Reading Kevin's Forum post about the guy who falsely claimed Oprah status (James Frey Redux) reminded me of an issue that's been simmering under my hat for a while. It's linked to the must-be-a-memoir-to-get-on-Oprah craze--which I guess is a subcategory of the self-help genre.
Other than for reasons of network economics, can anyone explain the morbid fascination with"reality" entertainment? The commercials for some of these shows seem like a Mad Magazine parody (the one with the women who are ten years younger and ten years older than 'the catch' they fight over comes to mind).
I've never been able to fully watch one of these things. Am I missing something? I mean, the creepy crawly underbelly of American culture is something I can write about, but somehow seeing it displayed between beer and erectile dysfunction drug commercials makes it all so much worse. There's nothing "real" about this stuff, yet it continues to generate big bucks for somebody.
This blur between fiction, 'reality' and fantasy is just plain disturbing. And where does it leave us, the creators of fictional worlds? Will the kids growing up with Survivor even look at a novel?
If you know the answer, please share. Maybe someone will come up with a cure. Or at least a brighter entertainment future than "American Idol lives the Simple Life serving as Apprentice in the Kitchen to the Bachelor who Thinks He Can Dance."