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Argument Against Reality Television

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What pleasure do you get from watching a group of people humiliate
themselves in the name of television? Media both in the UK and around
the world seem to have "discovered" that so-called "reality" shows are
very profitable, resulting in a growing string of such shows in recent
years. Although not all are successful, many do achieve significant
popularity and cultural prominence. That does not mean, however, that
they are good for society or that they should be aired. Can you
honestly say, that after absorbing the reality rubbish, you have
learned something?

Educational, stimulating, witty, are all adjectives you would not
associate with reality television. Reality T.V is a case of vegetating
in front of the screen and glazing gormlessly at a group of
half-hearted celebrities as they involve themselves in… a deep
philosophical conversation. Not only does Reality Television reflect
appallingly on our media culture, but it corrupts the mind of
youngsters, giving them twisted views on society. What person are you
becoming if you are sitting there daydreaming about who is going to be
"evicted" from Big Brother? Well, you're the one the needs a snap back
to reality…

One of the attractions of reality television is the supposed "reality"
of it - unscripted and unplanned situations and reactions. One of the
ethical problems of reality television is the fact that it isn't
nearly as "real" as it pretends to be. At least in dramatic shows one
can expect the audience to understand that what they see on the screen
doesn't necessarily reflect the reality of the actors' lives; the
same, however, cannot be said for heavily edited and con...


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...tem from the increasing separation we experience from
others around us. The more distant we are from each other as
individuals, the more readily we can objectify each other and fail to
experience sympathy and empathy when others around us suffer. The fact
that we are witnessing events not in front of us but rather on
television, where everything is has an unreal and fictional air about
it, probably aids in this process as well.

I'm not saying that you should never watch reality TV programming, but
the motivations behind being a viewer are ethically suspect. Instead
of passively accepting whatever media companies try to feed you, it
would be better to take some time to reflect on why such programming
is made and why you feel attracted to it. Perhaps you will find that
your motivations themselves are not so attractive.


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