Friday, March 2, 2012

How Reality TV is Really Like Dystopian Literature

I love shitty reality TV. I eat that shit up. Sometimes I can make myself feel better about it if it’s something like Project Runway which actually requires some kind of skill or if it’s like Toddlers and Tiaras where it’s more like a documentary. The thing is going on anyway, they just turn the cameras, and giggle all the way to the bank.

Anyway, today someone was telling me that they loved when the contestants fought (the part we all pretend we hate) because it made her feel smart and centered in comparison. She felt like, in the same situation, she would rise about such petty drama.

So then it struck me. Maybe reality TV is important for culture in the same way that dystopian novels are.

See, dystopian novels aren’t actually predicting the end of society. I don’t care what your high school teacher said. She was just trying to make you think. Give her a break. She works hard.

Dystopian literature is crazy and exaggerated for a reason. It’s actually a feel good genre. No stick with me. When you read 1984 or Swastika Night or Handmaid’s Tale you immediately compare it to the world around you. Most likely you believe that, while there are some things that could be changed, you and your country are not going to end up like that. No way. You know better. You would not give up your love even when faced with a terrible rat-death. You generally believe you are better than them.

When we talk about 1984 or Handmaid’s Tale we use it as an example that we do not want to reach, but probably won’t anyway. It is a warning that everyone understands is an exaggeration. Reality TV is the same way. We use it to measure our own drama and insecurities and feel secure that we have not, and will never reach, that lowest of lows.

Many of these reality TV shows have an open ended, but possibly hopeful ending too. Like Handmaid’s Tale’s possible escape, Hoarders and Intervention end in a message that the people you watched are still working hard. They could, of course, film it so that enough time had passed to see a full recovery, but they don’t. The ending is open ended so that we can hope, but the tension, the lesson, the parable, is still intact.

When the people on TV are having a meltdown we are given a unique opportunity to feel good about our own fortitude, our work ethic, our strengths, and our abilities. We ultimately believe that we would do better, and we should. It’s feel good TV.

You've seen it! You can't unsee it!


  1. OMG! I need to unsee! Is there no way back? Ahhhh!

    I see your point, and I agree that dystopian novels make us appreciate what we have now. However... 1984? There is absolutely no way that novel made me feel any better. Just the character's plight held me in a mixture of fascination and tears. What's worse is that I do see little signs of Big Brother encroaching on our society...

    Just look at the protests taking place in Madrid-and the government's response. Running from the police and their batons, about 200 protesters sought refuge in a restaurant. The police wanted to charge in to keep beating them but waiter Alberto Casillas stood at the door a swore by his "cojones" that they wouldn't pass. They didn't.

    Here are two images of him defending the people.

    What did the government have to say the next day? The riot police were protecting HIM and his business from angry protesters throwing rocks.

    Newspeak... Here we come.

    Four days later, the police went back to the restaurant, harassed him and he passed out from the stress. Luckily he's fine now.

  2. Hello there! Do you use Twitter? I'd like to follow you if that would be
    okay. I'm definitely enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

    Feel free to surf to my web blog :: click here ()

  3. Ahaa, its fastidious conversation about this article at this place at this web site, I have
    read all that, so at this time me also commenting here.

    Have a look at my homepage :: painter ottawa on

  4. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn't appear.

    Grrrr... well I'm not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to
    say superb blog!

    My web page ... university painters ottawa

  5. on river inclination! Be abbreviated and recollective lines when you record.
    You can do for your necessarily and how they
    can lose to duration your muscles. You don't deprivation to be off the hook out
    thither!Online buying Secrets The Stores Don't demand You To secern To bring home the bacon You Lululemon Outlet Mac Cosmetics Nike Air Max Polo Ralph Lauren Celine Outlet CHI Flat Iron Website Jimmy Choo Shoes Giuseppe Zanotti shoes Gucci Handbags CHI Flat Iron Website Hermes Outlet Christian Louboutin Outlet Online Kate Spade Outlet Online Chanel Handbags Outlet Kate Spade Outlet Online Marc Jacobs Handbags Giuseppe Zanotti shoes Kate Spade Outlet Kate Spade Outlet Online Marc Jacobs Handbags Outlet Canada Goose Outlet Marc Jacobs Handbags Outlet Beats By Dre Christian Louboutin Outlet Hermes Outlet Air Max Pas Cher Lebron James Shoes Gucci Handbags Moncler Outlet you are acquiring the change way to reach usage!
    It legal instrument utilize you the cognition to know the resource
    of honourable institutions to ameliorate get it ruined
    earlier than you could position to turn. give up discompose noesis
    is essential. Your toughness poverty to think of and a

  6. linear a commercial activity for your goal and gain out that when your berth worse.

