Monday, November 26, 2007

Is Reality TV That Great?

For the majority of my life, reality television has been a significant entity in the entertainment industry. The Real World, I believe, was the catalyst for all of this, and then when Survivor came out, it garnered more mainstream buzz for the budding genre. From there it has sky-rocketed, as millions of people world wide sit down every night to watch a show consisting of people that seem to be just like them that are given the chances to participate in privileged and unorthodox programs. Some of these are just people seemingly living their everyday lives while a crew of cameramen follow them everywhere.

Countless Americans regularly view reality TV programs,or at least I assume so since more and more keep debuting. So many have come out in the decade since their conception that it would take me an entire month to list them all.

Personally, I don't watch reality TV as much as probably the normal twenty year old, which I believe can be attributed slightly to the fact that I'm male (most of the shows marketed for my age group are directed towards women) but I've watched enough to form an opinion that there are a few problems with the shows, and these all interlock with one another.

Firstly, most reality TV shows are not, in essence, real. They're skewed so that they look as real as possible, but it doesn't take an honor roll student to recognize that a great deal of the situations that participants in these shows face are at least partially--if not completely--scripted.

Producers of MTV's The Real World have been under fire about this issue for years, and finally admitted that they would set up certain scenarios for the cast members to act out while they're on the show. This is something that was rather obvious, since younger people can watch the show and immediately realize that either all of these people are mentally insane in some way, or just totally irrational, and do not act the way that normal teenagers or college kids act.

I admit, I've pretty much stopped watching MTV, because they've become a reality TV network and are not at all clandestine about it. A station that is called Music Television shouldn't be cutting videos short on Total Request Live so that they can show a program that consists of eight potentially bi-curious men sitting in a bus waiting to get their crack at some d-list actress. Justin Timberlake is pissed about this, and rightly so. I am too. We agree on some things, like my previous statement and the belief that Jessica Biel should not be thrown out of bed for eating crackers. Ever.

Think about it. If I'd just come to this country from Iceland and was browsing my new digital cable set-up to get a peek at the new Spice Girls video that I'd been hearing so much about, I'd be mildly unsettled to come upon a show with an Asian woman who can't decide if she's gay, straight or bisexual. This absolutely has to be fixed. Who would want to try and marry a girl that didn't even know if she liked dudes or chicks and was experimenting with both while you knew about it? The most disconcerting concept of this show is it's name, Tila Tequila, which is supposedly the name of the sexually confused star. Tequila is not an Asian surname.

The shows on MTV that really bother me are Laguna Beach and it's equally popular spin-off, The Hills. The producers of these shows have admitted that they are not all truly non-fiction, that some of it is scripted and even re-shot. I don't enjoy reality television, but if I'm going to watch it, I want it to be what I'm told it is. I could watch the OC all day with no qualms at all, because I know that it's not billed as being based on real events, so I can become absorbed in it without sitting there and wondering whether or not the scene I saw actually happened (plus I'm weird and genuinely enjoy the show).

At first, whenever MTV started to be overrun with reality shows, one could switch to VH1. Then came Flavor of Love, I Love New York, and Rock of Love. I'll admit, I've watched a few episodes of these, and it took me a while before I became totally convinced that they were at least a little bit fake. I watched a few episodes of Rock of Love, but the ship really sailed for me whenever my friend's told me that Bret Michaels had attempted to become a polygamist in the series finale.

I do dig the show about Scott Baeo being a lifetime bachelor, though.

So, to put this all to an end, I'll revert back to my previous statements: I do not dig reality television. I watch TV to escape from reality, so the last thing I want to do is look at someone else's reality, especially if it's an exaggerated one.

Maybe I'll go back to just watching cartoons.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

I'd Go Gay for Tom Brady

Something has dawned on me tonight as I sit in my room and watch the New England Patriots take on the Indianapolis Colts: Tom Brady can do no wrong. This is an observation that has been floating around the back of my head for quite some time now, but I've fought it for the simple reason that I'm supposed to hate his team since I live in Pittsburgh and cheer for the Steelers (whose quarterback is, in my opinion, considerably less alluring than Brady. Or Jake Plummer for that matter.)

