Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Alrighty…it’s that time of year again when the gaskets in my head begin to contort…yep…they can’t take much more…they are about to blow.

I’m going to ask you all think about this one question, one more time (it’s becoming a yearly tradition which follows the American Idol auditions). Why is this entertaining? Why do we find humiliating people in front of millions upon millions of people amusing? What is going on in our twisted culture that finds exploiting people, mocking people and degrading people so much fun?

We’re not far from the Roman Coliseum folks. Whole families would go to the massive Coliseum in Rome and cheer and laugh as animals would bludgeon themselves in events that would make Michael Vick go, “now that’s just messed up, bro…” Of course it wasn’t just animals being battered to grotesque deaths. No, people (slaves, criminals, Christians) were stripped naked and chased around the Coliseum floor by Gladiators and/or wild beasts until run down and disemboweled for the joy of the perverted Roman culture. Gladiators would also square off, before tens of thousands at a time and beat each other till one was dead and the other would live (to one degree or another) to fight another day.

There is something within human nature that is perverted, badly perverted. We take pleasure in watching another experience pain. It’s the same thing that would motivate me to hit my little brother when we were real little kids…I can remember being happy when he would start that scream/cry combo and would run to mom even though I knew my mom was going to whip me. Or the drive to see the look on my sisters face when I would rip the arms off her Barbie dolls. We don’t have a little devil on our shoulder whispering naughty ideas into our heads…no…we are the little devil. We enjoy watching people make fools of themselves. We’ll even sit our kids down and laugh together as a family at people who make fools and morons of themselves on TV. Hey, after all, we’d never do anything like that. Those people are really stupid.

Now I’m seeing this new show called The Moment of Truth. Oh…does this look tantalizing and titillating or what? Watching greedy people totally and utterly expose themselves for our amusement is just what the doctor has ordered! Oh yes, watching the pain on the faces of the family of these foolish and greedy people is going to be just deluxe! The Newlywed Show was fine for its time…watching silly husbands forget their wives birthstone in front of a live audience and on TV was great fun for awhile. But how boring is all of that at this point? No…we need it more bloody...ERRRRRRRRRRRR...I meant to say...juicy.

What is the matter with us? Why do we flock to such spectacles?

We need a Savior.

This is a slippery slope my friends. I really want you to think about why shows like these entertain you. Think about the immaturity of it all…little kids like to hurt each other and pinch each other for kicks and giggles…what is so fun about mocking people? Those aren’t actors, they are real people with real problems and real families. For crying out loud…they are made in God’s image and it’s not ok to dehumanize even a fool! Just because one is screaming for such attention doesn’t mean it should be given them…we can’t just say, “Hey…they wanted to go on TV and make dumb donkeys out of themselves…then fine…” NO! It’s not fine! Exploiting a fool is WRONG! They are FOOLS for crying out loud! Foolish people do foolish things…WHY DO WE ENCOURAGE THEM? How outrageously arrogant!

Yes, a slippery slope is what this is. Oh…we used to giggle and squirm when people were eating maggots and backstabbing each other right off the island. But…well…that isn’t shocking anymore. Now we want to see real relationships...not the shallow ones which are superficially formed on these reality TV real relationships need to be blown up. What fun! We need to get people whose IQ's are just above mentally retarded, literally, and see arrogant and pompous jerks rip them to shreds. Hopefully we'll just get over it and start shredding full blown retards...the kids in the school yard have been doing it forever so what's the big deal? Of course all of that will soon be seen as old chestnuts also. So, I’ve got a great idea for Fox to try out next. Oh…this one will be good.

What we need first is a convicted child rapist and murdered. Get a real filthy creep who molested and killed a child. After all…these people are the most disgusting of all, am I right. Then…set up a game where contestants have the opportunity to personally execute this guy by flipping the switch to his electric chair. What’s at stake? 1 million dollars. Each season the viewers would be able to learn of the convict’s story, his background, his abuse and his illnesses. We’d also get to meet the contestant and find out about his or her background and story. Each week we would get to see the contestant interact with his or her family as they all agonize about what to do. Can he or she really do it? Can he or she really flip the switch and fry this man for money? Maybe even they could tape messages from the convict and play them for the contestant and his or her family every week. Hey…the contestant could even meet the convict either in person, through glass or on a video conference. That would really amp things up! All of it would lead to the season finale…live! If the contestant flips the switch and electrocutes the murderer/child rapist he or she will win 1 million dollars. If in the end the contestant can’t do it…then onto the next season the murderer/rapist would go. Can you imagine all the drama?

