Real housewives: my week in popular culture.

21 Jul

I didn’t watch The Shire. I’ve never looked at Being Lara Bingle. I hate those shows where they have someone cruel on the panel to belittle contestants and make them cry.

As a critic of the reality TV genre  I’d be a failure. I can’t step far enough away from the emotions aroused in me. If I ridicule I feel guilty. After all, these are  human beings making a spectacle of themselves. I have on occasion made a spectacle of myself, though not, thankfully, on television. I might do it again. So who am I to sneer?

Which brings me to Real Housewives of Atlanta. Last weekend, when the infant I was minding had an afternoon nap, I took advantage of his parents’ Foxtel and trawling, came across housewife Kim and her boyfriend Kroy.

Actually, Kim didn’t start out with Kroy. She was finishing up a relationship with someone known as Big Poppa, whom I never got to see. Big Poppa lavished Kim with everything she could possible want, including two exceptionally pneumatic breasts and a feckin’ great diamond. But Kim isn’t the type to be satisfied by the superficial. Having all the stuff didn’t do it for her. Big Poppa was not emotionally (or reading between the lines, sexually) available, and Kim was over him.

And then along came Kroy. No, I have not misspelled his name. Football player. Cute. Shy. Within weeks, Kim and Kroy were pregnant. In three back-to-back episodes I watched them move house, give birth and get married. Kim gave birth in her blonde wig and full makeup. I worried for the baby, trying to latch onto those pneumatic breasts. I don’t know how she changed his diapers with those false nails. I don’t know why I sat there watching this unfolding spectacle, except that I was enthralled in the worst of ways, and I could not look away.

Luckily for me, just as we moved onto Housewives of Orange County the infant woke, and released me from the spell.

Watching this kind of television leaves me feeling as if I’ve scarfed down vile junk food because I’ve let myself get to a stage of hunger where anything will do, and I should really put my finger down my throat and hawk it all back up again if I know what’s good for me.

After watching Housewives, I realise I avoid reality TV not for aesthetic or intellectual reasons, I wish that were the case, but because it makes me far too emotionally uncomfortable.  I cringe and sweat and chew my fingers, and cover my eyes and put my hands over my ears, and want desperately to do something to stop the participants from revealing their tender underbellies. Be more careful with yourselves, I want to shout. Don’t show all this vulnerability to the world! People will laugh at you and mock you and look down on you! You will be judged, oh, how you will be judged!

But none of them seem to care. Indeed, they frequently enter into adversarial public exchanges with their critics, and thrive. Obviously, I need to drink a cup of cement and harden up.

On the other hand, one thing I have learned from the popular series Downton Abbey (which I watch because my household does and it would be churlish of me to absent myself from a bonding ritual and anyway, it is FICTION) is that there’s always been women who HAVE IT ALL. Wealthy women may not have been allowed employment outside of their stately home, but governing the household, which was their task, must have been akin to being CEO of a small to middling business. Add to this birthing the next generation, demanding social duties, responsibilities to the poor, dress fittings, spousal support, and marrying your daughters well, these upper-class women had careers, husbands, families, social lives and the wealth to engage all the assistance they required to maintain the lifestyle. Just look at this picture of Lady Cora.

Nothing much has changed, except having it all is no longer an ambition realised only by the well-bred. It’s far more egalitarian, however, the need for an income to support the lifestyle remains fundamental. You probably can’t have resident childcare if you live in public housing, for example, unless you have your mum or gran living with you and you don’t have to pay them to mind the children while you go to work.

I have to confess that I was almost banished from the Downton Abbey ritual when upon watching Captain Crowley (Crawley?) releasing his fiancée from her vows because the war had left him unable to be a full man, I laughed like a horse.

I would not have done this, of course, had Downton Abbey been reality TV. Even if they’d used the same mawkish language (and of course they would, probably worse) I would not, could not have laughed. I likely would have bawled.