Think about it, it's a very logical thing to come by. Brady is one of those guys who has pulled himself up by his bootstraps, which is something every wannabe alpha male dreams to boast about one day. Sure, he was a starting quarterback at the prestigious University of Michigan, but he wasn't drafted by the Patriots until the sixth round of the draft, as the 199th overall selection. This was in 2000, when the Browns picked Courtney Brown first overall and the Redskins took LaVar Arrington second. As far as I know, neither one of these players is even playing in the league anymore, let alone leading their respective teams to numerous championships and undefeated seasons.

They both graduated from Penn State know how I feel about that.

The first quarterback taken in this draft was Chad Pennington. I think the Jets would much rather have Brady at this point.

So, Brady has come from being a sixth round draft pick that would probably spend his entire short-lived career on the practice squad, driving a Ford Taurus and being recognized only by people who confused him for a Gucci model they saw in Vanity Fair to arguably the best quarterback of the past decade, with only Peyton Manning, Kordell Stewart, and Rex Grossman in his league.

He's led the Patriots to 3 Superbowl championships before his 28th birthday (an NFL record), and barring what would be considered a major upset is going to win his fourth in 2008, and his head hasn't swelled at all. Every week he says the same thing, something like, "We can play was a good win...we have a long way to go...we didn't set out just to win ____ games..." He's extremely humble, not like Chad Johnson or Terrell Owens, two guys that have never, and most likely never will, win even one NFL championship.

Not only is he a scary good quarterback that seems to always make the right decisions, compete tenaciously, and win every week, he has also become the most well-known football player in the world off of the field. The dude won Esquire's best-dressed man of the year in 2007, and was recently honored by GQ as one of the best-dressed men of the last 50 years.

Tom stays fresh. He rolls into his post game press conferences wearing designer suits and ties with his hair in a part that he somehow pulls off. I'm convinced that no one else has since the late '50s. If I tried it, I'd look like Professor Snape, Tobey Macguire, or Lenny Smith circa 2006.

Most guys that dress as stylishly as Brady are referred to as metro sexual, but somehow he escapes that title. Maybe it has something to do with him playing the most macho and popular men's sport of all time, and has been knocked down by huge steroid-enhanced men. Men of a caliber that you will not find tackling people anywhere other than a football field or maximum security prisons.

Now, if you're talking about Brady--especially if you're praising him--you simply have to mention his inconceivable success with women. A lot of girls dig guys that are athletes, especially professional athletes. A lot of other girls are into humble guys that exude a certain self-confidence but don't reach into the realm of cockiness, guys that embarrass and work cocky men every weekend. Many other women are attracted to guys who dress well.

Case in point: pretty much every woman in the world could feasibly be attracted to Tom Brady, and for more than one reason.

I mean, look at his girlfriend:

That, my friends, is Giselle Bundchen. She is a model for Victoria's Secret, and is considered one of the hottest women alive. She is dating Tom Brady. Tom Brady gets to do things to this woman that countless forty year old men dream of doing everyday in the bathroom as they look through the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue or their wife's Victoria's Secret catalog.

What I'm trying to say is that Tom Brady lives a life that many, if not all, men can and are envious of. I wouldn't mind being him, that's for sure.

Oh, and they won tonight. He had three touchdown passes. His press conference is going on right now. He is wearing a suit, and just said that the Colts are "a damn good team." Now he's rambling on about how great his teammates are. What a guy.

November's Man Crush of the Month: Tom Brady.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Other Things I Have Learned

*If you haven't read the previous entry, do that first.

I was talking to my eldest brother about things that I've learned, and realized that I've learned much more than I have labeled. This is obvious, but some have come to mind that I feel as though I should absolutely mention. Especially my first one, because he said that's the best one he's read.

I've learned that gays are usually very funny people, and the same with Jewish people. I've also observered that homosexual Jews are the funniest people I have ever heard or read (David Sedaris, David Rakoff). I suspect this is for the simple reason that joking and laughter are the most logical defense mechanism for people who are constantly getting fucked over or ripped on, and no one gets it worse than gay jews.

-If you play a sport in high school, more power to you. I have a couple of tips though. When high school is over, put your letter jacket away. If you're not good enough to play in college, that's that, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're a white dude that could cut it on the varsity level but has no real athletic ability. It's happened to the best of us (I played for two weeks and realized that I wasn't that great), but just because it has doesn't mean that you have to treat intramural sports like the 1996 Summer Olympics. This means no UnderArmour allowed, because you lose the right to wear that for football, basketball, or track and field after you end your varsity career (to clear up some questions, it is still allowed for table tennis).

