We slept in this morning, and I've decided that today will not be a complete waste, as was yesterday. The work week was exceptionally long, with sales conference and a general sense of wariness on my part, and so we went out on Friday night with friends for much-needed release. Of course, in my semi-non-drinking state, the three pints that I had rendered me utterly useless almost all day yesterday. And so I watched Jersey Shore online after Zesty sent a funny note about it last week. Good grief. It's hard not to judge these people. And I suppose that's the point -- the strange obsession that we have with "reality" television seems to be ruining entertainment, as Vanity Fair pointed out in its December issue -- as we spend hours (as I did) following the lives of vapid, self-involved, idiotic wastes of earthly space from a fairly protected sense of being morally better than they are.
As everyone starts to follow the Copenhagen conference (the Globe had extensive coverage of global warming in this weekend's Focus section), a huge discrepancy between where pop culture seems to be headed and the real issues facing our society today. In short, I kind of feel like the environment just doesn't matter to the masses. I'm sure I'm making ridiculous generalizations, and shouldn't just use the vapid, ridiculous "characters" from Jersey Shore as my test subjects, but I was honestly disgusted by their lack of awareness, the amount of garbage they produced on screen (all those disposable cups!), and the kinds of things that caused an emotional reaction (feeling "outcasted" and fighting in bars). The men use bucketfuls of product on their hair and the girls who claim they're "all natural" (in that they aren't augmented) while piling on ridiculous amounts of make-up and wearing next to nothing.
Maybe I'm just trying to attach a sense of righteousness where it doesn't belong. The stereotypical muscle-bound meat heads and the girls who love them seem to be partying their way into a z-level fame. These kids can't aspire to much or else they wouldn't be on the show in the first place and I often wonder if these shows aren't meant to depress the viewership as much as appeal to it. How can you not feel defeated about the state of feminism when you watch young girls come up into a house of strangers, allow themselves to be filmed jumping half-naked into a jacuzzi, and pull off their underwear while the three other women in the house call them "skanks" and "whores." In the same breath, two of the four women in the house then go on to cheat on their significant others while being so drunk they can't remember what happened, one girl gets "sloppy" (which none of the men appreciate?) on the first night, and the last girl, nicknamed "Sweetheart" leads one roommate on only to make-out minutes later with another fellow from the house. Where's the dividing line between skank and whore? The determination lies solely with whomever shouts the loudest?
I shouldn't have watched it. The comedic value of it all was lost on me. Or maybe I'm just too serious these days. Feeling a little lost and neglected in terms of my own life and far too hungover yesterday to contemplate anything more intellectual. But when and how did society fall so far and how do you think these kids are going to feel about themselves when they gain some perspective? Some of them are simply old enough to know better -- a man on the cusp of his 30s who is still chasing tail and judging his success in life by how many women are entrapped by his abs should be ashamed of himself. The idea of instant gratification is taken to the nth degrees by this snippet of American life. These kids don't really want to work (their room and board is paid for by working a shift or two a couple of times a week in a t-shirt shop), their values are family-orientated in a way (they're mainly Italian-American) when it suits them, there's no discussion of safe sex, common decency seems non-existent, and sexism on both counts gets confused with sexual attraction in ways that make me feel far, far older than my years.
And the whole time I'm watched, mindful of being entirely the wrong demographic, I kept thinking: we're wasting the earth's precious resources on this sh*t. And no one seems to care. I wonder how ironic Pauly D's Cadillac tattoos will be in however many years when there's no more gas and there's nothing left to power their beloved cars. Do you think he'll even understand the irony?