Lets take a trip back to the 16th century in England, shall we? A place where physical and mental disproportion were accepted like a 16-year-old with a fake ID standing in line for Berghain. The ‘Freak Show’ was a popular form of entertainment for the masses, featuring bizarre undocumented conditions. P.T. Barnum was a sort of an early Simon Cowell, who was massively profiting from these unwilling contestants of his well received exploitations. Human zoo’s even existed at Bedlam mental asylum. It was the wealthy’s method of reassurance because they felt superior, especially when compared to the mentally ill and disfigured. Sadly nowadays, the idea of a human zoo has evolved much further into the rich blood veins of society. But, in a more ego inflated display of hopeful camera time by throwing themselves in front of a symbolic bus for fifteen minutes, for a crack at that coveted price of worthless screen time in the format of reality television.
In hindsight, the reaction to abnormalities were a sort of metaphorical caricature of our social condition. The early stages of anthropology would be similar to Jacques Lacan’s mirror stage. Lacan stated that at an infant stage, we pass through a recognition of external imaging and thus plant the concept of ‘I’. Essentially, the first natural step after any discovery of self would be reflecting outwards and projecting the empathy we feel onto those around us. So, even if it takes a while, eventually traumatic events can allow us to hold up a mirror to ourselves as the “freaks” for ever allowing an uneducated lack of empathy to entertain the masses. Believe it or not folks, people with flaws are the same flawed creatures as us. Nobody is perfect.
But, in Reality TV, ladies and Gentlemen, you can marvel at the participants in this painstaking delusional format.
Who can deny the misery of reality TV? It’s everywhere. Don’t lie people, we know some of you want the Kardashians. You bitch and whine, but you need them on a drip-feed. I can feel your baited breath attempting to utter one of their names every single painful second, we’re looking at this 15-25 demographic. I mean who cares about the effect of reality TV, anyway? Does anyone know if Kylie actually has had her boobs enlarged or what? We think she has, but we worry more of the affect this has on the young.
We condemn and adore these figurines, undeniably. You can’t ignore the domination of the Kardashians on our waking life, plastering the headlines, advertisements, posturing in the popular mainstream celebrity culture, they are everywhere. This culture has brought us a number of unwanted viruses. Lip injections, fillers and ass implants. Is this something that we need to brighten up our miserable lives? But, are these meaningless icons really the one’s to blame? Sometimes it seems like they may have struck a big deal with the plastic surgery industry, right?
Don’t hate the player, hate the game. They are raking it in! Momager, Kris Jenner has reportedly just offered to purchase baby “Dream” from Blac Chyna for $4 million. That’s small change for them and it shows the power of the Kardashian’s and what a successful reality TV empire can really bring. Trust Kris to take care of that mess, poor Rob, he didn’t even see it coming. Kris is a strong mother.
But, let’s jump back to the start of Big Brother. The dystopian future telling novel turned TV show. The sentient house was the definition of a mad social science experiment. I mean it was dull, nonetheless, started off quietly innocent at the same time, despite also being super creepy. Think of it as a paradoxial show for the masses. “Big Brother is always watching” uttered atonally as ten guys and gals shuffle into a controlled house. Water, electricity and overall freedom controlled by a voyeuristic landlord, seeing many varying levels of personalities clashing for our entertainment. Maybe, we should rig GoPro’s around the house and watch ourselves? And then, see what we might learn. Zzzzzzzz.
This big original creation by Endemol, was and is a boring show that’s quickly transformed to that nauseous reality that it still is today. Almost as if in that same vein of sweaty dread of realisation after taking a bad pill in some shoddy rave, with a locked jaw and whispering to your wide eye’d pupilled friend, “Hey man, you feeling anything, yet?”
Ugh, this show is painstakingly bad. But, with the constant surveillance, eviction and social pressure creates a breeding ground for cancerous television. Somewhere along the way, we have been left with a terminal fun-house, that’s oh so boring. Poor George Orwell, he must truly be shifting around in his grave right now. Orwell’s intelligent commentary has rot, leaving us with nothing but his bloated corpse. Or is it Big Brother’s corpse?
So, lets now enter the “Ministry of Truth” to discover the obscurity of our cultural lens. Get ready to go back to school, totalitarian style. After all 2 + 2 = 5. Tomoaski Hamatsu known as Nasubi (Japanese for “Eggplant”) was a TV contestant for a one man, sociopathic experiment and believe me it’s about to get a whole lot weirder than a talking house.