I prefer the protection of fiction when I consume television for relaxation. I want a resolution to the drama, and catharsis. I don’t want to have to think about anybody’s real life issues going on and on and on until the show is cancelled.  I don’t want to watch someone weeping as they endure a verbal onslaught from a self-important celebrity judge of whatever.  And honestly, the thoughts and concerns of some of these reality stars are, well, numbingly, numbingly banal. I can only hope the taste for this unmediated drivel decreases in time. Otherwise we might find ourselves regressed to public hangings.

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72 Responses to “Real housewives: my week in popular culture.”

  1. Elisabeth July 21, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    I’ve just been to a conference on autobiography and biography where some of the folks present theorise about reality TV as an attempt by some people to narrate their lives, to tell their story. It might be cringe worthy now, but it seems for some it has a validity that might become more clear with time.

    I’m with you on the cringe factor and how awful it can make us feel to witness the humiliation and the seeming blind disregard for other people’s sensibilities, but maybe underneath it there’s more to this than meets the eye.

    My biggest concern is the commercial aspect of it. That the powers that be exploit those who willingly expose their underbellies in this blunt unmediated way, but to me they are not very different from people like the Gina Rhineharts of this world, who try to hide but in their desperation to make more money and gain more power expose themselves in the spaces between.

    Like

    • Ray (novelactivist) July 21, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

      Elisabeth,

      This makes sense, but are their stories worth telling? Ordinary lives, ordinary stories. Bogan lives, bogan stories.

      How do these ordinary stories uplift us or tell us anything new? When the ordinary can become a celebrity, it cheapens what celebrity used to be about – the recognition of an extraordinary life.

      In the case of The Shire, which I’ve had the misfortune of being aware of, the behaviour of some of the cast is reprehensible and should be subject to condemnation. Vain and vacuous.

      Like

    • Jennifer Wilson July 21, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

      I see how it can be understood as a need to narrate a life, but the lack of insight or even curiosity about anything other than the superficial makes the attempt really sad. I think I agree in part with Ray, except I don’t think I would describe the reality stars as ordinary. I think ordinary lives can be honourable and affecting. There’s something about the utter lack of interest in anything other than the surface, which is then worshipped, that is really unnerving.

      Like

  2. annodyne July 21, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    I know nothing about The Shire, not a thing, and have avoided all other ‘reality’ TV.
    That ‘cartoon’ is AWFUL. I have never cooked a chicken in my 63 years. You need to see the poor tortured things strung up for the revolving automatic neck-cutter where the Ingham family make their fortune.
    The disgusting Australians who make their beer money jamming chickens into this machine, are the type of people who watch this (very cheaply produced) TV you deplore.

    With regard to the now universal ‘reality’ TV, I would like to remind everyone that Australia pioneered it years ago with Sylvania Waters
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sylvania_Waters_(TV_series) (and I didn’t watch that either).

    Like

    • helvityni July 21, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

      I’m like you Jen, I can’t bear to be wittness to any aspiring chef being ousted from The Master Chef…I want everybody to be a winner…
      I can’t watch any nature shows either…just as soon the baby birds are ready to leave the nest, a big bad bird comes and eats them….

      Like

      • Jennifer Wilson July 21, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

        Well, I can watch nature shows, except that one where the Orca whale plays catch with the baby seal, that’s a challenge for me.

        Like

        • hudsongodfrey July 21, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

          I can watch most of them except those ones where they dissect the animals. Why anyone would want to watch that?!

          Like

    • Jennifer Wilson July 21, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

      I think I watched a little of Sylvania Waters but I can’t remember it. Did we really pioneer this genre? That doesn’t surprise me!

      Like

    • paul walter July 22, 2012 at 12:08 am #

      Sylvania Waters was reality teev before its time.
      From the bits and pieces I watched, it was to do with a family of nouveau-prosperous bogans living in a new Mac suburb. The alpha male was boorish, the lady of the house anything but (a lady) and the siblings were straight out of American Beauty- it was life as bling.
      All in all, a bastard hybrid of the Adams Family and Donovan and Minogue’s Neighbours.
      Unbelievably, it cracked it in the UK, being partly funded by BBC also, you suspect to pander to offshore prejudices creating a market for such a show. If you think about it, it dealt with the universality of the consumer capitalist mass mentality and intellect,although essentialising it to cultural and racial and gender factors.
      Definitely an arid cultural landscape suitable for sheep.

