Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Daytime TV

My wife put a TV in my office, but it's only hooked up for basic cable, which means I've got no news channels. So right now, Maury Povich is doing his "who's-your-baby-daddy" shtick, featuring people so jaw-droppingly stupid as to recall the famous words of Oliver Wendell Holmes: "Three generations of imbeciles are enough."

Seriously, these people are so repulsively scummy, they give trailer trash a bad name. They don't need counseling, they need to be spayed. And the fact that there is a nationally syndicated show devoted to chronicling their sordid affairs (one would say "scandals," except they lack the minimal semblance of human dignity necessary to be scandalized) makes me feel like I'm watching the prequel to Idiocracy.

In Ars Poetica, Aristotle stipulated that tragedy always involves the downfall of the noble. Which is to say, only the lives of the great are worth the effort of chronicling for public consumption; there is nothing timeless, nothing civilizing, in tawdry squalor. To sit in front of a TV filling your brain with utter junk -- Maury Povitch's ritualized confrontation between two women engaged in what can only be called competitive whoredom -- is to debase yourself.

I'm not a snob, and I'm not worried about offending anyone by writing this, for the simple reason that no literate person could be fan of the Povitch show. If you're smart enough to read, you're smart enough to be disgusted by this televised scumfest. It makes Days of Our Lives seem sophisticated by comparison.

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