|It's true, but who cares...it's so damn entertaining.|
As a result of my…studies…I know who has and has not fathered a large number of children (and the appropriate celebrations for each scenario), have noticed time and time again that most lesbians do not at all resemble the ones on Cinemax, stood witness to (often hilarious) family arguments that should have never seen the outside of a living room, and have seen many people who have done something or other with their crotch that they weren’t supposed to and will probably live to regret.
Now, most people would look at this and see a useless waste of time at best, and a sick pleasure in seeing the full negative potential of everyday folk placed in the most brief and inflammatory of spotlights at worst. I see the same…it is both those things and many more. However, I see something else…I see Facebook. I see Twitter (in the once a week-ish I actually check mine). I see what social networking is for the most part…virtual reality television.
The similarities are right there. People sharing personal details of their lives in a public forum for the attention/approval of the audience (sex and sexuality always get the strongest reactions), relationship issues we can all subscribe to, family affairs with open invitations to the public…even down to the ads before, during and after the show offering to sell you things they think you need. (Online it’s based on your internet history, over the air they just guess that you are broke and unemployed so you obviously need a loan shark, to sue for a “slip-and-fall”, or internet classes to become a legal assistant’s assistant, a medical technicality or get what is almost a high school diploma.)
It’s not necessarily a bad thing…or maybe from under your hat, it is. I don’t know. What I do know is that I find the whole thing fascinating. To use examples from my own virtual life, just this morning I’ve seen a man pine for his long-gone love as he has been doing for as long as I could see it, women in various stages of undress purely for the silent cheer of a *like*, plenty of people overselling their lives for the cameras of the news feed, and of course, audience commentary, both enabling and disabling. There ain’t many places you can get all of that before noon that I'm not discussing in this post.
If I could get a few cameras together and somehow convince a few people on my friendslist to be guests, I could have my own Springer-style show based entirely on my social networking. I’d be just like Jerry, standing in the background cracking jokes with concern as people shared their ludicrous life stories and sordid sexual details, watching the fireworks as people air their personal grievances, seeing random people flash body parts I may or mostly may not want to see, providing a place for babies to be exploited for attention, parading out-of-control teens in adult bodies around the stage so they can get the attention they crave and we could see exactly what kind of person we don’t want to date or make, then ending it all on a surprisingly poignant and insightful final thought. (Seriously, if you never have, give the end of his show a listen...it’s like he’s trying to restore 58 minutes of brain damage in the last two.)
Of course, both social networking and trash TV are pretty much mindless entertainment, but that’s only if you turn your mind off. (I can never find the “power down” switch….kinda cool except when I’m trying to sleep.) If you think about it enough, they can both be very revealing of the rusted inner workings of people you know and people just like them…or just an interesting reminder that your life isn’t that fucked up by comparison. Either way it works, right?