Nasubi was blindfolded, driven to an undisclosed location and stripped naked for his “show business related job”. It all sounds just as legit as “I don’t know”, a bare room with one whirring camera, taut tripod, angled at a couch.
Despite being incredibly apprehensive as any one would be, in response to a producer barking commands like a war criminal. Nasubi was told until winning ¥1 million (US$10,000) in sweepstakes, he would have to survive through the winning’s that he was left with.
335 days elapsed until Nasubi eventually won, if you can call that winning. His still naked and malnourished body, surviving on mostly plain rice (at least, it wasn’t plastic rice). Due to his limited resources, he was forced to cook the rice with plastic sweet containers for months on end. So, no doubt, there was plastic fumage still, though. At the end of the gruelling stretch, the producers crawled into his den to awaken him.
The lighthearted packaging and distressing subject matter really twists your view of the world into a Lynchian nightmare. Animalistically tensed, sleeping on the floor, Nasubi is surrounded by crew who sporadically burst party poppers into his frightened face. Only in Japan would this be acceptable. He is blindfolded one more time, before taken into a large audience filled studio, silent, just watching him. He enters another box, centre stage of a set. Truly believing that he had been tricked into moving location, which was something they did to him during the course of the show . In fact, they moved him to Korea without his consent or knowledge. Playing dangerous games. God knows how they were even allowed to create this show, but it sure would allow for the imagination to run wild. Bizarre.
Literally shattering his reality, the box he had called home just short of a full year, fell down. Revealing all to the audience, this long torment had amounted to a scared, naked, Japanese man cowering like a timid King Kong. The entire series ‘Nasubi’ was under the impression this would be edited and broadcast after winning. In fact, he had become the biggest Japanese TV star of 2001-2002. His diaries discussing his time locked away from the outside world, are now best sellers. Oh and did we mention that not even a penny of it went to Nasubi. Talk about a breach of the Geneva convention.
What we do at the mercy of cameras is nothing short of insanity. Is is a form of transcendence? I’m sorry, but we’re too far inside, to ever back off now.
Baudrillard was a French philosopher that encapsulated the foundation needed to lay my theory to an ideological reality or even an organic progression to our current image of what is in fact, “real”. This augmented attempt of representation is described by Baudrillard as such – “The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth—it is the truth which conceals that there is none. The simulacrum is true”.
This translates to the replacement of meaning and whats “real” with symbols and signs, representing a true “profound reality”.
Basically, paving the way for further distortion. A perversion copy attaches itself onto the earnest attempt of summarising truth. The further we enter this system of deformed abstraction, the less candid suggestions of what’s real takes precedent. Of course, the only outcome is “simulation” at this point, there is no need at subtle depiction and therefore, our journey can be deemed an unsympathetic reflection of sorts.
The stars are bait for the deceptive realities. Why? No, not the sun silly, because of money and lack there of. Simple.
Let’s take a huge stab in the dark here and make the claim that many reality stars come from a place of insecurity. Also, having a narcissistic trait helps, plus a load of time on their hands without any particular craft of talent either, so these personalities are being paid to be “socialites”. Or shall we call them parasites? Let’s talk about the “socialite” reality star. Their lack of destination in life, means they aimlessly wonder, filling their time until death with Jimmy Choo’s, Snapchat videos and ultimately pleasing journalists for being the content of lacklustre celebrity fodder. This is an unsustainable way to live, like child labour slavery, except that they’re being paid and making big money to act out a fake reality. They later become this farcical lifestyle, which praises unnecessary consumerism and then communicates it to the youth of our world. This isn’t good! This bodes well for anyone wishing to advertise via these socialites, though. Setting the next trends. Don’t get us started on “eyebrows”.
Unlike, the regular folk with a natural, resenting ambition to these fame sponges, they must accept a hollow search for fufillment within these caricatures of reality TV. Surely there is a reason why they become a grotesque version of what they once were, if they would ever subscribe to this fake reality.
We’re pretty sure that isn’t a result of the gym, if you have an ass implant. Boil it down and what you have is an explicit template for human behaviour that’s distorted by the evil lens of reality television stars conquering a hole in the celeb market.
This background noise of television culture coined in the early “noughties” (00’s) acts like an easy one way conversation. Or does it? This is programming designed to make you feel more intelligent, more insecure and pacified to the social constructs that spiralled out of control, for some impressionable minds to be strapped up to, held open with clamps salivated with the occasional drip of blinking solution, like ‘Clockwork Orange’.