Wow, that would be great TV…

I wonder what Jesus thinks about what amuses us?

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 (ESV)


Keep in mind with American Idol…tens of thousands of people show up and try to get an audition with these judges. The producers of the show hand pick the most foolish hopefuls of all and instead of weeding them out…they pat them on the back, pump them up and pass them onto the next level of screening. These people have their backs patted and are encouraged for hours and hours as they go through various screenings before they ever get before the TV cameras and these judges. That is just screwed up and American Idol ought to be ashamed. If Paula Abdul was such a sweet heart she ought to demand they stop this. I guess I wouldn’t be so mad if they were taping outrageous acts out on the streets as the lines wrap around the building to get in. But to give these foolish people so much hope for so long, having the producers give them the idea that they just might have what American Idol is looking for. And then escorting them right before these “judges” knowing full well that they are sending them in there for a humilating overkill and scorching…is just mean and sick. It’s wrong. They are basically lied to for hours, propped up and then slam dunked…all with the hopes of seeing tears or some other embarrassing reaction from the hopefuls. Think about it. Just think about it next time your shoveling popcorn in your mouth and laughing while watching these fools on American Idol.


Zac said...

good stuff. I don't think that poor girl is necessarily close to being mentally retarded-- she's most likely just delusional about her singing ability (e.g., like me at John's karaoke party!). But you're right-- it is enraging to think that all these other people encouraged her in order to get in front of Simon to be humiliated... and you can't tell me that the judges weren't in on it. That's just plain wrong.

irreverend fox said...

hey zac,

yeah...I'm not sure where the line of mental retardation is drawn...I'm sure it has to do with IQ...and how "close" is "close"...that girl just seems “close” to it in my opinion. I do see some on there who are just delusional…and others who I think are genuinely unintelligent…I don’t like picking on those people and will physically attack anyone I ever see demeaning or ridiculing one who is clearly mentally retarded. There was more than one time in high school, for example, when I roared “say that one to me!” or “try that on me!” during my rhino charge at those who would pick on the mentally retarded students. I don’t know why that bothers me so, I don’t have any family who are mentally retarded or anything. I just see that kind of humor is totally disgusting. In my opinion, calling someone (anyone) a “retard” is the same as calling someone a “nigger”. Both are totally insulting and neither should be socially acceptable words in common talk. Calling someone a “retard” as if it is an insult disgusts me because mentally retarded people are worthy of all dignity…they are not less than human and should be cherished and respected just like anybody else. They are what they are by Divine Providence, for the glory of God. I wish I had the faith, sincerity and loyalty of mentally retarded believers.

she is not the only one who seems to approach that line. I don't like me it's like tricking and unintelligent person out of a scam. they are not taking actual dollars from these people, they are taking their dignity (which because they are either foolish or of less intellect) they gladly sell...and then AI turns it into cash. AI producers don't exactly tell these people, " are going before the judges and we are going to make millions of dollars off of you by mocking you, tearing you to shreds and hopefully make you cry. we are also going to produce a special DVD every season featuring you and others and will also make millions of dollars from it's sale..." they lie to them...they trick them.

I mean, what would people think of me if I befriended someone of less than average intelligence and tricked them into doing totally stupid things while filming them...then I sold the DVD...did not give them any cut...and marketed the DVD by telling people "look at these idiots..."

Howard Stern is rightly judged as one who takes advantage of mentally retarded, insane or drug addicted...and makes fools of them while acting like they are these peoples friends. Why does AI get a pass when Howard Stern gets (rightly) shamed?

I don't get it.

Zac said...

I'm in the "amen corner" on this one... In spite of the silly performance and her clear over-estimation of her singing abilities, I admire her that she was so comfortable with herself that she could just talk to the judges like she had known them all her life-- it was endearing.

Only the God of the Scriptures identified Himself with the poor and disadvantaged: "He that is kind to the poor lends to the Lord..." (Proverbs 19:17) And of course, "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" (Matthew 25:40)

When the wicked pagans commanded the holy martyr St. Lawrence, a deacon and the Church's treasurer in Rome, to bring them the treasures of the Christians, he gladly obeyed. He brought them the poor, the blind, the crippled, and mentally handicapped.