My musings on the mainstream media and culture.

Archive for the month “January, 2013”

Celebrity Diving, and Some Even Dumber Ideas for Celebrity Reality TV Shows


Like most Americans, I indulge in mindless reality TV now and then, but I’ve never gotten into the “celebrity reality TV” genre, other knows as “celebreality.”   I don’t understand why people enjoy watching 1980s has-been celebrities and other D-listers desperately grasping for one last 15 minutes of fame.  So when I heard about ABC’s upcoming celebrity high-diving show, I thought it was a joke.  It’s not.  The show is called “Splash,” and it’s coming in March.

This seems like a really, really bad idea to me, because (1) unlike dancing, cooking, and other competitive tasks attempted by celebrities on reality TV shows, high diving is actually pretty dangerous, and (2) does anyone out there actually care if Kendra Wilkinson, former girlfriend of Hugh Hefner, can dive?

I can only imagine the depth to which the celebrity reality TV genre might sink.  At what point, are you going to see the following competitions?

  • Celebrity Historical Reenactment.  Want to see Bret Michaels, Gary Busey, and other washed-up celebrities reenact the Civil War?  Me either, but if the History Channel gets desperate for ratings, maybe they should give this a try.
  • Celebrity Toddlers and Tiaras.  Let’s see what happens when celebrity moms parade their little girls around in these pageants.  Maybe Kim and Kanye could enter their baby, because, hey, wouldn’t you like to see Kim and Mama June go at it?
  • Celebrity Hoarders.  You think the original show is creepy?  Let’s find some hoarders with millions of dollars.
  • Celebrity Ice Road Truckers.  Yes, Ice Road Truckers was actually a show about truck drivers riding around in Arctic conditions.  Can you totally imagine this as a celebrity competition show?  Maybe Ricki Lake will sign up.
  • Celebrity Human Wrecking Balls. Yep, Human Wrecking Balls is a real show too, which basically features a couple of big guys who destroy boats and cars and things with their bare hands.  This may be the perfect venue for Christina Aguilera.
  • Celebrity “I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant.” Sadly, I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant is a real show as well (and sadly, one that I’ve actually watched) in which women reenact the night gave birth to a child they somehow didn’t know was in there.  This would be harder to orchestrate as a celebrity reality competition show, but I’m sure the geniuses at TLC could figure out how to make this happen.
  • Celebrity Extreme Couponing. Not for Gucci bags and designer duds, but for the same American cheese wedges and Tic Tacs that everyday people shop for with their piles of coupons.  If they make this into a couples contest, I can totally see Heidi and Spencer signing up.
  • Celebrity Dog Whisperer.  I don’t know which way this show should go.  Should Cesar Millan attempt to tame the dogs of celebrities?  Or should celebrities compete for America’s Next Top Celebrity Dog Whisperer?  The latter would certainly allow for some interesting weekly competitions.

If you have other ideas, I (and the rest of the viewing public) would love to hear them!

Occupy Why Review Bombings are Restoring My Faith in Politics

Review bombings. That’s when a group of everyday people write satirical reviews for a product, often on  The fake reviews catch on, and pretty soon, some products have thousands of satirical reviews.

In the age of social media, this is a new form of intercepting the public space. These days, some of us are occupying Wall Street. Others of us are occupying

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“Pray for Me on Facebook”: An Agnostic’s Dilemma

facebook prayer

Interpersonal relations on Facebook fascinate me.  We’ve had to develop a whole new set of rules and etiquette for relating to one another. Here’s one Facebook etiquette question that I don’t know how best to handle.

As an agnostic, what do I do when a Facebook friend asks me to pray for them?

Granted, the friend in question is not specifically asking for my prayers.  This is usually part of a Facebook status, such as, “Please pray for my xxx.  He’s in the hospital with xxx.”  Usually, the prayers are being asked for something truly upsetting—someone’s hurt, someone’s dying, someone’s getting divorced, someone lost a job.

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Should a Feminist Mom Let Her Daughter Play with Monster High Dolls?

I am torn. My seven-year-old, Gwendolyn, is crazy about Monster High dolls and the Monster High website. On the first night of Hanukkah, you should have heard the screech of joy out of her when she received a Draculaura doll.

So what is Monster High? It’s a line of dolls, a cartoon, and related products (books, movies, makeup, clothes, you name it). The dolls are like Barbie dolls that can be dressed up. Only these dolls are monsters—zombies, vampires, and so forth—so they’re sort of a cross between Barbie and fantasy characters.

There’s an awful lot a feminist could say about Monster High (for more, check out this Monster High analysis by the fabulous Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter). The most simple reason these characters are disturbing is that their story line revolves largely around clothing and appearance. While the story does include positive messages about being a good friend and being yourself, they’re ultimately dress-up dolls, just like Barbie. I tell my daughter over and over again that “it’s what’s on the inside that counts,” but am I contradicting myself when I let her dress up these dolls?

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Top 10 Political Reality TV Show Ideas

Once upon a time, citizens were willing to listen for hours to debates and other lengthy political discourse. Unfortunately, today’s American attention span is better equipped for the likes of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

To get modern Americans more engaged in politics, maybe it’s time we changed things up from C-SPAN to America’s favorite television format — reality TV!  Here are ten ideas for how to use reality TV to rejuvenate the political process.

1. The Bench-ler

There’s just not enough drama behind the process of choosing a Supreme Court nominee. Why not make the process like The Bachelor? Every week, the House and Senate can go on “dates” with the nominees to exciting locations like the Harvard Law School Library.  And instead of a rose ceremony, they could hand out… “Clarence, will you accept this robe?”

2. The Vice Apprentice

Similarly, choosing a Vice Presidential candidate would be so much more dramatic if the nominee did it Apprentice style. Every week, the potential VPs would be assigned to degrading tasks with lots of product placement involved, and whoever screws up the worst gets fired.  This may actually happen if (God forbid) Donald Trump ever gets the nomination.

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Why this Feminist Loves The Bachelor, or, Pretty White People Behaving Badly


This Monday, The Bachelor is back! And I can’t wait. Since 2002, I’ve been a viewer of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and even the miserably sleazy Bachelor Pad.

And why do I watch this stuff? Because I’m addicted to romance? Because I have great faith that two strangers will fall in love on an eight-week long reality show and live happily ever after?

No and hell no. I watch these shows for one reason — because they are just about the funniest shows I’ve ever seen on television.

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