Sometimes you just can’t laugh very hard

Ah reality shows and failed politicians…

I never watch reality shows, and I sure as hell haven’t watched “Celebrity Apprentice” or whatever it is to see if Illinois former governor Blagojevich has gotten fired yet.  Nor will I.

Yet now comes the news that Sarah Palin is shopping around to either star in or produce a reality show of some sort.   Honestly, the parallels between her career and that of Blagojevich continue to be astounding, except for one glaring difference: he got caught, and even when she gets caught, she never seems to get caught.

And not only that, but Palin’s writing a second book. I’ll leave it to the Alaskan bloggers to make jokes about that.  All I have to say is that I wasn’t aware she wrote the first one.

As for the subject matter, I believe it’s something about celebrating American’s virtues and strengths.  This leads me to the subject of Blagojevich.  Why?  Because last night he appeared at his alma mater, Northwestern University, to speak on the subject of “ethics.”

Before you die laughing, wait a minute because it only gets funnier.  Apparently he had the sheer gall to stand up in front of a roomful of Northwestern whiz-kids and claim to be Gandhi, Lincoln, and Jesus Christ.  Or something like that.  And of course anyone who questioned his selection of Roland Burris for Obama’s Senate seat is just a racist, because Blagojevich is also, in his mind, Rod the Liberator.  God knows the U.S. and Illinois have never had black senators before.  Not even half-black senators.

The Northwestern kids flushed Blags down the toilet almost as fast as he could open his mouth.  I understand they made a good attempt to laugh him off the stage.  But the point is that even they could not manage to do it before he played the victim card, which I believe comes naturally to him — just as it does to Sarah Palin.

My goodness, are we now to believe that victimhood is an American virtue or an American strength?  Or are these two just playing it for laughs?  I mean, not only is Palin allegedly writing a book that is supposed to be about “American strengths and virtues,” but…well…how did Blagojevich get that “ethics speech” gig in the first place?

As I’ve said before, in Blagojevich’s case, it’s just pathetic at this point.  He’s obviously out of touch with reality, and even though we can’t help laughing, we know it’s kinda sad and mean because the guy obviously has a big problem.  He has nothing: no supporters that he doesn’t write checks to, no career, no political party, no future.  Nothing.  All he has are his delusions.

In Palin’s case, she still has (for some reason) some actual political support and a fairly good-sized, rabid fan club.  In order to regain a bit of the credibility she has lost with the rest of the world, I have to believe that her handlers are trying a new tack in appearing to be laughing along with her critics (which must confuse the hell out of her robotic followers, who have been programed to foam at the mouth every time she is criticized).  That accomplished, they can do real damage.

Trouble is, in her case, some people still believe the worst damage she can do is from behind a very large desk in the Oval Office.  I haven’t believed that in a while, but I had to admit that it’s too scary a thought for me to laugh very hard.

And so here we are, dealing with dueling alternate realities: Rod Blagojevich’s and Sarah Palin’s.  Blags’ is a total failure; Palin’s keeps being propped up for some reason.  I guess only time will tell what that reason may be.  All I know now is that both realities either already are or may be headed in the direction of that most unreal of outlets, the reality show.  At least that much is appropriate, almost enough to allow me to cope with what is not appropriate: Sarah Palin writing a second book, let alone the thought of her writing about “strengths and virtues,” and Blagojevich being hired to make a speech about ethics of all things.

I’ll try to keep my sense of humor, but sometimes you just can’t laugh very hard because you are just so goddamned sick of dealing with it.  And I believe I’m at that point now.

And I thought it was just me…

I admit I’m not as far along as the blogger who wrote this.  I still get way too wound up about certain news items, and when I do, it results in a spate of entries on this blog.  Likely this blog wouldn’t even exist if I didn’t.

But when it comes to contemporary pop music, fashion, movies, television shows, etc., I’ve been a dropout since the late 1980’s.  In fact, three or four years ago I finally gave up cable/satellite when I realized I was paying $500 a year for over 120 channels that I was not particularly interested in.  The switch to digital television has at least temporarily confirmed my retreat into the world of no-pay TV, since there are now even more free channels that I don’t watch (so why pay for a bunch more that I don’t watch?). 

I have no doubt, though, that sooner or later someone will make us pay for the extra channels.  At that point, I probably won’t have a TV anymore.  As it is, my TV  is only on about 3 times a week, and then only for an hour or two at a time.

This was not the result of lessons from childhood, when an elderly relative kept our TV on from the moment he got out of bed to the moment he got back in, less the hours he was at work.  He still does, only now it’s worse: he plays the TV and the radio at the same time.  He won’t pay for cable (guess I inherited that from him), so can’t get Fox News.  Instead, the right-wing radio screamers feed steaming crap into his ears while he watches pro wrestling, do-it-youself shows, “reality” shows, and whatever else on TV.  And he’s retired, so his viewing/listening has expanded to about 14 hours a day.  He also loves country music.  Country music gives me a migraine.  I’m not kidding.  All I need to do if I want a migrane is listen to a country music station for about 15 minutes, and then I’m in bed in agony for the rest of the day.