The problem is trying to relate to ordinary people coming across like some out of touch humanoids, that are attempting to extract everything profitable from being a “pariah”. The minds that are truly affected, come across as leaches devoid of redeeming any purity, for example, when you see that their lips are similar to that of Donald Duck.
S0, when the Kardashians have a moment of family dysfunction, they love each other because in the end, love conquers all and family is the key to all our happiness. Wrong! I have a memo from Paul McCartney, money buys love, happiness and a secure retirement plan to prevent the stress from killing us, before I run out of food money. TV loves exposing these moments because people really buy into it. It plays into insecurity and plants a vicious addiction to thrive or die in. More importantly, these exploits are making the subjects’ a massive living and who if any of us, can say that we don’t understand the selling of our own integrity to keep on keeping up with the Kardashians? Well, plenty of people would never ever go on reality television.
Death, the acknowledgement of it and understanding that “nothing in life is promised but death”. Thanks for that one, Kanye. He’s got our back on this one. In the end, we are all grasping at some loose sense of immortality. The worst thing most of us can imagine is dying and after that we are forgotten, almost as if we never even existed in the first place.
Unlike us mindless worker ants, who have daily soul killing jobs, necessary chores and grinding out funds, the reality stars have events to be at. Usually it’s just to drink, to be seen and to be in the presence of mortals. But, they must get kind of bored. Sitting on their piles of cash, finding no purpose and blowing it on superficial things in a hope to grasp onto something tangible and even enlightening.
Imagine completing Grand Theft Auto V, then having to spend the rest of your existence with the cheat codes on. It gets extremely boring, extremely fast.
For any actual transcendence, the stars must break away from their oppressors that promised them the very freedom that they find themselves alien to. The big stars, paid a price to have it so nice. The ol’ sign with the devil routine. The double edged sword is the loop of which they trap themselves in. Now they cannot get out. That’s also the addiction of being a personality for others, with no talent to speak of, so of course, this may also be soul destroying.
When you are young for example, you might revel in eating microwave food and pot noodles. Eventually you do realise that this is not sustainable for living a long life. You learn about MSG and how noodles are empty calories and that they’re terribly crappy for you, like a plate of pasta, Kellogg’s Cornflakes or Beer hops. This is cheap, unhealthy crap and its still the social conditioning con of the masses, which made it popular in the first place.
It is maturing that allows us to grow and reality TV is not about growth, but repetition of all that is wrong. This timeless lapse works like an LSD time prison nightmare of which the cameras are metaphors for prison bars. Just in case, you didn’t get that.
But, the most important factor is the legacy they will leave for their families. Outside of whether this is a negative or positive legacy, they are promised glamour, sex, drugs and whole lot of immortality in undying content. No matter how cringeworthy it really is.
Micheal Jackson, although the greatest artist of all time, he was ultimately a prisoner to the immense talent that made him. The same talent that made him millions, was what the dark powers wished to use to control him, eventually they did. Or did they?
We know that he wasn’t free, even with all that money. Was he ever allowed to be himself, unless he locked himself up in Neverland? He was a mesh of parts by the end, because his reality was churned through the blender of establishment run pop culture. Had Michael had enough? We think that he had, had enough of it all.
Our beloved puppets of the $20million dollar club, many of them have been seen suffering at the hands of their fame.
Michael was not a reality TV star, he was the greatest artist of all time, because of that influence and all the love and good things that Michael did, this wasn’t the message that the establishment wanted him to send out, anymore.
When you unknowingly sell your soul to the Devil. You are now their property. Step out of line and they might try to call you a paedophile, raid your house and or say that you are “crazy”, call you a “looney tune”.
Some of us don’t want to do the devil’s dirty work, no matter how much money they would throw at us. But, for these reality TV stars, these poor souls with no talent, they need to bare their souls and they become pawns, pawns on a chess board. Or they get used and spat out like foul tasting food, never to be heard from again. Some have even gone the route of suicide, like Lil’ Chris.
So, what have we learnt? Quite a bit, but many were afraid to put it in an article. In saying that, some didn’t know much about this at all.
We’d recommend all parents to monitor what your children watch, as this new generation have been exposed to too much garbage entertainment and fake realities. We will only know of its major consequence many years down the line. Frankly, we are already seeing some of its early effects, through social conditioning via reality TV.
So, just don’t let reality television culture and lies destroy your children or teens, before they even become adults. This wave of reality TV culture and the effects of it, will only be defined in due time.
<Story by Get Carter>
Featured Image Credit: Static1
Editor: The Narrator