January 1, 2011

New Year's Eve In America

I just had the misfortune of watching the Clark Dick New Year's Eve television extravaganza in the minutes right before midnight. Every moment of the show was contrived and phony, unpleasant to watch. A multimedia definition of crap.

New Year's Eve television broadcasts began with Guy Lombardo's orchestra entertaining a crowd as they danced at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York. Not exciting tv, but it was direct reporting of an event and so it was in a sense, real. It connected the average Joe with high society, if only for a moment, and only one-way.

Today's programming is farcical marketing. It's a collection of recording and tv stars promoting their product, and nonsense interviews with people out on the street. No-one is connected, no value is imparted. The segments aren't much different from the commercials in between, and don't provide any content that holds interest. I guess they have to fill the time with something.

And Dick Clark. He suffered a stroke a few years ago, and although his return to the broadcast is admirable, it make for uncomfortable viewing. No way you'd see him on live television if the program weren't produced by his company. Time to hang it up, Dick. The eternal teenager is no more.

The show made me wonder, again, about what we call America today. So much of the idea of America is mediated by television and the Internet. After watching a production as overtly phony I'm left wondering, how much of the ideal America is real, at all?

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Above all, follow Wheaton's Law: don't be a dick.