To My Precious Baby Belles:
By the time the two of you are able to read this letter, I fervently hope that my prediction regarding reality TV being the death of civilization has not come true. Alas, my hopes are not high as I can now turn to any channel on the television and see more vapid folk willing to debase themselves for a little bit of fame and even less money.
I pray that—instead of the harbinger of doom I fear it is—this most base form of “entertainment” is yet another aspect of Darwinism where the strong of the species are able to resist the urge to enter a televised bikini whipped cream fight for a year’s supply of free Hooter’s hot wings while the weak put themselves out of their misery by plummeting to their deaths during a naked rock climb for the chance to win $5,000.00.
In the hope that you can learn from my mistakes, I will divulge that I am guilty of watching the first little pebble in what turned out to be a horrific rock slide: MTV’s The Real World, New York. In the beginning, I didn’t really understand what I was watching or why I was watching it. Then, without realizing it, the characters operating in their narcissistic little worlds and dramas slowly but surely gripped my interest. I cared whether or not the Southern Girl and the Model/Beefcake Dummy got together and I am ashamed to admit it.
Do you know what snapped me out of my drooling trance? I recall watching a girl—who I seriously doubt was 21—either passively or aggressively trying to kill herself with alcohol. On one occasion, she drank so much that she ended up in the hospital and had to have her stomach pumped. The poor girl’s promising young life was circling the drain. Her slow death was being aired for profit and people were watching it for entertainment. No more.
We have plenty of disgusting fare today. You can tune in to watch a man and his harem as he allegedly searches for “love” (re: ratings). The women, lacking even one drop of self esteem or conscience, scratch, bite and pull hair to be the last ho standing. One of the many things I don’t understand about this abysmal premise is what woman in God’s name wants a man who you can pretty much guarantee has slept with all 25 (whatever the number) chicks in his trollop collection in a span of weeks? Honey, if your poor parents haven’t disowned you as a slattern they ought to whip your hide clean off.
You also get to watch a big ‘ol pile of Yankees drink, fight, drink, tan and drink, drink, drink in their icky little house on the fabulous beaches of New Jersey. Before you get your shorts all in a twist, not all Yankees are Snoopy (or whatever she calls herself) just like all Southerners aren’t Ernest T. Bass—but the show is a bit of a culture shock for those of us below the Mason-Dixon Line. Actually, I probably shouldn’t have used the word “culture” anywhere in reference to this show.
One of the multitudinous horrors about the aforementioned program is that every “character” has essentially grown up watching reality TV and they know all about the secret formula: The one character who acts the most crazy and/or the most stupid is going to be the standout who can leverage a show of their very own. Accordingly—from what I can tell in the few clips I have seen—everyone in that house is trying their damndest to out-dumbass each other.
I can already see you rolling your teen-aged eyes at me and saying, “Get to the point, Mom.”
Well, here’s my point: You are brilliant. You are loving and caring and compassionate. You are also honest and not afraid to give your opinion. You are brave and loyal and you help those who need help. You are faithful. You are well mannered. You know your worth and expect—no, demand—the respect you show others in return. You are beautiful, but you know full well that you don’t have to rely on your beauty for achievement—matters won by beauty are worth less than matters won by effort and hard work.
How do I know all of this? Because I am your mother and as long as I am on this earth, I am uploading all of this information into your sweet little heads.
I most sincerely hope that you don’t watch reality TV when you grow up, but if you catch the occasional clip, I hope that you are able to feel pity for those who view a drunken cat fight in a bar as just another Friday night and those who feel that flushing their dignity down the toilet is entertainment.
Furthermore, if I am alive and I catch you even thinking about applying to one of those shows, I don’t give a toot how old you are—I will tear a strip in your butt so that the ability to sit down is only a distant memory. Also, don’t think you’re going to get off easy if I am dead and gone. I promise to haunt you to the end of your days and you won’t be looking forward to our reunion at the Pearly Gates, either.