Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Talk back Tuesday

No, this is not some cutesy new blog feature for Tuesdays. I just like alliteration.  Next to gross hyperbole, it's my favorite literary device.  I consider it a great victory in Debbie Land that I resisted the urge to title this Yakback Yousday. 

Because I'd really like you to yak this one back.  Yes indeed. This post is not designed to make you laugh or cry. It's designed to make you think. 

Anyway...

I was lying in bed watching television last night, and I heard Dennis Miller opine about reality TV. Specifically, he was speaking of the genre of shows like Dancing with the Stars. I guess they call it reality competition or some such thing.  He was asked his opinion on the current season, and he said something like this:

He doesn't  watch those shows anymore because they are too realisitc for him.

In those shows, he said,
the truly talented or best competitor
doesn't win the prize.

Instead, it's the one
who makes watchers feel a certain way
or feel that he deserves to win
whether he has actually
earned the victory or not.

Hmm.

He said that it is reflective of our culture in general.

Hmm, again.

Now admittedly, I don't watch those shows. I don't have a problem with them, and I've heard that they are fun to follow.   I just don't watch much television at all any more.

I'm more apt to be here...


doing this....


(I added that part to fulfill my oddball need to illustrate all posts.) 

But I have been thinking about what Miller said all morning.  I actually typed this up a few hours ago but didn't post it.

So what do you think? Do you think we have become a culture more willing to consider feelings over talent and abillity?  Do you think that's a good thing or a bad thing?

23 comments:

The Polka Dot Closet said...

I'll be the first to yak! I think it is a combination of feelings and talent. The winners, in the end on DWTS is always the most talented. But, personality can carry some contestants farther than they should. DWTS is one show that I smile all the way thru. It is for the entire family, which in it's self is a novelty. So, feelings will get a contestant far, but talent will win.

Carol

Jennie said...

Oh hey! That's my blog you photoed up there. I'm honored. (Is that embarrassing to admit? Yes.)

I agree with Carol about the specifics of DWTS. I have never seen the not-most-talented win on that show. Usually because there are one or two contestants in an entirely different league/ability level than the rest of the stars they were able to drum up.

I think Miller's opinion is definitely true, however, for American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. (And here's where it becomes painfully obvious that I watch entirely too much television.) Those are shows about "nobodies". They come onto the show completely unknown, and yet it's their personality, more often than their talent, that earns them the number one spot. I have watched numerous seasons where the obviously-more-talented contestant didn't win first place.

*That said*, the person who *does* win, in addition to their more appealing personality and being able to make us "feel good", usually has a story - like they're someone who grew up with little to nothing to their name, had no formal training, and yet they just have the raw, God-given talent (even if it's not as refined as the dud who can pirouette all day and night around them).

If it comes down to an underdog and someone who has had a million plus opportunities to train/perfect their skill, I'm going for the underdog every time. I'm a sucker like that.

And since this is already exorbitantly long, I will say that I think it is okay to consider feelings *and* talent as parts of the whole. (Ha! Must be the theme of the day.) If it were compared to a job application and you put Underdog vs. Formal Trainee down on paper, clearly the resume would point to the latter as the deserving winner...BUT, that's what interviews are for. Right? :)

I'm sorry...there should be a max # of words allowed in these comment boxes. I didn't mean to write a dissertation, especially on reality tv.

Just Plain Tired said...

I watch very little television. My reality TV involves the Science Channel, Discovery, History Channel. I've never been interested in what is now considered "Reality Television."

Jennie said...

There. Now you don't have to feel self-conscious about your "long" comments anymore. YIKES.

Toodie said...

Like in politics you don't vote for a candidate based on ability, but you vote against a candidate based on dislike or distrust also regardless of ability. I also remember a little boy who advised that there are no losers that everyone playing baseball (at the time) were winners! Asked why and he said "Cause the teacher says so!" I DO see shows not only dumbing down but playing the sympathy card like Extreme Makeover and even on America's Got Talent. Miller does have me thinking. Hmm....great post.

FrouFrouBritches said...

GUILTY! I totally root for the person who is likeable, especially if they are the underdog. I'm big on rooting for the underdog, at least in most cases. I do love when a contestant has a "story" like Jennie said. I do tend to feel sorry for them and want to see their dreams come true. If they've had a hard time, I tend to pull for them.

That being said, I do sometimes pull for who deserves teh win. Case in point, my Big Brother obsession. I spend the whole 3 months watching and pulling for a certain person, but if they don't do well enough to make it to the end, then I want the player who played the best overall game to win, including the liars and cheaters, because that is how the game is played, even though I hate that nobody ever wins just by being nice.

