We bald apes have always struggled with existence. Being aware that we are finite has made us depressed and self-serving. Ironically, it is this pattern of selfishness that has put us on the brink of self-extermination – consuming, hoarding, discarding – dragging every other earthly creature with us.In other words, as much as we want to blame Trump, Brexit and NASCAR, it’s each of us, every individual, who is to blame for this slide into the mediocre abyss where moronic agendas prosper. Indeed, as fervently as we might proclaim intelligence, the sad truth is we’re merely smart, if that. Clever enough to assess, post and download, we don’t know how to think about the purpose of any of it. To paraphrase, Ben Jonson’s Volpone, rarely do we allow our “conscience get in the way of our wit.” Further, as Cixin Liu posits in The Three-Body Problem:The relationship between humanity and evil (stupidity) is similar to the relationship between the ocean and an iceberg floating on its surface -both the ocean and the iceberg made of the same material. That the iceberg seems separate is only because it is in a different form.
Rather than intelligence, what we should look at, like it or not, is how good we are at being stupid. As sad as it is, that seems the naked truth.
President Trump’s Appointee for Secretary of Education, Corinne, tries to stay on point: “You are rude. You don’t say hi to anyone.You have a skank look on your face. You’re just not nice. It’s just weird and uncomfortable. I know how to get to people like (you). What does that say about your emotional intelligence, bitch?”“I’m nice until you cross me,” she admits. And for anyone who does that? “How do you make a voodoo doll for one person?”
Bachelor star Corinne has it all – crocodile smile, youthful approach, open heart, to say nothing of her naked determination to get the job done. And so it came as no surprise when she was pegged for a post in the Trump Administration.
“I want to get one,” Corinne quipped. “But just a little one.”
Prodded further, she conceded that her nanny would be vital in all future endeavors. “She knows how to cut my cucumbers just right.”
The Department of Agriculture has the inside track.*
(*Is there supposed to be a caveat at the end of a fake news story? I’m new at this.)
The Bachelor puts itself out there for all the right reasons, especially in constructing anti-logue and character undevelopment. It’s all in the stops and starts, the self-cutting off, the saying of nothing, the wild hand gestures when there are no words.
Corinne: Sorry, no hard feelings. It’s just…(dramatic sweeping hand gestures)…the situation that we’re in. (Pause) Do you have a problem with any of…(angular hand gestures)…of that? Taylor: Are you…? I don’t know what you’re talking– Are you talking about…? (pointing over Corinne’s shoulder) When you came in on my time? Corinne: Yeah. Yeah.
Taylor: I’m– I’m happy with my time.
Corinne: Good, good. (Pause) And then you re-came in, got your time back.
Taylor: I wanted more, because I was really happy with him.
Corinne: No, Good, okay. As long as there’s…(large circular hand gesture)…no situation about the situation, we’re okay. Taylor: I think– I’m okay.
Corinne: Are you okay? You seem a little hesitant about you being okay.
Taylor: No, I think I’m really okay.
Corrine: Okay. Good. I really want you to be okay. Great.
I watch The Bachelorfor all of the right reasons. I am painfully amused by people making fools of themselves, confessing to devastating breakups, the loss of an alcoholic parent, awkwardly displaying their sensitivity just to make it as a low-level celebrity. And yet as pathetic as the participants may appear, one can’t help but feel sorry for them, their lack of understanding for the contracts they’ve signed, the blood in their deal with the devil. The Bachelor brand preaches a skewed morality – a GQ/ADHD cocktail of defending superficiality- to which all participants adhere, while they are coaxed to reveal their personal wreckage, be it a former love’s betrayal, a famous brother or deep, bitter anger. Host Chris Harrison has been employed to feign concern – “I know it isn’t easy for you to be out here with your heart on the line…but how did you survive that crushing day?” – to create the victims and monsters.And propagate the reality of this reality that love is sex, empathy is dishonesty and dreams only last until the next commercial.
Beyond the expected demands of not being a criminal, politician or married, The Bachelorrequires contestants to sign a document which includes the following:
Rule #6: Applicants must never have had a restraining order entered against them… involving moral turpitude or violence, as defined by the Producer in its sole discretion.Rule #8. Each applicant…agrees that the Producer may disclose any information…about the applicant’s private life (including) confidences and secrets with family and friends.
Rule #9: Each applicant agrees to be recorded 24 hours a day, 7 days a week…by means of open and hidden cameras, whether or not he or she is aware and that such recordings may be disseminated on all media now known or hereafter devised, throughout the Universe in perpetuity. Rule #10. Applicants agree that revelations of personal Information and recordings may be embarrassing, unfavorable, humiliating, and/or derogatory and/or may portray him or her in a false light.
In other words, the producers of The Bachelor are free to cast judgement, steal secrets, and lie about anyone on their show for as long as they wish…which begs the question: Is only an ‘x’ required on the signature line?