      Like

      • Jennifer Wilson July 22, 2012 at 7:31 am #

        Life as bling. That phrase is definitive, PW. You’ve encapsulated the whole reality thing.

        Like

      • Hypocritophobe July 22, 2012 at 9:57 am #

        Sylvania Waters was/is and always will be Queensland.

        Australia’s great big theme park.Where everyone can be Pauline Hanson / Jo Bejelke Petersen clones, and feel comfortable in their skin at the same time.
        They now have their perfect leader, and now they shall all live happily ever after…………

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        • Mindy July 22, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

          Sylvania Waters is a suburb in The Shire. The woman from the show was a regular at Southgate shopping centre and once glared at me because I didn’t recognise her (my companion pointed out to me later who she was). At the time Sylvania Waters was on I had no idea where it was or that my husband to be would be from the neighbouring suburb.

          Like

          • samjandwich July 23, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

            Heh, I remember when they were recruiting for that show my mum suggested we apply for it – such a lovely wholesome family we were, both parents public servants, both kids at local public school, scouts, piano lessons, hockey on Saturday mornings, mum running around after kids, dad home from work at 9 o’clock, three scotches then off to bed. Could have killed the whole reality TV genre right then and there! Shame we didn’t do it in retrospect.

            I respected the guy from Sylvania Waters because he had an Iso Rivolta: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iso_Rivolta_IR_300 Transcends boganism well and truly!

            Like

  3. gerard oosterman July 21, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

    I can’t bear watching commercial TV and haven’t for years. Sorry, I do sometimes watch SBS. When an ad comes on I glaze over or have a nano nap. Mind you, the ABC with the silly balloons drifting upwards are almost as bad as Bolt and Ackerman’s television stations.
    Where should I go?
    It’s the Sheep and some others that give enough nutrients to prevent my African violet from wilting.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson July 21, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

      Get DVD’s Gerard. That’s what I do. Have you seen Breaking Bad? I have a feeling you might like it. Oh, BTW I loved your piece on Ikea.

      Like

  4. doug quixote July 21, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    Yes indeed, something like public hangings. And there hasn’t been a good burning at the stake for yoiks.

    Some friends of mine once insisted that I should watch Big Brother; so I did for several mind-numbing hours over a few nights. When almost nothing happened for hours on end.

    No, never reality TV for me, no matter what the provocation. Never.

    PS The cartoon says it all, apart from the time dimension of nothing happening whatsoever.

    Like

    • hudsongodfrey July 21, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

      Get your knitting Dougie we’re off to guillotine some Shakespearian scholars!

      Like

      • doug quixote July 21, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

        Can we maim, mangle and hideously burn a particular troll beyond the recognition of its own mother? can we please??? . . . .

        Scholars just need to open their eyes to the evidence. They have too much personal capital investment in the status quo to see the wood for the trees.

        An example, when discussing the Stratford Man :

        “Shakespeare did receive an excellent education at the King’s New School in Stratford, according to the best evidence available. There, the curriculum included classical history, religion, ethics, logic, rhetoric, public speaking, Roman poetry and drama, the natural sciences, and other subjects taught in Latin by well-trained teachers from Oxford University. Students also studied the New Testament of the Bible in Greek. Because of the broadness and excellence of the education at the Stratford school, its students were extremely well versed in the liberal arts, perhaps even more so than typical college graduates of today.” (Michael J Cummings)

        All utter speculation! “according to the best evidence available” it says : there is no such evidence that the Stratford Man ever attended any school, much less this paragon of schools.

        The rubbish we have to put up with.

