Monday, November 19, 2007


I’ve recently been mystified by my television set. Something inexplicable has occurred. On one of the cable stations there’s this “reality” program called “I Luv New York” ... well, it is "Love" -- but you see my point. Let me explain it as I understand the situation.

This woman’s nickname is "New York". A manish, loudmouth ignoramus who's all about herself. Of course. No apparent skills, talents or virtues. I looked her up on the internet. She got her nickname from appearing on some other reality show that I actually did spend a literal 15 seconds watching, once -- "The Flavor of Love", as it turns out. It seemed to be a dating show, where some dude was auditioning or propositioning all these chicks, or they were propositioning him, or whatever. "Flavor Flave" (that can't be how it’s spelled) -- I'm not sure what he does or why he's famous ... some sort of comedian? rapper? -- gave this chick the nickname "New York", and she has since gotten her own version of that very same show, where she’s in her "own" house, trying on all these "men", to marry. This is the second season.

It's Jerry Springer people with their own show. It’s Professional Wrestling about sex rather than, uh, whatever PW is about. It’s literally unbelievable, on every conceivable level. The most recent episode, per promos, seems to have been about voodoo.

So there’s that. But on the next station over, at the exact same time, there’s another show, that’s exactly the same, except it’s an asian chick instead of a black chick, and the asian chick is trying out both dudes and chicks. Bisexual, you see. That’s so hot. I didn’t want to distract myself during the show, so I masturbated only during the commercials. I don’t know the name of this asian chick. The show is called “A Shot at Love,” so I’m guessing her name is Love. No. I just bothered to look it up. Tila "Tequila". Now if it were Taco I’d see the joke.

So there’s that, these two identical shows on at the same time about slutty reality TV celebrities who are celebrities for being sluts on reality TV. Well, there is a certain reality to that.

Then there’s Danny Bonaduce. I like the guy. I saw parts of a few of his ridiculous reality show, and it was really obvious and manipulative and obvious and bad, and the dude is a trainwreck and has a really weak character -- it’s all about ego-protection and macho image -- but I like the dude. Wouldn’t want to spend any time with him. He reminds me of a satanic cross between my father and one of my brothers. A lot. Anyway.

Last month I heard about an incident, and last night, looking up a YouTube link about some reality show plastic surgeon on a show I’ve never seen, I noticed the video. Some dude calling himself “Johnny Fairplay” is bombing on stage at a reality TV awards show. Yes, I did mean those words in that order. "Fairplay" is the guy who a few years ago pretended his grandmother had just died so he could win something on the reality show, "Survivor". His schtick is to take a lot of pleasure in being the badboy manipulator. I didn’t see the show, but even I heard about the tactic. I was astounded that the ploy worked. So what if his grandmother died? How would that affect the gameplay?

Well then. As the dude is bombing on stage, Bonaduce comes up and tells him why -- “…they're booing because they hate you” -- and the dude takes a little run, leaps on Bonaduce and “monkey humps” him. You can hear him giggling. Until Bonaduce forklifts the dude up and over headfirst onto his face. I generally don’t find that sort of thing funny. But it was so perfect, and somehow right, that even I let out a reluctant head-shaking little snort. EMTs. A little tantrum. Knocked out a tooth, three root canals, fractured jaw, assault charge filed and dismissed.

That led me to look at some of the other Bonaduce links, one of which is some 9/11 conspiracist who interrupts Bonaduce’s sidewalk-café meal for a little interview. The interviewer is a variously-named YouTuber who runs a self-promotion site about all sorts of conspiracies. Bonaduce is a smart guy. It’s just his weak character and emotional immaturity that’s such a big problem. So he handles himself well, for all the vulgarity. He even turns to a nearby lady and asks her pardon for the cursing he’s planning. Notice he didn’t ask her permission, just her pardon. A character issue, as I said.

The YouTuber interviewer is the one who posted the video. And this one. And this one. The dude has hitched his wagon to Bonaduce's star. It's not a big star, but it's a little wagon.

Byzantine, isn’t it.

I won’t draw the strings together. Weave your own tapestry. But it’s a strange picture, where among all these incredible lowlifes, it’s Danny Bonaduce who comes out with the class. He's the only one of the bunch with a real name.

Several years ago I was in one of those big stores looking to buy a little radio to run with. A twenty-something woman with a young boy nearby was standing among the stereos, with the volume turned up all the way. It amounted to assault. I try to mind my own business, but the presence of rank stupidity combined with that kind of rudeness compels action. I approached her and asked her to turn it down. Either she didn’t hear or pretended. I touched her shoulder and she whirled at me and started shouting. At some point the radio volume came down -- don’t remember how. “Don’t you be touching me! That's assault! I could have you arrested!” And she went into her reality show of emotion. It was surprising, the stupidity, but I've taught teenagers. So I folded my hands in front of me and nodded and waited for low tide. Then I said, “You have a lot of pride. None of it can be about your behavior.” One of the sales guys was there by then and I felt free to disengage. It was hard. I actually enjoy that sort of thing, but we mustn’t indulge ourselves.

I remember noticing the way my son walked when he was about twelve. I was struck by how manly it was -- not swaggering, just not little boy anymore. It reminded me of how I walk. Or how I think I walk. Or how I hope I walk. It was just right.

We don't influence our children so much by what we say. It's what we do. It's how we walk. That's what they learn. Then, later, when we talk about it, it becomes conscious. But it isn't the awareness that makes it so. It’s the example.

“Johnny Fairplay” should have paid attention to the way his grandmother walked. He’d be more manly.


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