Unreal, Lifetime Network‘s new fictional reality show based on The Bachelor, has it all wrong. Their aim is to offer a behind-the-scenes scoop on how reality shows really work, heaping blame on soulless producers and production assistants who feast on guileless participants. And I’m not buying any of it.
Not only is Unreal‘s narrative dull, actually triter than the real thing, but it is founded on the inane premise that there is a star chamber in Reality TV.While the show purports to be yet another phase in the modern world’s self-deconstruction, it is merely a naive sidetrack.
The point of The Bachelor isn’t making a deal with the devil but rather sharing in everyone’s common stupidity. The contestants actually do want to find love and are willing to expose themselves, and all their frailties, in blind faith to “the process” espoused on the show. That’s the beauty of this train wreck…and our pathetic desire to watch.
I feed my guilty pleasure for The Bachelor not because I want to see anyone find “true love” nor participate in a drinking game based on the amount of times a character says, “This is amazing!”, but rather to witness the humorous and pathetic decline of American civilization. Last night’s episode (Week 8 of Season 19) was no exception. Viewers witnessed Jade Elizabeth reveal pictures from her Playboy shoot to Bachelor Chris Soules on her computer. Confused between arousal and indignation, Chris bumbled through a proclamation that he would stand behind Jade if he were to choose her as his intended…and then went on to dump her the next day. The Bachelor offers that unique hybrid of American television which attempts to straddle the impossible: trashy titillation and a wholesome Christian story. Girls get drunk, do various stunts in bikinis, act with spite and scorn toward one another and then reflect thoughtfully on their Christian values and what it is to love. As amusing as all of this might be, I do find myself getting irritated at the hypocrisy when it is so foully-craft as the broadcast last nightForgetting the fact that Chris, while promoted as true and pure, has at the very least indulged in porn-surfing and attended a strip club or two, no matter what he, his family, town or state might think of making money (or just expressing oneself) through nude modelling, it is inane to judge anyone on these standards. As it states in the Constitution of the United States, a document fervently cited by Republicans, Democrats, libertarians and capitalists alike, it is everyone’s right to exercise “the blessings of liberty to ourselves.”
An issue to consider instead might be the presence of guns in the household of potential mates. Indeed, what if it turned out that one of the contestants had a relative who had a treasure trove of assault weaponry in the home? Would the music turn ominous? Would the bachelorette scowl and flee? Or would she be forced to don her bikini and let her rip? As for Jade, I hope that the producers of The Bachelor have the wherewithal to select her for next season’s Bachelorette so that we can watch all the eager boys shrug off her so-called past “for all the right reasons.”
I lost interest in Breaking Bad almost immediately – the second episode focused gruesomely on how to dissolve a body – and so missed the finale which, as one friend told me, was “completely awesome”.Today’s Breaking Bad cult reminds me of the M*A*S*H* hype in 1983. My film class that night – unwisely scheduled opposite the series-ending finale – was reduced from 400 to 50 students, who watched Veritigo instead. This is not to say that I’m above it all. I did witness the finale of the first Survivor series and have seen The Bachelor’s After the Final Rose more than once. Although, as the drama tends towards tedium, I do tend to watch these on DVR.
There is something remarkably terrifying about the ABC network reality TV show, The Bachelor. A man searches amongst 26 pre-selected women for the one who is on the show for the “right reasons” and wants to “take it to the next level”. Adding to the difficulty of this quest, all of the candidates proclaim their love for this man and their desire to be with him for the rest of their lives.The process itself is laborious, involving group dates, cocktail parties, hand-holding, heart-to-heart talks and awkward sequences of kissing. Although the show is predictably structured – with pathetic story arcs, villains and insidious repetition – there are some moments which amuse and surprise. Tierra LiCausi, the villain of this season, blurted out a ground-breaking deconstruction of the self near the end of last week’s show. In defending her position on how she might have been seen by others when she raised an eyebrow in an insulting manner, she explained: “Raised eyebrow? That’s my face! I can’t help that…I can’t control my eyebrow. I cannot control my eyebrow. I can’t control what’s on my face 24/7.” There was no sense of irony, no sarcasm in her position; this was in fact a bold statement attempting to establish a startling new possibility that the face is an independent entity. Dissatisfied with the simplistic notion of the duality of mind and body, Ms. LiCausi sought to shatter the self into billionths, every cell and corpuscle independent of each other, only of itself, self-governed, self-determined, rarely, if ever, attuned to the body and mind as part of a whole. Ms. LiCausi continued, “I know in my own skin that I am not rude…If I could walk around with a smile on 24/7, I would. But my face would get freaking tired.” In other words, it is a virtual impossibility for another to understand the consciousness of Ms. LiCausi, or as she refers to it, her “sparkle”. Other selves, or “sparkles”, can only assume and thus interpret; they are incapable of capturing the essence of another sparkle simply because of the face’s independent notion of self and potentially abrasive manner. Predictably, Ms. LiCausi’s revelations left the other faces and bodies on the show dumb-founded, including that of the Bachelor himself, who decided to reject Ms. LiCausi, eyebrow, face, sparkle and all.