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        • hudsongodfrey July 21, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

          Ah there’s not all that much evidence for any of it. I think there’s good speculation that I rather enjoy, and then there’s pig headed pomposity that I detest and in between a few people will have a decent think if only the trolls might abate.

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  5. Marilyn July 21, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    I would suggest for documentary freaks like me Youtube is the best place.

    Simply download to compute as MP4, covert to xvid with iwisoft and watch on big screen TV.

    Currently there is an amazing series of unflinching American Experience from the dust bowl (brilliant), to the Scotsboro 9, Freedom Riders, Reconstruction, Truman, Bombing of Germany and Dresden, lots of Israeli and Palestine docos.

    That is what I do.

    I did though watch The Voice only because I picked Karise Eden at 9.25 pm on the first night and became enchanted with this young woman.

    She won and her wall is now adorned with 6 gold records and a double platinum album which is the biggest selling album in Australia since Pink in 2008.

    In one week she sold 213,000 singles and they all went gold, she broke the Beatles and Bee Gees long standing records in any chart with 6 songs in the top 10 in 1 week, the Beatles managed 3 in 1964 and the Bee Gees in 1979 got 5. (Including the awesome Tragedy).

    Having said that – the Bee Gees are still in the Aria charts after 50 years.

    I also watched the Block rather than watch Uhlmann waffle out his right wing nonsense, some improvement in stories since Leigh Sales came back, 4 Corners is back to best practice, Australian story was brilliant on Monday night.

    SBS had an amazing series about the Indian Ocean countries, there has been brilliant docos. about Empire, and apart from that I am downloading series from
    AMC TV and ITV that we are not getting here and watching them.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson July 21, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

      OK, now I know how to do it, thank you for that tech info Marilyn.I don’t understand any of it but will ask someone to take me through it.
      I watched the Voice once and couldn’t stand Seal or Delta Goodrem or Keith Urban. So that ended it for me.

      And cooking shows infuriate me. I can’t bear them. I never once see one without thinking about how half the world is starving.

      I think Jessie Taylor is a splendid human being. And isn’t 4 Corners this week about Assange?

      Like

      • Marilyn July 21, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

        Yep, and the harassment of anyone who supports him.

        The judges on the Voice didn’t bother me but their techniques as coaches were intriguing.

        Delta was all about Delta and she swamped Rachael and gave her the wrong songs to sing. In the last duet she over sang her and it was not nice.

        Madden was the same, over sang the people and made bad song choices. I mean who the hell would get anyone to sing anything ever sung by bloody Tina Arena and why not tell Sarah De Bono to get rid of the red hair.

        Keith I think is an all round good guy and when he guided Darren Percival and sang that duet in the last show he gave Darren the lead.

        Now Seal with Karise was brilliant, he did not get her to sing one wrongun’.

        And if you want to see them singing Many Rivers to Cross, it was a sheer joy.

        I am a music freak since I first heard Burl Ives, Johnny Cash, Peggy Lee, Lena Horne and the brilliant Marty Robbins when I was a wee girl of 7.

        My father used to tell me if I knew my school work as well as I knew music I would be a genius.

        I am.

        Like

  6. Marilyn July 21, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

    And I absolutely hate Cooking shows but I do like the monster moves simply for the marvel of the engineering involved in moving 700 tonne buildings.

    Like

    • hudsongodfrey July 21, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

      I’m just fascinated by Pawn Stars and my guilty pleasure was Kathy Griffin’s show. Different reasons obviously.

      The funny thing is that while I sometimes don’t mind the pickers and other similar shows, but all the other pawn shop shows are really tawdry and leave me absolutely cold.

      I suspect there’s a line between filming, and I think we’d rightly suspect sometimes contriving interesting events to play into a reality based format and the kind of voyeurism that you get elsewhere. The one’s I hate are the Jersey Shore’s and I imagine this new Shire thing, plus the apprentice or big brother type reality where people are set up to look bad or stupid under pressure. And the one that are about private detectives chasing cheating partners make me really angry.