Yes, I know there are other forms of music around.  (Rap, for instance, which is almost as bad.)  In fact I have loved the Beatles from childhood, as well as other musicians.  But music awards shows?  Bah.  Just like the Academy Awards, they are nothing more than events that people wear expensive (and often quite ugly) clothes to.  I never see the movies that are being awarded whatever trophy and I never hear the music that’s being rewarded for sales.  I don’t know Brad and Angie from Jennifer or whoever is the latest burned-out teenage girl singer/actress/drug addict/whatever the hell.  It’s all meaningless to me.

Perhaps my current near medialessness (except for the Internet) is an adverse reaction to my early years, I don’t know.  But for the past few decades, my television viewership/radio listenership has dwindled to only a tiny fraction of that of most people.

This became a problem for me in an office I worked in that was full of Dancing with the Stars and American Idol freaks.  They also watched Oprah whenever they were on vacation.  Suffice it to say that I seldom had anything to add to the conversation there.  I was too busy trying to stay awake and/or keep from snoring.

Worse, during those years there was this morning show on one rock station that I listened to on the way in to work, and all “Shawn and Tiffany” talked about was what happened on various reality shows the night before.  One time I actually fell asleep and nearly drove through a red light.  After that, I permanently deleted that station off my pre-set button.

I did once happen in on this relative of mine when he was watching a reality show.  It was something about “models and geeks.” I glanced at it, and the “models” were mere pretty girls with big plastic boobs and lots of makeup (that is to say, not actually model-like at all unless you’re talking about the cheesecake variety), and the “geeks” similary looked like cliches: tape around the horn-rim glasses, snots hanging from noses, pant legs too short, mismatched patterns, etc.  And of course the “models” were all stupid and the “geeks” were all super-intelligent…where have we seen that  before?  At the beginning of the show, the announcer introduced it as a “social experiment.”  I couldn’t stop laughing for two weeks.  No, dears — a social experiment is a male model falling for a(n ugly) girl.  That you won’t see on any reality show because the “social scientists” in the programming departments don’t want to look at pretty boys with ugly girls, not even in the fantasy land of reality TV shows.

But honestly, I worry about people who watch shit like that.  I wonder if it corrodes their brains.  I also wonder if it is now impossible to make a list of merely 10 worst television programs of all time.

There was a study that concluded that only far right-wingers and left-wingers tend to be media drop-outs.  I don’t agree with that, since the far right in particular tends to use media as a sort of painkiller to block out the truth (if this weren’t true, Fox News would not exist).  I have observed this myself.  I think that what’s going on with me may be widespread across the spectrum.

But in the end, I don’t care.  My years working in the health field taught me that most studies are garbage, anyway.  The only media study I give a lot of credence to is the one that concluded that people who watch TV excessively tend to be fearful.  Well yeah.  I could have told you that myself without the time and expense of a study.  I’ve seen it first-hand.

These days, I only know what I see or hear.  And I don’t see or hear much in the way of movies, music, TV or radio.  I’ve honestly never seen Oprah, American Idol, or Dancing with the Stars.  I don’t watch awards shows.  I can’t name 3/4’s of the musicians I hear on the radio.  I seldom see a movie. 

And I don’t think I’m missing anything.


Blagojevich and reality.  Ah, such a reality gap.

Every time he steps in the public eye lately, I see the unreality dripping from his every pore.    Think of it:

Impeachment…..Media Tour

Indictment…..Disney World

Arraignment…..Reality Show?

Yep, you read the last one right.  The ex-Gov is now looking to star on a reality show, with Nancy Kerrigan.  You know, the ice skater who got whacked in the knee back in 1994 by the buddies of that other ice skater — you know, the one who was a trailer park queen and has since taken up a career in wrestling.

Oh, how far ice skating has fallen.  But for Blags, such a venture seems pretty much on the level with the rest of his career.  He has no idea how a politician should even appear to behave.  Then again, how does that differentiate him from many members of the Republican Party and their followers, as witnessed in yesterday’s “tea parties?” 

Yikes — more reality gap.  Blags is a Democrat.

Unfortunately for us reality-gap fans, his new venture into “reality” may be met with actual reality.  You see, the show is being shot in Costa Rica, and Blags’ passport has been taken away.  It’s up to a judge to decide whether Blags can debase himself further, even in the pursuit of a paycheck, and at this point whether that will happen is a very iffy prospect.

Oh, by the way…I forgot.  Blags is writing a book, too.  Good thing, because it’s supposed to be a tell-all, which interests me because the ex-Gov keeps insisting that there is nothing to tell because he is innocent.  I’m looking forward to seeing that one get straightened out.

Trouble is, he didn’t get much of an advance for the book.  Boo Hoo. 

And so it’s come to this.  A reality show.  Our public figures, our politicians, our leaders have become something on a level with the guests on Jerry Springer (who, ironically, used to be a politician).

I can’t even say that reality has been turned upside down anymore, because these days, it seems like there is none.  I don’t cry for the politicians, though.  I cry for the rest of us.  But I can’t tell if the tears are out of genuine sadness, or just happen because I am laughing so hard.

Oh, the reality gap of it all.