Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Everything Special in the World

Happy Holidays Space Travelers. It's a special time of the year, no really. I'm not a Christian, but goddamn I love Christmas. In such a special time, I thought I'd take the time to talk about how special we are, and how sad I am that we abuse our gifts.

In the mid 90's, MTV aired a very odd show. It set a group of 7 individuals together in a house and had them live and work out their differences. It was the Real World, and so was born reality television. The world would never really be the same. Some may argue that reality television had much earlier roots, but I believe very few would deny the RW's mass appeal and huge audience made it a special case. Remember Pedro, the very likeable and friendly homosexual being brought into American households across the USA? For some it made things like HIV/AIDS a real thing, and something close and tragic. When he died, even then President Clinton spoke about it. Reality TV was more than entertainment, it was a vehicle for social awareness.

Mind you, this was prior to the explosion of the internet. For some, this was a window into the USA's many sub-cultures and personalities. Perhaps it is hard to think of a time where the ability to talk to a stranger in a different state was harder than just logging into a social networking site or forum. I can remember staying the night at a friends house and he said he was talking to someone in Australia. I asked the first question that came to mind: "how much does it cost?"

Can you blame my naivety? My wonder was simple. How amazing to talk to someone so far away! Now I'm grown, and much more worldly. I speak other languages, and I've met many people from many places. I've been exposed to many beliefs, and seen how many people express themselves in different ways. But I digress...

I'm not the only thing that has changed since then. Reality TV has changed too. And while I've become more worldly and broadened my horizons, reality TV has become more and more narrow. Today, what passes for reality TV is quite surreal, but perhaps more sad is what it costs in my opinion.

When I see the latest commercial for "sing off," a new show about acapella groups competing, I am very troubled. While it is certainly wonderful to see such amazing talents, why must we make everything some sort of contest? Would we appreciate these amazing things any less if we didn't have a winner?

Even love is a contest. So many reality shows about dating or marriage. Is there anything that could be considered more special? It makes me sad.

Space Travelers, I'd like to offer more than moral outrage here, so I guess I should make a suggestion. Share what you do. If you sing, sing for someone you know. If you write, share it with a friend. If you dance, go move your feet. We have lots of special things to share, and it seems we always wait to have an excuse to share them. I'm no different, but I want to be.

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