What do you believe to be real?
A newspaper story? The news? You tube videos? Reality TV?
As silly as that sounds, many people tend to mix all of those resources up into one big pot and consider them all to be credible sources for information. Scary right? This week has shown me new life into a beast that our new perception of so-called "reality" has created.
I have a good friend who was on a reality show two years ago. This particular show highlighted her job, on a thriving network that specializes their "reality" focus on the odd. This show highlighted her job, which on any given day is super interesting and crazy, and since she doesn't fit the bill of her profession, she was a perfect "cast mate" for this show.
The show was super popular, received high ratings and really brought her profession and her city to a whole new light. The network banked off of the ratings , while the "stars" continued their profession. At the time of air, the show had impacted them in a positive light there were no complaints because they were representing the city so well. For every crazy situation, the network "spiced things up" by having extended scenarios and making things more interesting. Then these over dramatic scenes (where everyone involved was aware they were being filmed, had signed a waiver), are taken to the editing room and cut and diced from the original 45 minute scenes to 2 minutes . Let me tell you, the art of editing can change the entire perception of a TV show.Editing has the power to make a thief look innocent and a saint look like a sinner. But this is reality TV right?
I'm not going to lie, that version of "reality" doesn't sound so bad! Every mistake I've ever made could be edited out, along with my love handles, too tight pants and underwear lines. Not to mention, all of the clumsy falls and spinach in my teeth that no one cares to tell me about. This editing business sounds pretty cool, except for the fact that it isn't real.
My friend's show aired two years ago, yet this past week someone spliced down a clip of the show, took off all of the network headings and proclaimed it to be real by posting it on you tube, going viral. This clip did not portray the actual situation and since it wasn't claimed to be a reality show, people began to believe it. Hate messages, Petitions for her to lose her job, death threats began pouring in. The head of her profession even came out saying that the events were staged, however the riots ensued. People could not believe that a professional in her field would "agree" to be filmed under these circumstances. People began to whole heartily believe that this was the truth, that You Tube could do no wrong.
The funniest thing about this whole situation , is that when the show originally aired there were no problems. No complaints. Is it because the audience knew that they were watching "reality" TV, and took it for what it was? Are the people on You Tube getting so riled up because it was presented as a "true" clip? Probably. But any little bit of research would have explained that this was a reality show clip and that it had aired years before. The scariest part is that those people took it for truth, chose to not educate themselves on the facts, and began a crap storm of hate. They began a horrible movement, one that vowed to take down my friend at any cost.
I don't understand, are these the same people who demand Patrick Dempsey to be their brain surgeon when they walk into a hospital, or do they believe that the Bachelor is really falling in love? They must. Because that is reality...right?
I'm not sure what is scarier, the death threats from these terrifying human beings or the fact that our world believes "reality TV" and You Tube over their City Officials.
Our world is in far more trouble than I have ever realized.
One could argue that by being on TV you open yourself up to criticism, and I agree. It is our constitutiona right to complain when we don't agree with something. However, no one and I repeat NO ONE deserves to be threatened . No one deserves to be called the awful names that those "big shots" call her hiding behind their Facebook names. My friend should not have to be guarded 24/7 by a uniformed police officer because people have tried to find her home. No one deserves the hate.
And I am here placing partial blame on the network, because all of this could have been avoided with a blanket statement from the network, taking some of the responsibility for the editing and the staging. But they won't because this whole situation has become a money grab for them... with every click You Tube and the Network are hearing the ching ching of cash registers. Just like that more money appeared for them. Not bad for a show that aired two years ago. I mean, how convenient for them right? Those networks sure know how to get hoopla and ratings on their side, no matter the cost. Because hey, they aren't coming back for a second season and what's one person's life in the money driven scheme of things. One sacrificed for $$$ is totally worth it...right?
Shame on you big television network. Shame on you people who trust in You Tube as a credible source of information. Shame on you Facebook for allowing the death threats to continue. Shame Shame Shame. What will it take for people to open their eyes to the precedent that they are setting? What will it take for people to see the effect that this is having on our children? When will people actually see the distortion that they are believing?
I am terrified to raise my boys in a society that values being an attention whore over being a respectable human. I despise the new reality of this society that tells me that shock and awe is the way to get attention. That I need to be getting drunk and having sex at the Jersey Shore to have a good time. It makes me sick to my stomach that our world has engaged in a contest of who can do the most attention seeking thing, because hey MTV might give me a TV show, and that's who I want to be. Until we stop this "I can be crazier than the last person" mentality, situations like Aurora Colorado, Newtown, and Stubenville will continue to happen, because everyone wants to have their five minutes of fame. And let's face it, negative press gets all of the press. Everyone wants to be a part of the new "reality" at any cost. No matter who they have to step on, hurt or even kill in the process.
It isn't normal to have so much chaos.
Normal life should be boring, and it should be safe. People have fought for generations so that our children can live safely and peacefully. We live in a country where we have military protection, plus the freedoms to basically do whatever we please, and instead of enjoying the life that our forefathers fought so hard to have, we take those values and stomp on them by glorifying violent behavior and immortalizing those who commit it. We need our children to know that they too can be successful without having to be infamous or attention seeking idiots.
This needs to stop. We need for TV networks to stand up and admit that these so called "reality" shows may show real people, but are many times over dramatized for entertainment value. As silly as it sounds, our society needs that to be spelled out for them. I mean, seriously it took like 6 years for people to realize that the Hills were fake. Come on... it's the Hills people. Did you every watch it?It. Was. Obviously. Fake. You ain't foolin' me MTV.
Reality TV and You Tube were created for two purposes, creating entertainment so that it would in turn create revenue. And they have succeeded again. Thanks to the thoughtfulness of our society that will just click click click and share share share and those companies will thrive from all of the money.
Today I challenge you to think for yourself and to just be real. As boring and as uneventful as it may be.
Heck, you might surprise yourself in finding out that not everything is quite as dramatic as it seems, and that life may actually be enjoyable that way. TV was meant to be a form of entertainment, and I like everyone else enjoy it as well, but I don't actually swear by it or believe it to be true. Save the drama for TV.
Be thankful for today and do yourself a favor.
Just be real.