Television and cable networks excitedly introduce new reality television shows to curious viewers. The question that should be on our minds is just how far will these shows go to be “edgy” and bring us too much reality? Presently, viewers are wondering what will make for the next big cat fight or brawl between contenders on shows like “Big Brother” and “Survivor.” It would seem that our appetite for spirited and lively challenges is ever growing. If contestants on “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette” were gentle, polite and honest, we would change the channel before the next commercial to something more “engaging,” where emotions are higher? Why does it seem the majority of us like to hear the beeping tones of edited “mature dialogue” that seem like frantic Morse code transmissions from the telegraph operator on the sinking ocean liner Titanic?
Our culture, as barbaric as it sounds, appears to have a thirst for stress and fighting. Tennis isn’t as popular as football. Golf is gentle and sensitive, but the public wants to see fast screaming cars bash into each other in NASCAR events. Boxing and cage fighting are not for the timid, but is that all we have to offer the bloodthirsty public? Why go through all this when you can support your favorite sports and athletes simply by playing some fun sports betting games via www.phxbiker.com. I regret that we socially are sliding toward scenes not too far from days earlier seen in the Roman coliseum. As a society, are we becoming less civil and lusting for more?
Perhaps it was a casual step from Roller Derby rink to the American Gladiators combat fields. Maybe we took slapstick a bit farther along from earlier physical challenge shows to the ever popular “WipeOut” shows to cable and movie episodes of “JackAss.” Now, are we becoming insensitive to human suffering and laugh at every time a male gets whacked in his crotch with a baseball bat by some innocent child on “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” Where is it going to go from here? George Orwell, in his classic book 1984, tells of a futuristic world where caring has been relaxed as a cultural norm. Will we see some show that will truly horrify us on television, or can we draw the line at some point? Stay tuned and see.
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Here is a possible dark future. Perhaps we will get so dull that a show can be conceived where people, for whatever reason, voluntarily want to put an end to their miserable lives, and for the sake of public recognition and their “15 minutes of fame” choose to do it live on television or pay per view with an audience? It currently is not publically acceptable to encourage people to take their lives, but let someone tweak the definition of “entertainment” and “risk taking” and soon it can be popular to watch and see who can more spectacularly end their lives on wide screen or HDTV glory. Oh sure, the contestant may have some gruesome impalements or fiery emollition scenes, but hey, look at the ratings! “Spectacular Endings” or some twisted show of its kind, could devalue humanity itself. Hopefully, we will hold the line with some value of taste, decorum, decency and entertainment value. Eventually, even Gladiators in Rome had to draw the line and found their shows cancelled.