuable and life-giving. and this can be anything.
Can we really blame the networks, who though must make profits, but which I assume are also operating within some legal framework of what is acceptable, for whatever is airing on TV? Surely every single person has a freedom of choice; the power to do or not to do? We cannot blame the manufacturers for their products or the attractiveness of their packaging...mind you, I am not taking away the part where a society can and should decide what kind of shows a network should air. Those are battles that can be fought, I am not saying that the networks are not faulty in the things that they agree to air, but that only further confirms that we live in a faulty society if this is the kind of culture that we have chosen to propagate on air. Still, we should not all sit around and blame the next person for the things we are responsible for.
So, I say NO; reality TV, books, magazines, movies, sleep, phones, food etc are not making us (me) stupid. If I am stupid, its all on me. Let us put the blame of our quirks and weakness squarely where they belong.
What are you doing with your time? I (hilariously) remember a friend saying to me years ago, because I could never pass up any opportunity to sleep, 'Zainab, if you want to sleep you life away, it is ok, go on.' I woke up. Fast. :-)
Be Free oh...
Picture courtsey of Google images.