Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Book About Snookie

Alright, I just wanted to air another set of grievance and lord knows I'm a being that can hurl grievances and maybe we should all be doing so as there is much to grieve about from a societal standpoint if you look at things with a grimace like  you should.

TV sucks us all in, divides us all, erodes at our social bonds, makes us less fertile and surely will, and probably mostly has been the death of everything. But I'm especially pissed at it because of a show called American Dad. This show, a cartoon that appears on  Fox on the evenings of some day of the week, stems  from the series Family Guy and features an American Family (the father working for the government), his wife, son, daughter an alien and a fish. It's from the same writer as Family Guy, Seth McFergunson or something.

Take a guess as to whether you would consider this to be quality programming
This show is disgusting. I'm doing a poor job summarizing it but that's mainly because my very marrow evokes such a putrid response at the thought of this abomination of an example of media. In one episode, the father enters an avatar of an attractive girl that will date his nerdy son in an effort to spend more time with his child but is then plagued by the problem of potentially having to have the avatar sleep with his son. Of course this makes sense and is reasonable! The show takes time at the end to satire and tarnish the movie Aliens, and really further degrades my view of humanity. In another masterpiece, the Alien is for some reason killing high school students with his limousine I think because they didn't pay a cab fair or something. Either way, there is murdering of high school students, egregiously, mostly for not much gain and only for our further detriment of humanity.

This plot thread and character only take from the community at large

The show sucks, as it's not that funny, but even worse, it is utterly over-the-top and crude and still fails at evoking anything resembling humor. It's bad for society. It's a cartoon, and kids, who still have a significant amount of neuronal development will find this show funny because they don't have much of a prefrontal cortex yet. They're still developing which we all did at some point too. These kids personalities will surely be terrible if they watch enough of this program. They surely won't be able to adjust as well, maybe have a harder time forming relationships with the opposite sex, have a desensitized view of violence and foul language, their empathy might be somewhat lower and yea, they'll have crappier personalities (like the characters on the show who are role modeling).

Here's a graph I made that will elaborate on this show that should have been painfully put to sleep back in the Guilded age (and yes, I took the time to make the graph as I have this much of a life):

Humor looks at how much it makes us laugh. Contrast to say a good Chappelle Show clip, or a conversation with Bill Murray, this show isn't that funny. I don't laugh with it, at it or in it's presence. Mind you I don't want to remove my ability to laugh by watching this show which will be the nicest thing I say about it in this entry, but still, no funnies.

Soul looks at how much soul the show has. Mind you, this blogger sold his soul back in 96' for a popsicle, but as to what I know about this essence, soul looks at the morality, fortitude, and character of the program (and it's characters). Most certainly this show lacks any soul. The characters are hollow and empty. The entire program behaves on some realm removed from societal norms, limits, emotions, feelings, and is so far-removed from humanity that my intestines actually change their direction in disgust. Most shows want soul, but some can get away without it (take Seinfeld maybe?). 

Egregiousness: How much unneeded craziness is in the show. The key is unneeded, but this isn't always a terrible category. The key is to have other positive attributes that compensate for your egregiousness. Similarly to my romantic relationship, I'm egregious, but I also have somewhat decent interpersonal communication. So I'm allowed some egregiousness. 

Crudity: Everything's crude these days. It's hard to buy a pack of pretzels without something that wouldn't have been acceptable back in the 70's visibly displayed on the salty treat. But this show is definitely crude in terms of language, body odor, fluids, speech, parts of body and parts of speech. I wouldn't want my offspring watching it until they're old enough, and if they're old enough to watch it and they still choose to do so I would know I failed miserably in rearing them. 

Abomination: How much of the anti-christ is in a certain program? How much should we castrate, disembowel, decapitate, devalue, devolve, dismiss and derive this show as it's just ruining society so evidently? This also takes  into account how popular the show is... Crack isn't a huge social problem if I'm the only one doing it. Crack is a problem because millions do it. How bad and how popularly bad makes up this category.

Intellectuallnessity: How much smarts does a program show? Is their satire or mental algorithms? Are their multiple plot threads or room to analyze characters both psychoanalytically and psychosexually? This is a good quality to have, but not always needed. This show partially removes the foundation in which we can engage in intellectual discourse. 

Let's calibrate this scale with something positive. 

What America needs instead of moon bases

Here are classic Simpsons from the 90's when times were a bit simpler and when one used the phrase "social media" it really meant playing Sega Genesis with your friends while eating pizza at sleepovers. Anyways, just to contrast, The Simpsons is funny (humor). This show also had good characters and would at points invoke some morality in them. Mainly though, the characters were actually human so I give it a seven for soul. A little Egregious (I could actually lower that one to 5). Some crudity was there, at the very least when the Simpsons came out it was viewed as more controversial. It's very much not an abomination and I gave the show an 8 on Intellectualism as there was often much complex satire, some puzzlers, and some nuances amongst the characters ripe for analysis. The show was never too stupid usually  or at least  had enough of a counterbalance to it's stupidity (keep in mind I'm focusing on nothing further than say season 9). 

