The Reality Show in Today’s Culture

It seems to me that American TV enthusiasts are obsessed with reality shows.  Whatever topic you are interested in there is a “reality show” that explores that.  There are cooking, decorating, teenage pregnancy, fashion, travel, endurance, and talent reality shows.  Some of them are so contrived that they are beyond belief. Reality television frequently portrays a modified and highly influenced form of reality, utilizing sensationalism to attract viewers and so to generate advertising profit. Retrieved April 2009. Participants are often placed in exotic locations or abnormal situations, and are sometimes coached to act in specific scripted ways by off-screen “story editors” or “segment producers,” with the portrayal of events and speech manipulated and contrived to create an illusion of reality through editing and other post-production techniques. Retrieved April 28, 2009

Flipping through the channels, I shake my head at most of them.  However, “American Idol” has caught my attention.  It is fascinating to see people with absolutely no talent make fools of themselves on national TV.  But soon you see someone that appeals to you and you are drawn in and are rooting for them. The program aims to discover the best singer in the country where the winner is determined by the viewers. Through telephone and SMS text voting, viewers have chosen as winners Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen, and Lee DeWyze (listed in chronological order).The show was described by rival TV executives as “the most impactful show in the history of television. “For Fox’s Rivals, ‘American Idol’ Remains a ‘Schoolyard Bully'”. The New York Times.

I think that part of the appeal is that the average viewer can have an active part in the selection of a star.  Whenever they hear a song on the radio by a winner they think the performer’s success is due in some small part to the viewer’s action.

So although I am not a reality show fan, I will make an exception for “American Idol”. One of my favorite “Idol” stars is Carrie Underwood.   Her journey took her from a small farm in Oklahoma to world-wide fame.  Here is a link to one of my favorite Underwood songs—Mama’s song. .  This song honors a daughter’s appreciation for her mom.



In honor of March, Go Green!

GREEN Bay Packers, GREEN energy, GREEN autos, GO GREEN!

I’m awash in green. Everywhere I turn I hear about green.  What does it all mean?  In Ancient Egypt the god Osiris who was a symbol of resurrection and immortality had green skin. A person who can grow plants is said to have a green thumb. In today’s popular culture, the color green often represents the environment and environmental concerns.  The pressure to “go green” is overwhelming.  Ads on TV and in print stress “greenness”, even Congress are legislating “green” laws.

According to Planet Green Discovery “The truth is that everything single thing we do every day has an impact on the planet — good or bad. The good news is that as an individual you have the power to control most of your choices and, therefore, the impact you create: from where you live to what you buy, eat, and use to light your home to where and how you vacation, to how you shop or vote, you can have global impact.  Did you know that 25 percent of Western pharmaceuticals are derived from flora that comes from the Amazon rainforest? And that less than one percent of these tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientists? These numbers suggest that we all have a large (and growing) personal stake in the health and vitality of places far and near. In addition to protecting biodiversity (and inspiring medicine), rainforests are also excellent carbon sinks. Bottom line: It benefits everyone on the planet to help keep our wild spaces alive and growing.”

Like all big projects we need to understand the total picture, and then we can break it down into smaller segments, and be able to do our part to prolong our resources.  No one of us can save the whole world, but by all of us helping out a bit we can make a difference.  I found some interesting things to consider. Which is greener, a commercial car wash or DIY? The answer: Go with the pros. Commercial car washes require an average of about 45 gallons of water per car, whereas home washers typically use between 80 and 140 gallons, according to the trade group International Carwash Association.   And here I thought I was indulging in a luxury and all the time I was saving the planet.

I also found that even simple things make a difference such as using a manual can opener. Electric can openers require more resources to build, and take up more space in landfills than old-fashioned models. Typical 175-watt brands use .01 to .18 kWh per month, for an energy cost of about one cent. That doesn’t sound like much, but if every person in America used one, that would be 36 to 648 million kWh of power, costing us $36 million.

This next thing is a bit gross.  Clean the World is a non-profit organization that combats preventable disease in developing countries by gathering used soap, sanitizing it and redistributing it in other parts of the world. When it’s recycled, used soap is kept out of the groundwater and helps stop the spread of disease.  Clean The World works with hotels to get most of its soaps, but it accepts donations from individuals as well.

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