Usually, I want the sweet, good humored, "normal" people to win. I tend to not like it when the conceited, beautiful people who've had everything handed to them their whole lives and EXPECT to win, win. Did that make sense? Gosh, I sound kind of crabby, huh?

Sailing Simply said...

Interesting post! I rarely watch reality TV other then Survivor! Even watching this depends on what other show is or is not on at the same time. I couldn't agree with this concept more though. I think 90% or more of all of them win based on this! I mean think about it, who's going to vote for someone that has excellent talent but you can't stand watching them. LOL!

Monica said...

I am with Dennis Miller. Society as a whole has started taking "feelings" into consideration instead of talent and personally I can't stand it! The "everyone gets an award" society I believe is really bad for America, what is it teaching our kids except that no matter how hard you work you will get the same thing as the person who doesn't work as hard but is nice? I am with Miller.
BTW were you watching O'Reilly?

Debbie said...

Thanks for all the great input. I'm glad that it sparked as much interest for you as me.

I've been trying to summarize how I feel all day. I think in a nutshell, it's this: I love an underdog story as much as the next person. I tend to be an encourager by nature. So I love the underdog to win, but I want him to ACTUALLY win on merit and not just be *given* a win if that makes sense.

I think that's why I love to watch the Olympics. It's the best of both worlds. You get to fall in love with someone's compelling story and root for him to win, but in the end, the best competitor gets the gold.

And now, you're all making me want to try out the shows you mentioned since I don't know anything about them.

And yep, it was O'Reilly.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

I don't think there is anything new under the sun, Debbie, but I do think that things have been hastened to the speed of light with the internet. That's different.

But in regards to winning and losing, I think life has always been this way. Sometimes it's a combination of factors that equals a win. But even in losing, a person can win in that they know where to focus their efforts next time to improve themselves. Provided there IS a next time... maybe not with "Dancing with the Stars."

This sounds like utter nonsense, but I hope you follow my drift. LOL! And it is a DRIFT.

But my answer is, no this is not NEW. Maybe skewed, but not NEW. Or at least I don't think so.

I do think there has been a paradigm shift in this country, and I feel like Rip Van Winkle. Other people seem to have a different code of values than I do, and I'm not giving mine up! lol!

XO,

Sheila :-)

The Quintessential Magpie said...

By other people, I don't mean my bloggy friends! I must clarify. ;-)

Denise said...

I'm inclined to root for an underdog but as Debbie pointed out, I want them to WIN on their merit, not just because they make you feel good. I think society as a whole has a BIG problem with jealousy. We don't always want the most beautiful girl to win a beauty pageant, the smartest to be at the top of the class or the most talented sportsman go to the big league. This is especially true if we've known this person for a long time. Our jealousy kicks in and somehow now these deserving people don't DESERVE to win.
For most of these people this is their gift from God and far be it from us to decide that they don't deserve a win because we don't "like" them. (feeling thing)

Anyway, if someone in my family is sick I WANT the smartest doctor I can find to treat them. If I want to look good, I WANT the most beautiful person I know to help me look better. And, if I'm trying to learn something new, be it a sport or hobby, I WANT the best person to teach me.

Great thought provoking post Debs.

Ms.Daisy said...

Debbie,
Although I like Dennis Miller, I don't think I can agree with him on this. I've seen almost all the DWTS shows and it seems to me that,for the most part in the end, it IS the person with the most talent who wins. Also, I've been watching (because I had to give up everything but basic cable) more reality shows like The Great Race. On THAT show, it is luck AND brains that win the race.

~Jean

Sharon Kirby said...

Debbie - Hmmm...pondering this one. Great comments generated for this post, by the way!!

I guess I'll add my two cents (which is probably only worth 1/2 cent in this economy - just sayin'...)

The whole "reality show" trend seems to be a unique product of our world today. I think we're becoming a country of "voyeurs." By that I mean, we seem to want to watch other people live their lives. We like watching them mess up, or act stupid, or survive, or dance, or fight... I don't like how television has become frivolous entertainment, for the most part. There's no substance anymore.

As far as being fair (the most deserving person wins) - again...hmmmmm. I love an underdog, too. But still, that underdog usually won because of hard work and determination. I don't like things that are won on personality or popularity alone. Doesn't that just seem superficial? America seems very caught up in "image" - My comment on that? We don't call celebrities "idols" for nothing!!

