Monday, July 3, 2006

reality and television

"It is one thing to recover from a fever, but quite another to regain one's health after it. It is one thing to remove a spear from a wound, but quite another for the wound to heal completely. So to begin the cure we remove the cause of the sickness, and this occurs through forgiveness."

~ Saint Augustine, On the Trinity

Much as web-browsing has become, t.v. is among this society's beloved guilty pleasures. It's people-watching without intimidating stares, proxy-living without personal risk. The peculiarity we call "reality t.v." is now an old fixture, script writing is supplanted by edited and subtly scripted supposed actual confrontations between who we are led to believe are regular folks like us. Tonight ABC's offering, How to Get the Guy aired, an oddly fascinating collage of cross-cut-editing, depicting "real life" travails of single women navigating their dates with behind-the-scenes "coaches," advising them as to their choices. And it's all "caught on tape," so to speak. Their situations shown barely depict the most superficial- but do seem to have something to say. And so I watched along, as a member of the entertained marketplace, curious for some insights, even if just to respond to so much of what seems disingenuous. For the women and their coaches, it's staged as a sporting event. (I've seen so much of what has disgusted me about the dating and impression-making dance as being nearly indistinguishable from the job hunting process.) How unfortunate that we are compelled to be so programmatic about something so sublime. Doing some homework, is it additionally strange that while there is a plethora of sites and publications and chick flicks about "getting the guy," nothing exists to sell some clues to men (who evidently don't need any). Apparently the women are throwing themselves at us men. Not. Maybe in San Francisco, but somehow not in New England.

Sure, I speak for myself and for my close male friends. Trying to close the day in a positive light, I'll say this liminal space is for rebuilding, for the strengthening that comes after the surface healing of past wounds. Indeed, fortunes cannot be forced, and as elusive as the singletons from San Francisco claim chemistry to be, so would I add abandonment of my own will.

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