The Politics of Reality TV

I have a friend who claims he hates politics and doesn’t want to hear anything about it. Yet he wallows in reality TV. And when you think about it, reality TV is the worst kind of politics, having no social redeeming component. It is nothing more than politics reduced to an eight-grade level where immature contestants engage in connivance amongst each other in order to gain personal and collective leverage over one another and the group, all for a kind of sadistic entertainment pleasure of the viewing audience.

At least in true, democratic politics there is the noble purpose of trying to promote the most good for the most people. But when democracy breaks down it begins to resemble the silliness of reality TV. Unfortunately it often goes well beyond the negatives of TV squabbling. Perhaps starting with peaceful protests it can quickly degenerate into death threats, shootings, lynching, insurrection and outright war.

Unfortunately we humans have a weird fascination with conflict. We often end up in personal conflict and most certainly love viewing it, when you consider all the violence in movies and on TV.

Still, I contend that so called reality TV is the stupidest form of political conflict ever concocted — designed to appeal to the lowest level of human intellect.

I have no doubt that were you to poll the Trump backing forty percent of Americans you would find far more obsessed with reality TV than the other sixty percent of the country. They, the forty percent, just love the silly, crazy, dangerous style of the Donald’s politics. For them he is the ultimate in reality, in the mud, entertainment politics.

I think those addicted to reality TV and Trumpism are folks bored out of their minds with themselves, conflict oriented folks desperately looking for someone or some cause outside themselves for gaining emotional salvation, something to bring hope and meaning into their otherwise dreary lives. For them there was nothing better than The Apprentice on TV except Trump in the White House — Survival Island anyone?