The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'reality tv'
Bizarre crime of the day: someone in Turkey kept nine young women captive in a house for around two months after convincing them that they were on a reality TV show. While there was no TV show, lascivious images of the women were sold on the internet:
They were made to sign a contract that stipulated that they could have no contact with their families or the outside world and would have to pay a 50,000 Turkish Lira fine ($A38,243) if they left the show before two months, the agency reported.
"We were not after the money but we thought our daughter could have the chance of becoming famous if she took part in the contest," the newspaper quoted one of the women's mother as saying. The paper identified her only by her first name, Remziye. "But they have duped us all."
Former Playboy model, reality TV star and existentialist philosopher Anna Nicole Smith has been found dead in a motel room in Florida. While much has been said about her marriages and media appearances, Smith is perhaps most notable for her terse summation of the human condition into seven words: "it's just so hard to be me", a statement which stands alongside Sartre's "Hell is other people" in the annals of modern thought.
The cause of death has not been announced. More details are here.
Hertfordshire police raid reality-TV show, seizing a fur coat belonging to lead singer of 1980s glam-pop group Dead Or Alive and catty transvestite, Pete Burns, after he claimed that it was made of gorilla fur; the police have warned Burns that he may face five years in prison if it is, in fact, made of gorilla fur, which is prohibited under endangered-species legislation. Hardcore animal-rights advocates PETA praise the Hertfordshire Constabulary's actions, as this is exactly the sort of thing police should be making a priority; that and prosecuting meat-eaters for murder and pet owners for false imprisonment and such. Meanwhile, blogging magistrate Bystander is not amused:
We are told, often correctly, that some of our fellow citizens are afraid to leave their homes, that drug crime is rampant, and anarchy rules our sink estates. So the 'Wildlife Officer' (what's wrong with having a few 'lowlife officers'?) sits down with museum experts to investigate the provenance of a coat. Yes, that's right, a coat. Meanwhile, in court today, I have been forced to adjourn a number of cases because the 'overstretched' police haven't provided information to the CPS in time to allow a trial to proceed.
Former Blair spin doctor Alastair Campbell has condemned a reality TV show based on selecting potential MPs. Campbell has denounced ITV's "Vote For Me" series (or "Political Idol", as some call it), in which an "independent" political candidate is selected and groomed from a field of contestants, as exploiting youth cynicism and undermining the importance of politics. Which is all a bit rich, coming from the architect of Cool Britannia and Teflon Tony's image-conscious, style-over-substance media strategy.
Life imitates Virulent Memes: a US TV network is making "Black Eye For The White Guy" (actual title: "Make Me Cool").
Now the next step would be to merge that with American Idol, resulting in a reality-TV show based around the boy-band manufacturing process; find several groups' worth of handsome, moderately musically talented white boys, have some brothers teach them how to act "real" and "from the streets" (i.e., play up Afro-American stereotypes that the consumers will eat up, especially on pretty white boys), and then play them off against each other, with the winners getting indentured servitude to a recording company. For bonus points, take the show overseas, and make it into a search for the most stereotypically "Afro-American" white boys in the non-English-speaking world. Gospel-tinged R&B boy bands from Russia and west-coast-gangsta-rap bands from Belgium, here we come.
It'd be a good idea for near-future fiction, except that it stands a middling-to-good chance of becoming reality before any story would have a chance of being published.
The convergence of politics and entertainment continues apace; not long after a celebrity with no political experience became governor of California, a British TV production company is planning a reality-TV show to create an "independent" political candidate:
'Government by focus group is something we all disdain as short-sighted and superficial - but what if the focus group were millions of people, actively deliberating together as we exercise our power?' he says.
'We know that the public loves the idea of voting for "independents", but the system makes it hard for independents to get themselves noticed. So it is almost a public duty for someone to create a platform to help independents get an equal chance.'
"Independents" chosen for their looks and/or style, with superficially agreeable or fashionably "right-on" opinions; if this takes off, conventional politicians could find it hard to compete, and parliaments may end up full of ultra-appealing Natasha Stott-Despojas, manufactured by televisual focus-group. Multiple terms will be a rarity, as yesterday's political idols will, by their very nature, become unfashionable and be displaced by a new crop, distinguishable mostly by how their hairdos are spiked up. But that'll be OK, as parliaments by then will have signed over most of their sovereignty to international free-trade treaties and will be reduced to an advisory body of select "beautiful people" and/or another entertainment option.
New Spectator Sport, a rant from Warren Ellis about the decline of the music industry:
TV shows specifically designed to manufacture the absolute least offensive pop product through game-show structure and the application of telephone democracy. If you're dumb enough to be able to sit through those shows without the front of your head filling with tumours, you get to vote for the performer who is retarded enough to be a comfort to you. Loathesome as they were, even the Spice Girls delivered with some character. I remember novelist and critic Nik Cohn saying he never would have been so hard on Bob Dylan if he'd known Bruce Springsteen was around the corner. People railed about the Spice Girls being a manufactured band, but who knew there was a TV-powered pod-person hothouse around the corner?
The American music industry, from my perception here in Britain, seems to have sunk into a bizarre obsession with paedophilia. Britney Spears has gone from schoolgirl gear to a deeply strange hentai look, little-girl head stuck above great shiny plastic boobs, singing in a Minnie Mouse voice. No wonder she was being stalked by a shifty-looking middle-aged Japanese bloke. He probably had a suitcase full of tentacles to use on her.
Mainstream pop music is almost always bad., it's a given. But, God, can you remember a time when the most popular acts were this empty? It's like that awful vacuum before punk, when people were buying Dean Friedman records just to have something to buy, and poster companies were printing off six-foot long images of Nana Mouskouri and Demis Roussos just to have something to sell.
A future history of the fall of the United States, which descends into authentic fascism under the influence of reality television, celebrity politics and news/entertainment programming. (via MeFi)
If you've been wondering the depths TV producers would go to to attract sensation-jaded channel surfers; upping the ante on "reality TV" is a new show from Fox (the network which also did the massively successful Who Wants To Marry A Multimillionaire) is called Temptation Island:
The premise: Four real-life couples (described by Fox as "unmarried but seriously committed") are put on an island off the coast of Belize, along with 26 attractive single people. During a two-week separation, each member of a couple selects three of the seductive singles for a series of dates.
As you can imagine, the guardians of morality are decrying it vocally, denouncing it as a sign of the decline and fall of Western civilisation. Which means it will probably be a smashing success. Perhaps they can do a follow-up show with Jerry Springer?