Dumber and Dumber (and Dumber Still)

March 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

The other day a friend (I won’t shame them) referred to Snooki as a pop culture icon…

If such a person could possibly be put into that category, she most likely also sits somewhere between The Hills and Robert Pattinson’s hair on the List of Things That People Shouldn’t Care About.

If organised religion is the biggest threat facing the development of human society, then Reality TV is fast becoming the biggest threat to the evolution of human culture. Today while doing a morning browse I discovered that those ‘clever’ (and I mean clever, they did after all manage to brainwash pretty much the whole damn world) television exec’s have released yet another reality TV show titled “Fashion Star”.

Out of pure curiosity I watched the pilot episode. 15 minutes in (and probably a few million brain cells lighter) I realised I’d actually chanced upon something even more destructive to my particular industry than the show it attempts to emulate (Project Runway), and if it was even possible, even more stupid.

They must have offered Elle Macpherson a small country to get her as host.

For years there has been a steadily growing opinion that reality television is dumbing down society. And I have to agree, from Jersey Shore to Masterchef, this breed of easy programming has spread into humanities cultural psyche like some particularly noxious STI. They portray a dark future for not just the creative arts, but society in its entirety. How and when did such incredibly stupid people become such regular fodder for viewers? I am guilty of indulging in the occasional moment of the Rachel Zoe Project (‘Having a moment’ has recently popped up in my vocabulary like a case of verbal herpes) and even Project Runway, if only to massage my own ego. But I am increasingly disturbed by the number of these shows appearing each season.

Who cares about those sad people who live in squalor because they can’t throw away a single thing? Yes its great that the show helps them get over their hoarding, but do they really need to project it across the world? And don’t even get me started on the Kardashians. They only function they serve is as a celebrity buffer. Let’s face it, with Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe around the real celebrities are safe from ever appearing on a tabloid cover ever again.

This is what your kids are going to turn into…

But apart from the cultural wasteland that these shows have turned the entire realm of television into, and the fact that I’m  I find myself increasingly concerned by the risk that these shows pose to some of the industry’s they dabble in. The Music, Fashion, Interior Design, and whatever other profession the networks have goo ten their claws into, have enough problems without being completely devalued and diluted by not just the shows themselves but the contestants they then give a whole lot of money to and send off into the world.

Tell me Christian Siriano (the winner of the fourth season of Project Runway, and probably the most talented so far) has done one thing with any real value or dialogue on Fashion and I promise to never rag on the show again. But he hasn’t, and he probably won’t because as far as I could tell from however many episodes of the show I watched, he, like all the other contestants, has no understanding of what fashion is beyond some misguided preconception of glamour and magazines and parties. Frankly young designers have enough competition coming into the industry without some talentless fool being given thousands of dollars to churn out endless silk satin cocktail dresses. I still remember an episode where not a single contestant knew how to draft a basic pair of pants, something a first year uni student has no trouble mastering.

And I fail to understand how some of the top chef’s in Australia can take part in Masterchef, a ‘phenomenon’ based on the idea that in twelve weeks you can go from being someone who cooks at home for fun, to working in and opening your own restaurant. Because of cause, we all know chef’s don’t train and work themselves into the ground under despotic bosses to reach the pinnacle of their industry. Secretly it’s just a twelve week short course and they’ve been fooling us all for decades.

I’m pretty sure Auguste Escoffier (if you don’t know him then google) is spinning somewhere subterranean.

I can quite easily imagine the whole art world in a furore when they bring back Art Attack. Hosted of course by some model/B-grade actress looking to cash in on whats left of their career, and featuring twelve contestants all carefully casted to maximise the on-screen drama.

The crux of it is, apart from the imminent threat it poses to pretty much every aspect of human culture is the scary fact that there is an entire generation growing up on a diet of this, and worse, possibly thinking that the behaviour exhibited on such shows is normal. When you look at your children one day and wonder how sweet little Susie went from playing fairies in the garden to a Twittering, self obsessed, sociopathic Oompah-Loompah with a coke addiction, or how Johnny ended up with balls the size of peanuts from steroid abuse, switch on your TV and you’ll get your answer.

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