      The reason that I mentioned Kathy Griffin, My life on the D-List, is that what little I saw of the last season of her show by watching on the internet demonstrated something different and interesting again. She seemed to have figured out how to outsmart the reality genre by presenting a version of herself that is funnier and more entertaining than I we’ve any right to expect reality to be and which isn’t undignified so that you’re made to feel voyeuristic. It’s clever shtick that for once isn’t cringe-worthy and her mother’s good humoured enough to play along.

      Like

      • annodyne July 21, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

        I saw PawnStars once and thought it was set up. Kathy Griffin has a brain. Rare on TV. if you like D-lists you will love my guilty pleasure dlisted.com

        Like

    • Julia August 17, 2012 at 11:06 am #

      The only cooking show I’ve ever enjoyed is the 10 minutes ABC filler Audrey’s Kitchen.
      Not only does she have us doubled up with laughter but her recipes are actually worth trying…unlike the “food”!?! produced on the other zillion spice wielding men-teaching-women-how-to-poison-their-families cooking shows.

      Like

  7. paul walter July 21, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    Its not the dominant medium anymore.
    TV and radio superceded church and the community hall, now its birds of similar feather clamoring aboard pomo lifeboats like NPFS as the mass media Titanic sinks beneath the waves of an irrelevance created by the same techne that until a decade ago made it the new pulpit for all corners of the global village.
    The seems to an underlying question as to what “entertainment “is, what it really does and whose purpose it serves. People no longer sit together about the tv experiencing an event as a group, and required to absorb a message in a social context no longer extant.
    They head off to various locations isolated from others, to fiddle with their texting gadgets, surf the internet, play robo-games or drown in Fauxtel crap.
    Marilyn watches Desperate Housewives, someone else watches the vile thing where they put people on islands and have silly meetings dressed in sarongs by KKK torchlight where they embark on concocted confrontations with each other.
    Meanwhile, Jennifer Wilson subjects herself to the macabre experience of watching Laura Bungle.
    In my quiet place I’m watching the Crows and West Coast footy telecast, while in the sleep-out out the back, grandad and grandma, even more alienated from technology than everyone else, listen to Alan Jones harp on about welfare recipients.
    As Marilyn said, the technology is a revelation and seemingly changing by the second. I cant figure many of the device Ive bought and it reinforces an urge to pop online for some old fashioned company on FB or a favourite blogsite to escape the failure of not coping with some new whizz-bang..We still live in a cognitive community, but you have have the basic nous to understand it and figure what is real from fake- It’s a new landscape.There seem few roadmaps, maybe mindfields of technology and emerging social hierarchies that have to be negotiated. The once ephemeral Simpsons sums it, it is now so ancient it is a marker of the permanent, alienating ephemeral in the cognitive landscape.
    People seek risk minimisation in the familiar, but life always seems to subvert this.

    Like

    • annodyne July 21, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

      on the other hand … when I am watching Le Tour and their helicopter shows me a castle ruin on a pointy mountain, the laptop on my lap lets me search for the name of it and I discovered it’s entire fascinating history – in 1244 10,000 Vatican soldiers besieged the 200 pacifists within and after 2 months of this the pacifists were all burned to death in the valley. Vatican was wiping out the Cathar religion. and then Cadel was wiped out and le Tour wasn’t amusing anymore.

      Like

      • annodyne July 21, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

        Oh My Dawkins! I stopped myself from saying that the Vaticans probably buggered the poor things before killing them. Then when I went to find a decent link, I discovered that the event did indeed actually originate the term ‘buggery’. FFS Onward Christian Soldiers indeed.

        http://www.philipcoppens.com/catharism.html

        cathartic.

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        • hudsongodfrey July 21, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

          Thanks for that Annodyne, I found it most interesting and have spent a full hour reading up on the subject.

          I hope that doesn’t mean I have to give up Pasta :)

          Like

      • doug quixote July 21, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

        What is more, some of those burned to death were probably not even heretics :

        “Kill them all, the Lord will recognise his own”

        – Arnaud, the Cistercian (papal) commander.

