Reality TV?

I watched the Rachel Maddow Show for the first time in a while last night.  I have to say it was very entertaining. I loved it. However it also felt just a little bit off to me.

It strikes me that shows like this are maybe a new form of reality TV.  Shows like this have become our new entertainment.  People watch them because they are fun and entertaining and fill empty places in their lives.  This is what entertainment is for isn’t it?

Human beings are such a nut jobs. We all love to see ourselves as moral and just and great and noble compared to the horrible “others” out there.  This is maybe part of what is going on in shows like the Rachel Maddow Show. She is constantly showing us how good we liberals are, how noble we are and how horrible the conservatives and their cohorts are. 

There’s something a little suspect about all this if you ask me.  

Sure, shows like Rachel Meadow are really necessary.  They reveal the corruption and illegality, not to mention the total insanity and craziness of the Trump administration.  And don’t get me wrong, this kind of show is valuable and necessary.  I think what Maddow is saying on her show is right on. 

But it bothers me that I’m also really entertained by Rachel Maddow.  That I really enjoy her show.

I read Gail Collin’s New York Times column this morning. She also has a good handle on the insanity and craziness of the whole Trump administration but she expresses it in a different way.  Her irony and satire reveal the craziness of the world we are now living in.  I wonder, are we now beyond straight journalism to convey what is happening out there?

It seems to me that maybe Gail Collins’s take on the world is a little more sane than Rachel Maddow’s.  Maybe.  

As you can see I’m pretty ambivalent with all of this, beginning with the fact that I really like the Rachel Maddow show and at the same time I feel there is something odd and a little wrong about it.

I have no doubt that the Maddow show clearly and accurately presents what is happening out there in a way that makes it more understandable and that this is valuable for a lot of reasons in this crazy world we live in.

And then there is this crazy world that we live in.

I am struck again and again about what a crazy world this actually is. And what crazy nut jobs all of us humans actually are, and that certainly includes me. Being human and being alive in this time bubble we live in right now is really an odd experience if you ask me.  And sometimes it feels more odd to me than at others.  This morning was one of those mornings.

Just this morning, in reading the NY Times for a couple of hours, I read about starvation In Yemen, the insanity of the Trump administration , the Cambodian genocide of the 1970s, and the impending extinction of humanity and civilization due to human greed, stupidity and indifference.  All in one quick reading session.

I really hope that we can move on to something else pretty soon.  I’m getting awfully tired of gloom and doom and despair.

But I’m also afraid that gloom and doom are far more entertaining than hope and cheer.  Doom always sells better than optimism.

Thank God for the novelist Kim Stanley Robinson. He is one of the few who can still be optimistic in the face of all of this.  Robinson sees the world in all its ugliness and despair and complexity, yet his novels all somehow end in hope.

Here is a quote from a New Yorker article on Robinson that pretty much expresses the theme of all of his novels:

“In an era filled with complacent dystopias and escapist apocalypses, Robinson is one of our best, bravest, most moral, and most hopeful storytellers. It’s no coincidence that so many of his novels have as their set pieces long, punishing treks through unforgiving country with diminishing provisions, his characters exhausted and despondent but forcing themselves to slog on. What he’s telling us over and over, like the voice of the Third Wind whispering when all seems lost, is that it’s not too late, don’t get scared, don’t give up, we’re almost there, we can do this, we just have to keep going.”

I guess we just have to keep on going.

And I strongly suspect I’ll keep on watch Rachel Maddow.  It really is a great show.


The image at the top of this page is Gothic Creek in Gothic Valley
near Crested Butte, Colorado

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