Are we a nation of idiots?

One might certainly come to that conclusion by observing the content of our cable channels. Channel after channel seem to consist entirely of “reality shows”. Now, I could go off at length on the venality and stupidity of the protagonists of these shows, and the sleaziness and phoniness of the situations, and how they are an insult to the intelligence of a senile wombat, but that is not what I feel like ranting about today. The current target of my scorn is the presentation of these shows. Out of every five minutes of running time, three minutes are spent regurgitating everything that happened up to the last commercial break, and one minute is devoted to “teasers” of upcoming events. At the end of a 22-minute episode, the viewer is “lucky” (if that is the correct word in this context) to have seen four or five minutes of actual unique narrative; the rest consisting of clips which were repeated two, three, four or even more times. So it’s not enough that the producers are targeting a demographic of undiscriminating, presumably-stoned couch potatoes with short attention spans, they have tailored their material specifically for undiscriminating, presumably-stoned couch potatoes with short attention spans and short-term memory loss. The really disturbing aspect is that this demographic is apparently large enough to be worth targeting — chew on that for awhile.


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