Reality TV replaces slideshow


Karl Terry

Hurry, hurry step right up, sit right down in your easy chair and see sights your eyes just won’t believe.

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Not unlike a sideshow barker our televisions are full of teasers for reality shows that titillate by offering the strange behavior, oddball characters and lifestyles and jobs that aren’t normal.

When the carnival barker invites you to see the bearded lady it’s hard to resist when you see the posters depicting the woman with the flowing full beard. Likewise when you channel surf by an episode of “Party Down South” where young people are consuming mass quantities of adult beverages, crawfish and other Cajun food, you have to stay tuned as they hit the amusement park to ride the “Slingshot.”

Little people (dwarves) raising children, tattoo parlors with all kinds of weird requests, duck hunters with long beards, bounty hunters with mullet haircuts and a chesty wife. We’re not watching to be enlightened, we’re watching because it’s the street where the human freak parade is appearing today.

Where else but reality TV could you find a guy that becomes famous for catching varmints of all sorts bare-handed and hollers “Live Action” after registering the catch and counting his fingers. Or maybe a guy who travels the world in search of gross cuisine to slurp down on camera.

OK, I guess maybe you can get a lot of the same thing on Facebook if you don’t watch who you add as friends.

Human nature is that we’re all gawkers. We see a car wreck we slow down, maybe circle the block to get a second look. Somebody in a weird get-up walks down the aisles of the store or mall and we’re going to turn and look.

When I was a young man we went to town and parked at a burger-stand parking lot and watched all the other kids out cruising the boulevard. Curiosity led us to figure out who was with who that night and who in the world just mooned us from that Chrysler.

It’s a natural that the action would move from our streets and sidewalks to our electronic devices I guess. Humans, especially those on the way to maturity seek a stage. In the comfort of our home we can give these folks the full attention they desire. At the same time our insatiable desire to peek under the sideshow tent is fulfilled.

Anytime we observed or were in the midst of something that was hard to believe where someone was seeking all the attention they can garner I had a friend that summed it all up in just a few words.

“Man, the freak flag is flyin’ high today!”

Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at: [email protected]


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