Tuesday, August 21, 2012

TLC: The Let's-dehumanize-people Channel?

Have you guys noticed the increase of television shows on networks like TLC that seem just designed to exploit people who are on the lower-end of the economic spectrum and/or who are somehow different or maybe even mentally or physically ill in some way?

I'm talking about shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo which is the newest atrocity. I admittedly haven't watched it but it is about people who are baring flubbery bellies with joy and leaping into mud puddles while a small child quips bizarre phrases like, "A dollar makes me holler Honey Boo Boo." and the whole family stands behind her arguing about whether or not they are rednecks.

What IS this? How is this entertainment?

Is anyone else reminded of days of yore when they used to basically capture people with genetic defects and parade them around the countryside in traveling caravans like they were animals in the circus?

And then there are the shows about people who have drug addictions, or who have so many possessions that they literally can't walk through their homes. How is this okay? These people have diseases - they have disorders, they need HELP and here we are stuffing chips in our faces on our couches watching them SUFFER THROUGH LIFE as if it is entertainment. As if we have nothing better to do than sit back and observe someone ruining their lives and endangering their families.

Doesn't this strike you as sick and twisted?

The shows that pretend to be about equality and awareness are some of the worst. Shows about Little People are constantly cropping up. And sure, maybe they are helping normalize the culture so that Little People don't get saddled with as much discrimination as before - at least I hope that's what's happening. But I can't help but wonder if those TV Executives are somehow sitting back and smirking to themselves, knowing that they're just exploiting a group of human beings that have been exploited since the beginning of time.

What is it about our culture that causes us to be fascinated by watching the difficulties of others? People have tons of kids - let's watch them go through drama! People are lower class and participate in activities that we wouldn't? Let's tune in and mock it! People are obese? Let's watch them struggle and huff and puff while we eat ice cream and take out.

It just seems so wrong, it just seems so dehumanizing.

I wish that these shows would stop being produced but I guess in order for that to happen there would have to be a decrease in an audience for them and, well, considering how many of these atrocities are getting churned out every seasons, that seems to be unlikely.

oh well. just my observation for the day. You know there's always one.

edit: since this post was written I have seen an ad for a new show coming on that is about a conjoined set of twins and how they live through life.

Seriously, if this isn't just a television channel exploiting the "circus freak show" mentality I don't know what is.

These are PEOPLE not acts. These are human beings and they should be treated as such, not exploited and put on TV for the general public to watch with unhinged jaws. Just because you CAN buy these people and get them to sign on the dotted line that they will do a television show doesn't mean that you SHOULD do that. We live in a culture that makes life difficult for people with differences. We live in a culture that is not accepting of handicaps and disabilities, that exploits those differences instead of normalizing them and incorporating them into society. These individuals probably really need the income and the fact that this evil television station is exploiting that sickens me. It really does.

They are not doing this in the name of Good and Equality. Let there be no mistake, they're doing this for the ratings, the numbers, the shock value and the cash. That is all each of these shows are to them. That is all each of these people - these lives - mean. Money in the bank.

How truly awful.


Ness said...

Honey Boo Boo is a "beauty pageant" contestant. She appeared on Toddlers & Tiaras and now, she has her own (freak) show. (On last week's episode, we saw her domestic pig pooing (?) on the table and everybody in the family laughed their butts off... o_O)

I totally agree with everything you said.

I sometimes watch TLC with disdain. Last night there was "United Bated of America"... Another family of 19 kids. NINETEEN KIDS. WTH is wrong with them people. STOP making babies and do something with your damn life!!

I like TLC when they have more intelligent shows like that one last night (again) where a little boy has a genetic defect and ages 1 year every 4 years. He's 40 but trapped in a 10 year-old body. It was super interesting when the doctor explained why he was like that. There was another girl with the same disease. It was nothing freak-show-like.

Oh well. People.

walkthemiles said...

I just read something yesterday that said TLC no longer stands for The Learning Channel, & should change their name. Ugh.

I totally admit to watching these shows sometimes (My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding) because of the curiosity factor, but I find myself thinking "This is what is wrong with the world, that this sh*t it OK".

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