In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 1, 2009 / 9 Sivan 5769

Pity the ‘reality’ fools? Not me

By Mitch Albom

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "Are you keeping up with this Jon and Kate thing?" my colleague asked.

No, I said.

"Everyone's talking about it. It's huge!"

I don't doubt that. But "huge" is not the same as important.

"It's a reality show!"

That's particularly true of reality shows.

"It's unbelievable!"

No. Sadly. It's very believable. Reality TV has now done what we once feared robots would do. It has created its own world, with its own rules, and is now infecting the very society that created it.

Take Jon and Kate Gosselin, a Pennsylvania couple who tried fertility treatments, had twins, tried again, and had sextuplets. They soon become the center of a TV reality show that followed their harried lives. That show, "Jon & Kate Plus 8" is now in its fifth season, and is bigger than ever.

"Huge!" as my colleague says.

However, it is huge because the couple is fighting, the husband is suspected of having an affair, the wife is suspected of wanting to have one, and — gasp! — who knows? Maybe they'll split up! There's so much tension!

"This is certainly not what I envisioned I was signing up for," Kate recently told an audience during an appearance in Muskegon, Mich. "When I see magazines in stores it's really difficult. It amazes me there is an industry that follows you around and writes stories about you."

Now, forget for a moment, the sheer audacity of a woman whose family gets paid, reportedly, $75,000 per episode to let cameras follow her around all day to act surprised that gossip magazines follow her around as well.

What did she think? They were making home movies? The fact that she, her husband, and pretty much anyone else on a reality show morphs from "normal" looking people to better-coiffed, better-dressed, better-made-up looking people quickly tells you they are all for being followed around. It is, in fact, their job to be followed around.

But I can't accept, spend time or engage in conversation with people who want to debate whether Kate or Jon is the wronged party. Or whether they feel sorry for all those kids, who sometimes use the words "p-people" to describe paparazzi. (Personally, I would have those children removed from the home out of concern that five years in front of TV cameras is reckless endangerment to their well-being.)

But I can't give the subject real time, because it's not a real subject. These are not real problems. Signing up for a TV show, then complaining that the cameras are ruining your life is not a real situation. It's like dressing up as Cinderella and then complaining that everyone wants you to try on slippers.

Take the case of Susan Boyle, the dowdy volunteer church worker who wowed the judges during auditions of "Britain's Got Talent." Recent reports had her cursing at photographers who wouldn't leave her alone. She even reportedly threatened to quit the show.

Now, whether she did or didn't isn't, to me, a real subject. Like everyone else on a reality TV show, at no moment did someone put a gun to her head and say, "You must be on this." She did so willingly, even excitedly. What happens as a result takes place in a bizarre world, where you only have famous people's problems because you signed onto to trying to be famous. You are, whether you realize it or not, getting what you wanted.

The same can't be said of laid-off auto workers, young widowed mothers, abandoned children and unable-to-find-a-job graduates. No one is making reality shows about them. Unless they want to go to an island, eat bugs or have multiple births.

So you'll excuse me if the reality of the real world renders the reality of the reality world pathetic. The old expression was "penny for your thoughts." Now its dollars for your privacy. But you couldn't give me a million bucks to make my daily life a conversation about the problems of publicity vampires like Jon and Kate.

I don't care how "huge" it gets.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

"For One More Day"  

"For One More Day" is the story of a mother and a son, and a relationship that covers a lifetime and beyond. It explores the question: What would you do if you could spend one more day with a lost loved one? Sales help fund JWR.

Comment on Mitch's column by clicking here.

Mitch's Archives