        The history of Montsegur and the Perfected Christians is salutory.

        Like

  8. Hypocritophobe July 21, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    98% of these muppets behave differently when the glare of the camera and the audience numbers enter their minds.

    What’s the point?It is as far from real as is possible to get.
    I demand a reality TV tax.Now.

    Like

  9. paul walter July 21, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

    Its on add thing, an epiphany of sorts, an eclectic little bunch of us are here talking about media and peoples heads and how it works.In this new landscape, in a way, our erstwhile protagonists, the Tankard Reist crew up the road, seem oddly close, compared to many,”out there”.
    Re LeTour, succinctly put. Where is the modern Carcassonne, who the the New T’ Renceval and who the brutal new De Montfort?
    What will become of the peturbed chatelaine or new Helen, watching from the ramparts, fearing for her entourage as,
    “Princes captains duelled”?

    Like

  10. paul walter July 21, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

    Remarkable things the new widgets, just replaying “Boys of Summer”, an old rock classic. But it bears terrible truth within, within the new context thrown up by the upheavals of intervening decades, telling me I,
    “can never look back, never look back, never, NEVER look back..” as ominously as it ever did, am holding an empty shell in my mind’s eye, sand trickles between my fingers..

    Like

  11. paul walter July 21, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

    By Golly, missed that cartoon with the chooks first time around. Sums it beautifully, doesn’t it?
    Thanks Jennifer, needed the laugh!

    Like

  12. Hypocritophobe July 21, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    Speaking of reality.
    Both Labor and the BACWAs will be dreading this if it pans out the way it is looking.
    Greens and the sex party.

    I love you Melbourne.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-07-21/greens-lead-in-early-melbourne-by-election-counting/4145774

    Like

    • doug quixote July 21, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

      Anything that annoys the bacwa types is fine by me. LOL

      Like

    • annodyne July 21, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

      Yes we love Melbourne, the City Of Black Style voting Green.

      My appreciation to the commentors above who have referred to my own.
      I just wanted to show Dr JW that FTA TV can be educational if interactivated by laptop.
      I turn my set on only when there is a rewarding item, and turn it off right after. Tonight it was a doco series on maps history. Am presently hoping that 4 Corners points out that Assange should not be hung just because he isn’t likeable, and if I dare to view, I will have laptop set to the Twitters by other viewers..

      Like

      • paul walter July 22, 2012 at 12:12 am #

        Yes!
        4 Corners deals with Assange and Sweden this week, from the trailer, it looked critical of Assange’s critics.

        Like

        • doug quixote July 22, 2012 at 11:06 am #

          Well that’s a surprise.

          Like

          • Hypocritophobe July 22, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

            Is that sarcasm DQ?

            When it comes to the ABC they are as shrewd as the party they lean towards.
            They will put a story up with enough evidence on the surface to have us think they have a victim or scapegoat,but enough content for the following “total shoot down” of each and every point as the ‘facts’ sink in.
            It will be a mere pseudo media entrapment, that the right can play with at their will,painting their current subject as the anti-Christ if that’s what they choose.
            (Whatever anti Christ means given he didn’t exist as a god of any description).
            They did the same thing when they ambushed Gillard.
            Political hacks.(No sarcasm or idealism intended)

            Like

            • doug quixote July 22, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

              As for Antichrist, I love the exchange in Tombstone :

              as the doctor tells the tubercular Doc Holliday to restrain his ‘marital impulse’ , his woman Kate massages his . . . thigh . . . ” I am a good woman to you, ain’t I Doc ?”

              “Yes, you are a good woman; on the other hand, you may just be th’ Antichrist”

              Like

              • Jennifer Wilson July 23, 2012 at 6:44 am #

                Ahahahahaha! That’s what we are us women. Antichrists, every last one of us!

                Like

          • paul walter July 22, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

            Could be a reason for it..

