In Defense of Shitty TV

I watch a healthy amount of what most would call shitty TV. A lot of people feel embarrassed about this. Just as many people flaunt their ignorance about bad TV as though it were some kind of merit badge. “What is a Kardashian?” they ask. “There’s really a show where a lady brushes her teeth with urine? You actually wasted 22 minutes of your life watching that?”

Yes, I did. And I am not ashamed of that.

I used to tell people it was because I spent the day at my intellectual profession and "zoning out’ is a crucial state for your brain to be in. I know that there are better ways to achieve the “health benefits” of a Jersey Shore marathon like… yoga or meditating- but does anyone really feel as relaxed as they do after they get off the couch following three Law and Order: SVU episodes in a row?

Another way to think about watching shitty TV is like it is a story problem in math. If you watch the news or “intellectual” TV they give you a bunch of information and tell you how you should think about it. When you watch The Real World and see MTV beep out the word “tampon” it might get you thinking about feminism and why we’re so uncomfortable with the actual name of a hygiene product that we’re housing it with “shit” and “fuck” and “cunt.”

When you watch reality TV or scripted dramas you are watching people live their lives without commentary. You have conversations with your friends about whether it was totally unethical of Bachelor Ben to go skinny dipping with one of his ladies in waiting. This stretches your critical thinking muscle a lot more than 60 minutes does.

The thing is, people don’t really value critical thinking that much, they value facts. This is why “news junkies” read the paper and watch MSNBC so that they can participate in conversations about things that happened and pepper the conversation with details and related stories. This is fine, I’m sure there’s a great philosophical argument out there for being up on the world but I value the ability to process all those facts more than knowing the ‘right’ ones.

Life Cycle of This Blog

Watch Jersey Shore.

Think about determinism. Think about the arbitrariness of fame. Think about racism in white culture. Think about informal fallacies and their relationship to cultural stereotypes.

Blog something like Five Things About Free Will I Learned From Snooki.

1. Snooki was destined to want to bang a guido via her upbringing (nature vs. nurture muuhhhhfuckkkkkas).

2. While this may be true of many guidettes, Snooki was charasmatic enough to garner millx followers and her brand has ~*maximum rebloggabiilty*~

3. Snooki wears fuzzy slippers because she knew via her appearance + our culture that she could go farther as the cute/non-threatening one who wore weird pajamas vs being the “sex object” (JWOWW). Her untraditional beauty (4’9”, jaundice) requires her to be ~*totes likeable*~ vs. Jenni who is aggressive and mean but we all want to bang her.

4. The Situation’s 6 pack (is it more than that?) evolved from his insecurity. By creating a body that would be viewed one-dimensionally as ‘lust object’ and constantly lifting his shirt mid-conversation to bring the focus back to this he ensures that there can never be a ‘question’ about him as a human being (versus a character) because the only analysis/line of reasoning one arrives at is “is Mike a lust object,” and the answer is a concrete yes. On the other hand, Snooki’s poof immediately identifies her with a niche audience that will not question her values, because they are shared. To the rest of the world, she’s just another girl with a poof. She may be inconsequential, but whatever judgment we throw her way falls on the shared shoulders of every ‘girl who wears a poof.’

5. If Snooki had free will she’d be married to some five foot nine Italian dude who wanted to pump her full of tomatoes and garlic and shallots and semen and tiny Italian-American babies and whateverthefuckelse. But these desires were implanted in her by her culture so even if she makes this choice freely, the desires which lead to the choice were determined by an outside force.

Kind of hate myself.

Blog something about hating myself. Receive a moderate amount of Tumblr feedback. Receive two text messages the next day saying, “Hey, are you chill…?”

Think about quitting blogging.

Write something about quitting blogging. Receive an atypical 2 likes. Worry that rather than sympathizing these people actually want me to quit. Don’t check Tumblr for three days. Pretend I’m over it.

Snooki post gets tons of hits. Feel sad that my life is about writing Snooki posts. Write about feeling sad that my life is about writing Snooki posts.

Relevant Tumblr ‘likes’ angsty Snooki post. Feel irrationally affirmed. Text the other Lolz Doll something weird like, “Omg the Village Voice liked our post, stay strong bb.” Blog mojo restored.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Sorites Paradox in Action: Are you a Douche?


There is an unsolveable problem in philosophy called the Sorites paradox. Basically the dramz is that we aren’t able to draw a line between a singular object and a collection of many objects. Like, when if I throw my shirt on the floor at the end of the day, there’s a shirt on the floor. What if I leave it there and then next day I add another shirt to it? Is it now a pile of clothes? What if it was three shirts? Four? Or, if I have a pile of sand on my desk, and take grains away one by one, at which point is it no longer a pile?
 
Anyways, the real relevance of this problem is in figuring out whether or not someone is a douche. Seriously. Is it one Ed Hardy shirt? Two? Do you have to gag [via cologne] when you walk by them, or is just smelling it enough? What does someone have to do to be elevated from douche to douche train?
 
Take a look at this list of “douchey” characteristics:
 
-Wears sunglasses indoors or at night
-Tight polo shirts
-Wears “a shirt before the shirt”
-Says the phrase “shirt before the shirt”
-Tanning
-Refer to things you don’t like as “gay”
-Ed Hardy apparel/accessories
-Wears wifebeaters out
-Shirtless profile pics
-Poses in pics by flashing the peace sign, backwards, non-ironically
-Cartoon flames, on any object you own
-Internet profile uses such narcissistic phrases as “getting that cash” or anything of the melodramatic “I just love people authentically” variety

We can agree that ONE of the following does not make a douche. But is it two? Three? Where is the line between innocuous sunglass wearing and becoming the mayor of doucheville [via foursquare]?

Just want to quantify the essence of “douche.”

Want to take a crack at it?