Though I wouldn't want my offspring watching it, I might not even have offspring and thus can enjoy South Park myself.

Take South Park. It's high on Egregiousness and Crude but it's also high on intellectuality, humor and has maybe some soul. It's characters are rich, they're actually very funny, and there is some good satire in the show which society needs at a time like this. Mind you, I still wouldn't show it to my conservative uncle or the pet rodent. 

For a more subtle touch, check out Napolean Dynamite...

Manages to be of a humorous disposition while not flinging filth every which way. Kudos. 

What intrigued me about Napolean Dynamite was that it was incredibly PG but still funny and reasonably successful. It's crudeness is quite low, as are most of the other ratings, but it's reasonably funny and has some soul. This was an amazing thing to do in the Bush-Era; to have something be funny but not rancid. I give it props for that. Now mind you, this movie came from MTV. Let's venture towards this topic as I have words to say with little coherency and validity towards this abhorrent network.

MTV, I don't like most things about you as an institution. Perhaps you could argue that if you weren't there, then somebody would be filling your void in a much poorer fashion. Still I'm fairly disgusted by a lot of the things you've done and will probably do.

Surely the best role-models for society

Namely, this stems out from an instance that occurred last year, when one of my 7th grade students, who was quite capable, bright and one of the harder-working students in the class brought in a biography of Snookie. Now this just bit me in the ass with it's irony. We were having trouble getting our students to read in general. Often kids don't like reading at that age, but here was a book that they're fine reading and it definitely looked to be over 150 pages... but it was the biography of Snookie. I wondered what the imagery might be like in this text? Did the author use good metaphor or foreshadowing to talk about Snookies on and off fling with The Situation? On certain days we felt like we just couldn't win and this was one of them.

Perhaps we could have  used the book as a tool for learning to make science more relevant. Maybe we could have used Snookie to explore concepts of density as she made various liquor-based drinks, or we could have used Snookie as a hook to explore heredity, bacteria, infectious diseases, but something tells me that would have been too far and in bad taste. Regardless, this was one of those "societies really dropping the ball" moments when this is what kids are reading instead of just about anything else.

Maybe I'm being too hard on The Shore and on Snookie. Maybe there's more to everything then I've chosen to delve into, but for some reasons I don't think so. Now MTV, I've always been frustrated by you. You used to show music videos primarily which... you know, fit nicely with your name of Music Television. I then had to watch TRL which stood for Total Recall Live or something (I think that was actually the movie where Arnold goes to Mars and assists in a mining rebellion). All your viewers had to sit through lots of commentary by Carson Daily when all I wanted to see was the damn Blink 182 video. This was before youtube, I couldn't just find the video easily on the information superhighway as they called it at the time, and instead had to listen to one crappy comment after the next, and sit through more than one N-Sync video which from a societal standpoint I was obligated to experience disgust towards. You never made things easy at all.

So much of your programming revolved around just editing and re-crapping the content you had previously shown in flashier and trendier ways. I felt like it was the same thing I was watching over and over again. But thank god you were so trendy and you could get away with that! It must have been so nice being so hip and fresh that you don't have to worry about producing quality programming.

A significant portion of your programming revolves around young people being really dramatic, drunken and (Dubious?) largely whorish. You just really had the Real World thing going where you were pretty effective at liquoring up a bunch of people and putting them in a house together. You're so hip! It's great! But really, did you want all of societies youth at the time to be dramatic drunken whores? If you did, you hit the three pointer. It seemed cool to be so dramatic over so little. It was great really. And sure, who cares that society has real problems such as climate change, income inequality, unemployment, crime, environmental degradation; it's important for young people to be dramatic over nothing aside from their drunken whorishness. You taught us that, so thanks.

 So if that was your intention, you did and keep doing a great job with that. If that wasn't your intention, what could you have been thinking? Do you think hiply filming cool young people wouldn't affect other young people? Would your viewers see the Real World and Jersey Shore at age 13 and say "Oh, that's a nice a program but really I should listen to what my parents are saying and not concern myself with all the enticing things that these cool people are doing on these trendy shows and nicely ignore all the peer pressure that will ensue from all my classmates behaving like this." That's really easy.

So MTV, you have a lot of charitable work. I think a lot of people would argue that your programming raises awareness of issues that young people should be aware of: drug abuse, eating disorders, teen pregnancy, domestic violence. I'd also guess and you would probably agree that you've done much to create a more open-mindedness among young people. You try to have your political programming to infuse that into youth, but much of it I think is drivel and poorly done. You're mostly just an ass of a network.

Taking a Crap on the Occupy Movement with this show was appreciated MTV... Thanks
But really, Jersey Shore, Jackass, various Real World Seasons, "The Hills"? C'mon, don't be a dick MTV. You can often legally put these shows on the air. It's possible. Our founding fathers might not have wanted to censor you. But you could choose to at least be less of a dick and stop hurling your filth into the primordial ooze which is our media. Lessen your part in tarnishing our culture, we're already tarnished enough. Please.

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