            Like

    • Jennifer Wilson July 23, 2012 at 6:47 am #

      Hell’s teeth, that’s a bloody awful story. That syndrome has been quite discredited from what I recall. I think it was invented by a misogynist mother hater.

      Like

      • Marilyn July 23, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

        No, it’s pretty real, my own mother suffered from it. She diagnosed supposed illnesses for myself and younger sister for years of our lives and has self diagnosed herself with every disease under the sun – she nearly killed me and my sister with her delusions but she did like the attention.

        When it came to diagnosiing my rampant Crohn’s disease I was treated like a malingering hypochondriac for 20 years because the doctors looked at my medical records as a child and dismissed me.

        That nearly cost me my life a number of times but my mother is still one of the healthiest people around in spite of 30 years of being a pill popping junkie and anorexic.

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      • Julia August 17, 2012 at 10:50 am #

        Munchausens and Munchausens by Proxy is still being used by doctors & DHS/other welfare depts to remove children from their families where the children are then handed over to be subjected to some awful forced treatment regimes, (read torture) at the hands of certain psychiatrists. Horror stories continue to emerge out of places like Westmead Hospital, and other facilities.

        Like

  13. paul walter July 22, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

    They made the poor woman a refugee in her own land. I suppose she’ll get not so much as a jelly bean in compensation, either.

    Like

  14. 8 Degrees of Latitude July 22, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    Just got to this, so apologies for coming in late (no, I wasn’t away watching reality TV).

    I think we’re still working our way through the novelty value of instant self-proclaimed celebrity that has been facilitated by information technology. Reality TV is a particularly pernicious element of this. I don’t watch it either: it is two fingers down the throat territory. The participants embarrass me if by chance I should glimpse one, but not because they’re poor misunderstood morons; it’s just because they’re suddenly in my face (and apparently habitually off theirs).

    Celebrity chefs and their wannabes; desperate housewives of any provenance; fatuous “adventure tourists”; idiotic business cadets – they’re all the same. Pointless.

    Guess I’m just not your natural mass entertainment kind of guy …

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson July 23, 2012 at 6:50 am #

      I think we have to grit our teeth until it passes. It will, John Lennon said everything does.

      Like

      • paul walter July 23, 2012 at 8:53 am #

        John Lennon also said, “Life’s what happens to you when you’re planning other things”.

        Like

        • Hypocritophobe July 23, 2012 at 9:41 am #

          And as the yanks have just found out JL also was on the money with his Warm Gun’.
          RIP the victims,but the 2nd amendment has ensured that the natural selection process has some way to go before they wake up.I doubt they ever will.

          Like

          • paul walter July 23, 2012 at 9:54 am #

            Amazing isn’t it Hypo. We complain about our constitution being out of date, which it arguably manifestly is after a century.
            Yet the 2nd amendment goes back 220 years, to a time when the US was an unsteady new born state just free of an occupying power due to popular action, in an era when people shot muskets instead of Armalites.
            The problem is that they have their version of Hansonists and this bloc is armed to the teeth with both weapons and ideology.

            Like

            • Hypocritophobe July 23, 2012 at 10:16 am #

              Nice cocktail isn’t it,Paul.Guns free in your breakfast cereal,institutionalised self righteousness with a touch of narcissism and a smattering of paranoia(get them before they get me).
              An internet filled with all the sick,violent media you want etc.
              Let me guess,the USA will wring it’s red,white and blue hands, and vow to fix this once and for all.

              How you ask?
              Oh, by giving the gun lobby and churches more power of course!Then they can blame it on that naughty interwebby thing.
              I wonder when McFast foods will refrain from asking ‘you want fries with that’, and change it to you want ‘a Glock with that’ ?
              Natural selection,the American way.

              Like

      • 8 Degrees of Latitude July 24, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

        LOL

        Like

      • Hypocritophobe July 24, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

        JW
        George Harrison said a similar thing
        “All Things Must Pass”
        BTW his tribute concert is brilliant
        (Concert For George)

        Like

  15. Trevor Melksham July 23, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    I use reality TV to judge others. If they watch it, I immediately categorise them as my intellectual inferiors. I love the the feeling of superiority I get from not watching reality TV gives me. I love the inflated ego I get. I would hate a society that didn’t have reality TV, and thus be left with the feeling of just being another common or garden variety prole.

