December 5th, 2004

chair, apartment

catching up

I had a bunch of work to do this weekend; so I spent a lot of time over the weekend in the company of basic cable. It worked out fairly well, since the things that I needed to do involved me asking my computer to do some statistics and then getting the results to look presentable. The downtime and the moving things around in Excel were nicely complemented by things like MTV in the background.

For instance, I'm vaguely caught up on Laguna Beach and life as we know it Apparently it has not yet been cancelled even though it's not particularly good and it's in ABC's time slot of death. I think it's the same one they used to kill my so-called life back in the good old days. And honestly, it's even sillier this time around. If people are going to watch a teen drama and they can choose between one set in Seattle or one set in Newport, I'm pretty sure that Southern California has the advantage. And, the o.c. is at least a hundred times better.

Another MTV show that mystifies me is Boiling Points. The moral of the occasionally funny show is that you should put up with outrageous behavior for a long time because they might give you a hundred dollars. This might be the network's most overt endorsement of conformity?

Despite all of this indirect television watching, I really did get a lot accomplished.
i am not a stuffed tiger.

reality craze

Speaking of reality television, here's a bit from Chuck Klosterman's "The rise of the real" in this month's Esquire magazine:
The clichéd sentiment to express is that "nothing could be less real than reality TV." ... it's situationally real. We all know the conditions on these shows are contrived, but we also know that the characters are not actors. They are people who are trying to "act" like themselves . . . which is something everyone does, pretty much all the time. That's basically what it means to be alive.
[Esquire, December 2004]

It's not an especially long article. You could probably read it inconspicuously at your friendly neighborhood newsstand or drugstore. The issue is their annual "best & brightest," which is usually pretty decent.


There's a longer essay about the topic of reality television and the effect of mass media on celebrity and fame in Harper's (which I bought only in a moment of airport terminal panic). The full text should be online (at findarticles) soon if you don't want to spend $6 (!) on the hard copy.