Editor’s Scratchpad

Wednesday, May 16, 2001

Lessons taught
by Reality TV

Backbiting, greediness, cruelty, insensitivity, phoniness, alliances formed solely to further one's personal goals -- this is entertainment?

Perhaps it was inevitable that Reality TV shows would capture huge audiences because they force participants into psychological combat, pitting one against the other, using traits abhorred but commonly found in society. The shows do not temper the negativity by including people determined to win through integrity or honesty. That would be boring and would garner low ratings.

With the avid following of wrestling and boxing, in which violence is the given, and football and hockey, in which it is acceptable, it's logical that entertainment with nonphysical pummeling would ensue.

Reality TV may also have been spawned by the success of courtroom dramas, in which viewers watch word technicians influence juries through manipulation to get the desired outcome for their clients, with guilt and innocence overshadowed by the guile and cleverness of the lawyers.

On second thought, Reality TV helps prepare people to enter the ruthless world of politics or big business or just to get to the front of the line at the movies or the supermarket.

--Charlotte Phillips

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