    Reality TV! It defines me.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson July 24, 2012 at 7:11 am #

      hehehehe I knew there was a reason for it

      Like

      • annodyne July 24, 2012 at 8:22 am #

        Jen, darling, I think TREV might be sticking it to US. ? (although he doesn’t sound stupid)
        There has to be Stupid TV – for the guys who work in abbatoirs. (you all eat meat right?)

        Like

        • helvityni July 24, 2012 at 8:56 am #

          Do you have to be stupid to work in abattoirs?Or is the reason that you are unemployed and have a mortgage and kids to feed enough…
          I know Iraqi doctors who work in places like that, i suppose they might have even been surgeons in their own country.

          Like

          • annodyne July 24, 2012 at 9:24 am #

            ah ‘surgeons’ cut up flesh. NOT such a leap. If only the poor terrified beasts were pharmaceutically prepped before their ordeal.
            I am a vegetarian and Great Big Animal Sook. I am very very familiar with the Sudanese at Colac abbatoir, and my natural habitat is the Western District of Victoria and all it’s saleyards and stock trucks. Have you seen those signs where the truckies unload stock? the ones that say “No stock with eye-cancers bigger than a 10 cent piece are to be unloaded here”.

            Like

        • Jennifer Wilson July 24, 2012 at 9:23 am #

          Yes, you are probably right!

          Like

  16. annodyne July 24, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    that was too fast – I know JW means Helvis comment and not mine. X X

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson July 24, 2012 at 9:36 am #

      LOL. I was replying to your comment about Trev! Sorry for the mix up.

      Like

  17. 730reportland July 25, 2012 at 10:54 am #

    The chicken cartoon sums up reality tv perfectly. What a ripper.
    I noticed that entering a room of people watching reality tv,
    I could hear brain-cells dying.

    Like

    • Hypocritophobe July 25, 2012 at 11:52 am #

      My eldest brother once told me he got addicted to survivir.
      I asked him why he watched such crap.
      He said he accidentally stumbled across it and the rest is history…
      OM?

      I demand that the BACWAs start a petition on an immediate ban of reality TV.
      It is destroying brains,families and wasting electricity.
      Imagine the Co2.

      Western society now has a choice of 2 neck types only.
      Rubber or red.

      Like

  18. ann odyne July 25, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    to illustrate a different moment when reality becomes horror I am just throwing a faggot of twigs on this fire –
    Bristol Palin’s Lifetime reality TV show “Life’s a Tripp” has mainly focused on showcasing Bristol’s own exploits and adventures. But after last …
    Bristol Palin’s son said an F-word, but which F-word?
    Los Angeles Times‎ – 8 hours ago
    Palin’s grandson baby Tripp angrily shouts Gay ‘F-slur’ while mommy Bristol giggles

    Like

  19. ann odyne July 28, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

    auditions for a new round of reality TV were advertised today throughout LON 2012. That, and watching Zelig right now, has brought me back to your post, and where you say
    ‘how you will be judged! But none of them seem to care.’
    They lust for Fame of course – at any price.
    I followed your link in your Mayer post, and within it there are photos 47 inspiring (famous) feminists, and gobsmackingly, ONE of them is Chrissie*Swan who began in the Big Brother house and was not even the ‘Winner’.
    She now has a Wiki entry and her mail would be full every day with invitations to events she used to only dream of. She has been in a fancy marquee at every Melbourne Cup Day ever since, and we have not. FAME!
    ref: old movie It Should Happen To You where the Swan character is played by Judy Holliday.

    Like

    • paul walter July 29, 2012 at 5:45 am #

      Mass lobotomisation by stealth. How will the younger generation ever forgive us, accept they won’t know anyway

      Like

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