Friday, May 29, 2015

Garbage Calling Trash Trashy

I came late to cabloid TV and left early.   I hated it and I never watched what I though were probably the worst of the scores of channels on the thing.   I never watched "Spike" or almost any of the hundreds of creepy looking channels. Eventually I got rid of my TV because the incredible idiocy that was almost every program on the thing made me realize life was short and I wanted to spend more of it not looking at a screen.  What will probably lead me to eventually give up the internet, someday.   Maybe.

And tying those two tubes, the all the time and the almost all of the time boob tubes,  Salon had one of its growing myriad of articles for those who want to click on multiply to hate on the Duggars.  It does one thing right, it goes after the TLC channel, the source of the Duggars fame and fortune and political utility.   The ever fecund scribbler, Mary Elizabeth Williams in asking "how much lower can one network sink" lists a number of lowest brow and other shows on TLC which does seem to have more than its share of their promoted families turn out to be dysfunctional.   In the case of the Duggars, dysfunctional in a way that Oprah wouldn't touch, much to her credit.  Here's a roll call:

This, after all, is the network that was still airing a Duggars marathon Thursday, as the Josh Duggar revelations were coming to light. It has now yanked “19 Kids and Counting” from its current schedule, replacing it with “Little People, Big World” — not to be confused with its other similar reality shows “Little Couple” or “Our Little Family” or “7 Little Johnstons.” In a statement, the network says only, “We are deeply saddened and troubled by this heartbreaking situation, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and victims at this difficult time.” And while the continuation of the Duggar’s reality show seems highly unlikely, as of Wednesday, the network is still prominently promoting “19  Kids and Counting” on its Web site — along with other fare like “The Willis Family,” about “a musically gifted family of fourteen,” “My 600-lb Life,” “OMG! EMT!,” “Sex Sent Me to the ER,” “Trailer Park: Welcome to Myrtle Manor,” “Hoarding: Buried Alive,” “My Strange Addiction” and “My Five Wives,” a series about “progressive polygamists”that promises “a fresh, honest look at a controversial lifestyle” and should not be confused with TLC’s “Sister Wives,” which only features four wives.

While I've never seen the show, just from her description of it, I'm wondering what's objectionable about "a musically gifted family" even one of, I'm guessing, a dozen children and two parents.  If I were the Willis Family, I'd get out of it and steer clear of politics and such political groups as The Family Research Council, which apparently didn't do its homework before they hired Josh Duggar or, more likely, didn't really care what was behind the reality show-biz surface as-seen-on-TV anymore than TLC did.  

But the list on what, I also learn is to be taken as "The Learning Channel" is a lesson in what you get with unregulated TV and the political tie ins a dead giveaway on the likely deleterious effects that filling many millions of American's mind with that kind of stupid trash will have on democracy.  

The contention that what people think doesn't have that effect on democracy is one of the most absolutely stupid things about the pseudo-liberal libertarianism that took over about fifty years ago.  And also the disconnect between what is called the information they take in hour after hour every day and their ability to understand and navigate reality.   That it was the previous entertainment industry that promoted that libertarianism,  fiction writers, movie industry hacks, TV writers* and the lawyers who served the publishing industry and, later, the same right wing corporate hacks that such junk as 19 And Counting stand in as a cover for.   The liberalish-libertarians were stupid suckers.   They were dupes, or they never really cared all that much about liberalism, something I've come to see in the past several years of reading them online.  They handed the Rehnquists, Scalias and Roberts style of Supreme Court Justice the langauage and tools to finish off both the American mind and along with that democracy.

It is more than a smidge hypocritical that Mary Elizabeth Williams slams TLC for "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" on Salon when her online mag has profited greatly, with seemingly scores of well clicked on articles about the spectacle of its Mama June Shannon dating a convicted sex offender and other sundry aspects of the spectacle.   Not to mention other junk from TLC such as The Duggars.  Not to mention a lot of those titles and, I guess, their content is matched and at times exceeded in depravity by some of the life-style articles Salon posts about sex.   Unless TLC is promoting anal-oral sex, hooking up with multiple partners, adultery, (I don't really get how that's supposed to be better than polygamy), the commercial sex industry and any number of other things promoted by Salon and such other webloids as Alternet,  they have little room to maneuver these topics in without running smack into their own wall of for-profit hypocrisy.   Not that their audiences, trained by TV in the simple skill of overlooking, will mostly notice that.   The ones who don't notice when their minds are leaking away they watch or read or read the headline and skip the text before playing comments like an unskilled, unchallenging video game.  

*  Who were too stupid to realize that the system they were promoting would lead to TV producers and directors realizing they could do unscripted shows and forego writers and trained actors.  An interesting number of whom have their own personal, at times familial motives in normalizing kinky sex.   Though I think it's mostly the kind of financial incentive that selling things with sex provides and an indifference uninhibited by a sense of morality that enables inequality and calls it "liberal".  Crappy writers are always shoving in a sex scene when their skills in plot and character catch up with them, copying the style, not of Tolstoy, but 1930s-50s pulp writers.  None of which should ever have been mistaken as a cause for liberals to spend their time on.  They weren't promoting liberal thinking.

It's no surprise to me that there are lots of right-wing sex scandals,  if they don't believe in justice, they have no problem setting double standards that allow them to do things that they condemn others for and to take advantage when they are in a position as the stronger person.  It's what being a conservative is all about.   What being a libertarian boils down to, as well.

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