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article imageOp-Ed: The reality behind 'Eaten Alive' - We are being eaten alive

By Karen Graham     Dec 8, 2014 in Entertainment
Reality TV was taken to the absurd on Sunday. Millions of viewers bombarded Twitter and other social media accounts with their displeasure at not seeing someone being eaten alive by an anaconda. The ridiculousness of the show tells us something important.
The promise of self-proclaimed Amazon conservationist, snake expert and all-around reality-show "wanna-be," Paul Rosolie, was that he would willingly be swallowed by a giant anaconda. Wow, what a come-on for a reality TV show, right? It sort of reminds us of other reality shows, like "Naked and Afraid," or the Jerry Springer shows, where people's dirty laundry is aired for our viewing pleasure.
I'm not going into a description of the Discovery episode, and I didn't watch it either. But social media and news sites are screaming over alleged "false" advertising by the network. The whole event got me thinking about the fall from grace many of the major television networks are experiencing. The constant battling to get those top ratings has created a brutal competition among networks.
It's sad but true that people love to hear about and see the misfortunes of others. Let's get real, people love seeing death and destruction. The gorier the better. Remember when television viewers were told by newscasters they couldn't show an accident scene or dead bodies of soldiers on the battlefield? When did this selective viewing choice end?
Reality TV was born in the 1960s when the Vietnam conflict was brought into everyone's living room every night. We saw John F. Kennedy shot on live television, and then it was Lee Harvey Oswald's turn to be publically assassinated on live TV. Our brains weren't numbed to violence then. We were outraged and horrified.
But somewhere or sometime over the years, television executives came to realize that seeing death and destruction raised a show's ratings, and it was what we wanted. The O.J. Simpson murder case was fully aired, from the slow-mo car chase down California freeways to the trial that thankfully and finally came to an end.
With the advent of better technology, smaller and more affordable cameras and video cameras, everyone began making reality movies and video clips. Producers in the 1990s realized that this was what people wanted to see. Train wrecks, lots of them, one after the other began airing straight into living rooms across the world.
If you think on it, we don't have heroes anymore. A doctor discovering a cure for some disease or a great composer writing a masterpiece of a musical score; they just aren't celebrated. But watch some idiot ruin his reputation, or some woman tell the world she's only 15 and pregnant, and we sit back in our easy chairs and think how lucky we are that we aren't in their shoes. We watch these shows and revel in the garbage being shown like pigs in a mud wallow.
We really are being eaten alive. Our brains are infested by an insidious worm called "reality TV." If we are better than what we watch on television, then we need to act responsibly when it comes to our viewing habits. The answer is as simple as turning to another channel, or better still, turning the mind-numbing box off.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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