Things just aren’t how they should be.

I am not only beginning to sound like my mother, but also like my grandmother. When I observe and discuss the culture today with my peers I can see and hear my Italian grandmother Francesca in my head saying: “le cose da un altro mondo”. This saying means “things from another world”. Of course her body language enhanced the words, for she would look towards heaven, arms extended upwards as if in prayer. She was always praying, so perhaps she thought somehow she would receive an answer.

The fact of the matter is that things change and we are often at the mercy of  thinking of how things were or how they “should” be. I find myself questioning whether I have become a dinosaur. In some ways I have to stand firm in my belief that we have transitioned into a society that seems to be perennially occupied with gadgets, gizmos, selfies, the pursuit of fame and an almost obsessive need to be busy and self-absorbed.. I suppose that sounds rather condemning, but those who research societal norms seem to agree that we are very disconnected and fragmented. No, it’s not all doom and gloom, but a lot of our culture has become dark and gloomy.

There seems to be a constant need to report all manner of bad news 24/7 and it’s often done in a garrulous fashion. Oh, there are still a couple of anchors that resemble the days of Walter Cronkite and others. However, more often than not it’s a panel of individuals vying for their ten minutes of fame by over talking one another or using insults as a way to appear hip. The Presidential campaign has become a mud-slinging event. It reminds me of the title of a book I have called “ A Confederacy of Dunces”. It feels like I’m back in grade school with kids who used to yell “ Your mother has a mustache”, which now appears angelic compared to some of the remarks we hear daily.

The lack of dignity and respect for others does not only resonate in the political arena, but seems to permeate the world of entertainment. The so-called realty show franchises are filled with cat fights and name calling. Perhaps the media moguls should build a replica of the coliseum and put all these folks in it with a couple of Tigers so we can see a “real” cat fight. I have seen snippets of these shows and others like the Bachelor and Bachelorette series just so I can continue to add to my stash of ludicrous media mindlessness.

So what if anything is there to do about the above and more? I will continue to see the insanity and humor inherent in it. But more importantly, I can only make sure I don’t become part of it!



TV Execs are to blame for such pathetic show programming!

Last night I had my first experience with the PBS phenomenon “Downton Abbey.” So many of my friends have fallen in love with the series and have kept encouraging me to watch.

I, too, have become a devotee of the program. The characters, clothing, castle and dialogue are exquisite.

Actress Maggie Smith has some of the best lines, which are often filled with razor-sharp wit. The sarcasm rolls off her tongue and so quickly that her victims don’t have time to react before she skewers them again.

The contrast to some of what TV executives have decided is programming fit for the public is astounding. There are so many reality shows today that seem to focus on individuals that are becoming famous for being dysfunctional, or excessive in all areas of their lives.

When I am aimlessly surfing to see what I might find that is fodder for a column, I am blown away by what I see – shows like “Duck Dynasty,” “Swamp Men” and “Buried Alive,” a show on hoarding. And, of course, there’s the infamous Honey Boo Boo.

Kathleen Parker from the Washington Post said “the Honey Boo Boo family proudly shares even that which Beano intends to prevent. The show has become a hit simply because no one can believe that anyone lives like that. But you would think after seeing it once that you would not want to wallow in the muck with them.”

What I fail to understand is why there are so many shows that appear to thrive on using degradation and humiliation to entertain the public. I’m sure I’ll hear from some readers who think I’m being a snob. Well, guess what? I am!

There are so many talented, actors and musicians who need work. Why are the networks choosing to inundate us with shows that are essentially pathetic?

The latest reality show on the docket is called “Buck Wild.” It focuses on the antics of young adults in rural Kanowha, W. Va. Sen. Joe Manchin, a local politician, has railed against the show, asking the station to remove it. He could not understand why the programmers would not want to showcase his state in a more tasteful way. Well, Senator, you’re missing the point. There are more than 900 stations now, all vying for viewers. They have to fill hours and hours with programming. Once the Snooki franchise took off because of its excessive cursing, shoving and over-the-top clothes and nails, they thought, “Hey, America is digging this. Let’s see how far we can go.”

So here we are, and where it will all go is not too much of a mystery. I’m sure if we stay on this track, we will get further and further into the dark and stupid side of humanity, unless more people say “enough” and don’t tune in.

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