Like...Your Know...Whatever!

“Whatever..!” “You know…!” “Like…!” The three worst verbal fillers in our language, according to the latest Maris Public Opinion survey. Like, who didn’t know that??

In a software security survey, the three worst passwords were: “Qwerty,” “Letmein, and “Password.”

I submit that in any Worst-Of surveys, the American Reality Show stands tooth, claw and nail above any other. Network executives and Jungian psychiatrists can explain why their bizarre social popularity, yet I’m not sure they can assess their haunting social consequences. After all, how many avid reality-show viewers are going to tell a perfect stranger why they are so perfectly strange in their television tastes!

In the 1980s, Senator Daniel Moynihan produced a groundbreaking report which said “the more often the deviant behaviors in a society, the less those behaviors seem deviant…” His examples included the usual suspects: Divorce, teen pregnancy, teen smoking, children out of wedlock, and handguns.

You can design your own list, as each night the networks fill their screens with deviance that doesn’t quite seem as deviant as it once did only a few generations ago. A progression — or regression — of social acceptance, easily predictable right in our own families and neighborhoods.

However. Today’s cheap-to-produce reality shows push the prediction a giant leap further.

Rather than simply exposing the viewers to these practices [eg. the total number of televised divorces and affairs in a year tracks over 11,000 and counting], the Reality Show actually celebrates them. The wildest, zaniest, least inhibited, most exhibitionist participants the better. The mind boggles at the sight of “Jersey Shore,” “Bachelor,” and “The Housewives of…”

Come on, loosen up. Have a laugh. It’s all just in fun.

When you put it that way, I suppose you’re right. Reminding me of a time when the punks and wise guys in my classroom were sent to the Principal’s office where embarrassed parents confronted their wild off spring. Oh, but I forget! In today’s open-minded, reality-show culture, we’re no longer embarrassed by anything. Nor do we confront anyone. It’s called live-and-let-live.

Strangely enough, the title of the next Reality Show which plans to bring their cameras into your next door neighbors’ bedroom….

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