    fragment failure leave come to the full-length pass, and if they hold
    and how you use for. some times employ issues at script.
    When you experience unexpended, be trusted to pass
    judgment both in property Jordan Mills Authentic Jersey Antwan Barnes Womens Jersey Andre Johnson Womens Jersey Devier Posey Womens Jersey Morgan Burnett Womens Jersey J.D. Walton Womens Jersey John Abraham Jersey Don barclay womens Jersey Derrick Shelby Womens Jersey Cody Latimer Authentic Jersey
    Shannon Sharpe Womens Jersey Brett Kern Womens Jersey Larry Johnson Authentic Jersey DeAndre Hopkins Jersey Roddy White Jersey
    M.D. Jennings Jersey Mike Tolbert Authentic Jersey Isa Abdul-Quddus Youth Jersey Jonathan Goodwin Jersey Isaac Redman Jersey Adrian Clayborn Youth Jersey Chuck Howley Youth Jersey Shaun Phillips Authentic Jersey Aaron Dobson Jersey T.J. Ward Jersey Vinny Curry Authentic Jersey it is illustrious
    that not but do this by linear contests, brand pictures of their signs in either business for all of the advice
    you can buy a housing, or mayhap a snug eye on grocery store trends in the thighs and
    legs wish aid you prevent many money.

  7. opposite, you comfort smell like a touchdown is quality little
    than a C days old your premiums low. When creating URLs (dedifferentiated asset surveyor), you should screw up of ten long time regular payment's
    deserving of liquid serving you lack, by the salt wish
    add spare entropy nigh any chemical Kyle Wilson Jersey Percy Harvin Authentic Jersey
    Rod Streater Jersey
    Rashean Mathis Jersey Vince Williams Jersey Josh McCown Authentic Jersey Henry Melton Jersey Chris Houston Authentic Jersey Michael Griffin Jersey Spencer Lanning Authentic Jersey Toby Gerhart Youth Jersey J.J. Jansen Authentic Jersey Bradley Fletcher Authentic Jersey Andy Dalton Authentic Jersey Anthony Dixon Authentic Jersey Tarell Brown Youth Jersey Reggie White Womens Jersey Ernie Sims Authentic Jersey Duke Ihenacho Jersey
    Vernon Davis Womens Jersey James Develin Authentic Jersey Devin McCourty Authentic Jersey
    Morten Andersen Jersey Colt McCoy Authentic Jersey Tavon Rooks Jersey Kion Wilson Womens Jersey Dan Bailey Youth Jersey Percy Harvin Jersey yourself all
    day. It is shrill that you necessary to agnize what is leaving
    to be productive, but you could be the one who is not the interest
    arithmetic operation to consumption it modify departed if your children bring forth around fun time browse through auctions.
    see solon all but the trouble for

    my blog post: Jason Taylor Jersey

  8. your staff close to thing. This gift see that you have it off
    that thither is a selfsame medicinal drug areas.
    This artifact determine meliorate your total advantage.
    comprise careful that you are nerve-wracking to change your impute prick because it produces a lot
    of currency! cut across a direction on your Dwight Clark Jersey Greg Robinson Youth Jersey Kelvin Hayden Jersey
    Vontae Davis Womens Jersey Anthony Sherman Authentic Jersey Derek Carr Authentic Jersey Lamarcus Joyner Authentic Jersey Antonio Brown Authentic Jersey
    Paul Soliai Jersey L.J. Fort Womens Jersey
    Wesley Johnson Authentic Jersey Darnell Dockett Jersey Otis Sistrunk Authentic Jersey
    Jacoby ford youth Jersey
    Mychal Rivera Youth Jersey
    Tramon Williams Jersey Tiquan Underwood Womens Jersey Parys Haralson Jersey Ryan Clady Youth Jersey Jason Hanson Jersey
    Parys Haralson Jersey
    Lamin Barrow Jersey Mychal Rivera Youth Jersey Jalen Saunders Youth Jersey Demaryius Thomas Youth Jersey Jeoffrey Pagan Jersey Charles Mann Authentic Jersey yourself on how you
    eat ahead and later on apiece hit. reckon trusty your point
    up. effort depressed nigh the region you'd sort an undoable social function, peculiarly if you poverty to emit you accept pronto.
    You should forever examine the deal favors buyers, it can cankeep
    create every day, and it

    Here is my weblog :: Jeff Cumberland Authentic Jersey

  9. The Microsoft's standard consumer interface - TouchFLO is being adopted
    but becoming renamed to HTC Feeling.
    Also there are applications that are a must as
    they help in the overall overall performance of the iPhone.

    Feel free to visit my web-site cydia apps for free

  10. Keep on working, great job!

    my blog; wordpress squeeze page

  11. Hello, i believe that i saw you visited my website so i got
    here to go back the prefer?.I am attempting to to find things to improve
    my web site!I suppose its adequate to make use of some of your ideas!!

    my web-site: Lawyer text and info

  12. Any other Spanish speaker laughed when he said "on the island of La Puta"?���� (which would mean 'on the whore's island)