And, we must be careful that in our efforts not to hurt anyone's feelings or offend anyone, that we don't let the pendulum swing back too far the other way. Not everyone wins. Life is hard. BUT...we need a society that has learned the value of perseverance, patience, striving for excellence, working hard, and learning to accept failure as a learning tool. Also, we cannot compromise values, truth, and morals in an effort to be "politically correct."

That's my rant for tonight!

Thanks, Deb, for making my gray matter think!!

(p.s. On Thursday I'm doing a post on another view of "reality" - you might be interested in it :)

Kelli said...

Thinking at this hour is proving to be difficult, but I will give it a shot! I, like you, rarely watch TV so I can't comment on DWTS. I do believe that feelings trump truth/talent in our culture. But since there is no such thing as absolute truth anymore, I guess it doesn't matter. (LOL) Now, I'm exhausted over the mental anguish of coming up with something that sounds somewhat intelligent!

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

You can make me laugh whether you intend to or not - "Yakback Yousday"! I don't watch many of the "reality contests". I did watch Am. Idol for several years, but didn't follow it much this year. I have become a little disenchanted with so manye contestants telling some sad story of the way they grew up; or the disability they have overcome; or their parent in prison. It seems to be such a ploy, and it probably does work. Having said that, I am glad to know that, apparently, there are people out there who HAVE feelings. I had begun thinking most of America had become so cynical that feelings would not enter into most people's opinion of anything! Thanks for making me do a little thinking. My brain needs the workout. laurie

Chatty Crone said...

I think both are true. I mean when someone becomes a star it is because somehow we've felt a connection to them - including Dennis Miller. Lol

Love,
sandie

elizabeth said...

Hi Debbie,
Thanks for the comment on my cutie pie granddaughter. She is our miracle baby after my oldest daughter struggled with infertility for almost 9 years. She had three miscarriages during that time. But God heard and answered! I am exhausted, but having a wonderful time watching her while they are out of town.
Love,
Elizabeth
PS-feelings or merit...depends on the situation...want my pilot, doctor or my kid's teachers chosen on MERIT and SKILL!

A Hopeful Heart said...

I don't watch Dancing with the Stars, but I DO watch (and vote!!!) American Idol and America's Got Talent.

I think it all comes down to the fact that each of us has a different preference in what we like. What one person may deem as great talent, another one can't stand. Case in point, this year's American Idol....alot of people thought Crystal Bowersox was the best and should have won. I, however, cannot stand Janis Joplin-type music and could hardly stand a moment of her singing. There was NO WAY in the world I would vote for her because I can't stand her genre and couldn't even tolerate her singing. So, it's hard to say if she had more talent than someone else, because, to me, I thought she was horrible.

So, I think it comes down to the fact that what works for one of us doesn't necessarily work for another. (Again, American Idol...my favorite by far was Aaron Kelly. He had a country style, and I far prefer country music to rock, so he appealed to me more, and I voted for him. He was voted off at week 6, I think, because, obviously, others didn't like him. Is it because he didn't have talent...or because they don't like his genre?)

Anyhow, that's my 2 cents worth.

Blessings,
Patti

CAL said...

No, actually it is pretty darn hard to ignore bad footwork (aka:The Situation who was pigeon toed and darn right bow legged).

Love the show, watch it every season and right now I'd say that "Baby aka: Jennifer Grey" is our winner.

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

Verrrrrrry Interesting. I don't watch DWTS .. I have watched Survivors and sometimes Big Brother. It's interesting how someone with no talent can suddenly become a celebrity and make tons of $$$. If I were younger I think I would give it a go myself :). I think some people will vote for likability and some will vote for talent. If it's a talent competition I will go for the talent. Oh wait! Let me answer your questions 1.Yes .. well I think people vote for someone they like, the one that gives them the warm and fuzzies or the hot and tinglies kwim?. 2. Not sure but I think it's how it's always been.
(())

Sue said...

Hi Debbie,
Like you I don't watch a lot of TV, I would rather be reading or blogging. lol I should have put blogging first. lol
I especially am not a fan of reality programs, (and it seems there more and more each day). but have noticed that popularity with audience seems to come before talent.
Great posting,
Hugs,
Sue

tea said...

I don't watch tv anymore, so I'm not sure about how things are done on the reality shows, but... When I think about our culture, I don't think feelings are considered over talent. I think people's perception of coolness is considered above talent and feelings.

Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier! :) I've had a chance to look through yours a bit more and I am going to be following along with you. :)

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