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Dealing with reality


Adele Elliott



When did we become a nation of voyeurs? It seems that every television show and every headline is about prying into someone else's private lives. 


All of my Golden Triangle friends are enraptured by the new show "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. If you haven't seen it, then I will give you a brief description. It is exactly like "Keeping Up With The Kardashians," but without the cosmetic surgery. 


Both shows have a dominant mother: one, the "momager," Kris Kardashian Jenner; the other just "Mama." The children do not all have the same fathers. The Kardashians are the progeny of two known fathers. The Thompson family has not yet revealed how many different fathers there were, just that only Honey Boo Boo's is still around.  


Both shows have one child who is more important, more famous, and perhaps more attractive than the others; 6-year-old Honey Boo Boo (a contestant in Jon Benet-type beauty pageants) and 20-something Kim (famous for a sex tape -- and a 72-day marriage). Both have an ineffectual father figure: Bruce Jenner (married to Kris), and Sugar Bear (Honey's father, but not married to her mother). Both shows have one sister who is pregnant. Oh, and let me not forget, Honey Boo Boo has a pet pig. 


The Kardashians dine at the most exclusive west coast restaurants. The Thompson family eats road kill, which they name. Still, the differences are subtle. None of them have great etiquette. 


If you haven't seen Honey Boo Boo, then you may not be able to talk to any of your neighbors, because that is a main topic these days. If you haven't seen, or heard, of the Kardashians, then I salute you. You are probably too smart to be reading this column. 


But, even if you have managed to avoid either of these horrid spectacles, it is impossible to escape shows that intrude on, and ridicule, someone's life. 


I won't make a complete list, but a few examples are: "Bridezillas; "Wife Swap"; "Survivor"; "The Real World"; "Hoarders"; all the shows that make-over houses or people; all the shows about finding love; cooking shows -- well, there are hundreds. These people are extremely uninteresting. Yet, we continue to watch. 


It makes you wonder if the next knock on the door or the next phone call will be an offer to make your life into a reality television show. But before you sign that contract, remember, the "stars" almost always come out looking foolish. They claim to be unscripted. It is obvious that those shows are edited in a way that all players are exposed as immature, rude and offensive. Oh, Lordy, how I miss writers! 


I can think of a few ideas for some reality shows set in the Golden Triangle. How about "Blues Men and Their Instruments," or "Local Politics: With the Gloves Off," or "Nepotism and Cronyism: The Only Way To Get A Job." 


For now, we will have to be satisfied with the unimaginative offerings of national TV. There is one other thing we can do to avoid letting trash seep into our living rooms. It's called an "off" button.


Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.


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