It is a profitable thing, if one is wise, to seem foolish.
From societies that once exalted the likes of Shakespeare, Einstein and Mother Theresa, we now have Snooki from the reality TV program “Jersey Shore.” A person whose name has connotations of being punched in the face.
When you really think of reality television programs — the Real Worlds, the Top Models, the Jersey Shores — you can’t help but wonder what happened to the American intellect. What made people swarm to television screens to watch fellow human beings make utter and complete fools of themselves? Where does the enjoyment come from?
With the opportunity to enrich our lives with such a variety of engaging and thought-provoking literature and media, we choose fist pumping and slang talking, cat fighting and name calling, “Jersey Shore” and the “Bachelor.” If this is the direction American values are headed, I really hope the Mayans got their numerology right.
Now, some would say that reality television is just entertainment, but infomercials are also entertaining. I know, the two aren’t that comparable. Infomercials actually have a plot, the dialogue resembles the English language, and I don’t have to worry about my younger sister being encouraged to wear skirts that barely get past her belly button.
So while reality television may be “entertainment,” it’s not the type of entertainment we should be watching. It degrades human progress by showcasing, even advocating, all the traits we want to eliminate. Unless, of course, the use of fake bronzer has become the newest cardinal virtue.
Reality TV supports the notion that you can be rude, lewd and miraculously incompetent and still succeed in this world. It teaches young girls to be misguidedly promiscuous and teaches young men that biceps are better than neurons. These people’s lives revolve around petty conflict, unnecessary drama and sexual histories so intertwined they make dreadlocks seem easy to comb apart.
These shows are supposed to be “reality,” but I can’t imagine too many people wishing it were theirs. “Jersey Shore,” and shows like it, are entertaining because we get to laugh at people for their acts of stupidity. But as much as these people may be exaggerated characters, rather than their true personalities, we are still benefiting from the mockery of others—something we would all be better without.
In an age where the opportunity to be entertained is as easy as typing a word into Google, let’s search for something else. For if aliens ever hover outside our planet and judge humanity’s worth by the video depictions of their lives, I’d rather not have Paris Hilton as Earth’s prime ambassador.