Monday, June 17, 2013


Infomercials, Reality TV and the Dumbing Down of America

I had dinner with a friend a a week or so ago, and the conversation took an odd turn. Somehow, we ended up talking about trashy reality TV, teenage pregnancy, her niece and my granddaughter (neither of whom are teenagers yet) and the connections between the topics.

I think it started when I told a story about my 9 year old granddaughter suggesting that her Dad needed a NoNo laser depilatory machine to deal with his tendency to Unibrow. She'd overheard my daughter-in-law and I discussing eyebrow threading (seen it but never tried it) vs. waxing (have been getting it done at the salon when I get my air cut for years ) and plucking (my least favorite activity of all time.)  My sweet little girl started quoting the infomercial like a seasoned pitchman. It was equal parts funny and disturbing.

That led to a story from my friend about a discussion she'd had with HER niece about reality TV-- specifically, MTV's 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom. ...

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Reality TV is Making Us All Less Civilized

I was having dinner with a friend the other night and, inexplicably, the subject turned to teenage pregnancy and the media. This is only surprising because neither of us has a daughter, my sons are in their 30's, and when we get together we are more apt to discuss less complicated topics.

But, since my friend's niece had recently brought up the topic of the MTV show "16 and Pregnant" when they were together, it was on her mind. My friend has never actually seen the show, but found the idea of it-- like many other reality TV shows, somewhat distasteful. I've seen it once, thought it was amazingly stupid, and was never tempted to view it again. But we disliked the idea of it for different reasons.

I'm not a fan of MOST reality TV. As is well known to anyone who reads anything here or on Facebook, I started hating reality TV when I became aware of "John and Kate Plus 8 ","Little People, Big World" and "XX Kids and Counting" (a.k.a. The Duggars) I find such shows, and their newer offspring like Honey Boo Boo to be exploitative and promoting all the wrong messages. I admit to not hating "the Little Couple" the time or two I watched it. I think those folks are allowed some dignity and are not held up to be subjects of ridicule to the same extent as most of the rest of the TLC Freak Show cast of characters are. They don't seem to be as false and outrageous as the Real Housewives of (fill in the blank) on Bravo, or as self-promotional and vapid as anything relating to the Kardashians and their ilk on E!"

So I admit going in that I wasn't going to be neutral on the topic. But I had a few other reasons for having a strong opinion on teen pregnancy/

  1. I am a parent and grandparent.
  2. I have a granddaughter whose mother has a very complicated and nontraditional lifestyle. One I would very much hope my granddaughter will not emulate some day. Not for any other reason than that it 
  3. I am an adoptive parent, as well as a biological one.
  4. I come from a family where 50% of the children in the last 4 generations came to us via adoption.

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