-Sarah Silverman is not funny. At all. Somehow I don't think Jimmy Kimmel could do much better, though.

-If you're a janitor, you should get fucked up every day before work.

-There's no reason to lift weights if you don't play sports. Girls really don't choose their boyfriends due to abs or biceps. I know this because my amount of female suitors did no diminish when I acquired mono during my freshman year of college and lost 15 pounds of muscle in two weeks.

-David Hasselhoff should be pissed on.

Shaquille O'Neal is a douchebag.

-Steve Nash and Steven Colbert are on two opposite sides of a spectrum, but are two of the raddest dudes alive.

- Fuck the state pen, fuck hoes at Penn State.

-Kanye West is better than 50 Cent, but Lloyd Banks has recorded the greatest lines in hip-hop history: "I think losers are mad 'cause I'm flossin' bad, I ain't a wrestler, but I'll put your bitch in the Boston Crab."

-The Boston Celtics will win the Eastern Conference this year.

-Jonathan Papelbon is a white boy that can dance, his neck is red, he puts miracle whip on his wonderbread.

-NASCAR is fucking stupid.

-This sounds unbelievably cheesy, but it is possible to fall in love with a girl's smile. It's rare, but it happens.

-Italians are extremely proud, but of what I don't know. Apparently nothing. Maybe they're glad that they were dictated by Mussolini for a while, or because they believe that they invented ravioli (in reality it was Chef Boyardi, and he's as American as Stephen Colbert).

-BoyzIIMen are unbelievable, and so is Mariah Carey. They collaborated on the song "One Sweet Day," which is unarguably the greatest song about death ever recorded.

-Dogs really are man's best friend.

-There are two sides to every story. This is why there are so many mothers and fathers that hate boys that their daughters have dated.

-Global Warming is a myth, or it is at least overstated.

-General Education classes are a money-making ploy by the college you attend.

-The world is not as bad as it seems.

Things I've Learned

The end is near. As I sit here on this Friday night at around 7:30, I begin to deal with the stunning fact that I have three days and four more nights before I am no longer considered a teenager. This frightens me to no end, for the simple fact that until now I have used my youth and status as a teenage boy as my excuse for basically everything. Why I was so irresponsible, so lazy, so naive, so laid back, so unambitious, and so afraid of committing to absolutely anything, namely girls (which has thankfully changed recently).

Now, I'm all out of excuses, and I have no juvenile title anymore. I will soon be stuck in a terrible age range, which would be the space between 19 (when you can drink in Canada), and 21 (when you can drink in my homeland). I won't say that 20 is the most insignificant birthday of one's youth, but it is of no real benefit to anyone.

So, I'm going through a quarter life crisis, a little bit early, but it makes sense to me. 20's a quarter of the way to 80, and I'll consider myself inordinately lucky if I live even that long, especially if I continue forth with my current lifestyle.

I could bore you with all kinds of things dealing with my age and how depressing it is, and how long of a year it will be while I wait to become a true adult and reap the benefits of non-closet binge drinking, but I don't want to dwell on things like that. Instead, I'm going to mimick a segment of Esquire magazine called "Things I've Learned." It's in the publication monthly, and they have an older famous man list some things that he has learned through his life. Here are some of the things that I have learned.

-There are people out there who spitefully make fun of people that have never wronged them in any way because they are mentally slow, physically disabled, fat, fashionably inept, or poor. When you ask these people why they do this, they will say something like "Because it's funny," and they will maintain that. They probably even tell themselves that. I have learned that these people truly suffer from a low self-esteem, and do these things to make themselves feel better. They jeer their victims about things they are unable to control, only because they themselves are not clever enough to joke with someone on a level playing field.

-People are evil (see above)

-Drew Barrymore will never make a good movie, Nickelback will never make a good album, Dane Cook will never be funny again, and Andy Dick will just flat out never be funny.

-Osama Bin Laden was the most evasive hide & seek player to ever step foot in Al Qaeda Elementary School.

-Radical Islam is so totally stupid, and it could not be more obvious. There is no god that would shoot you up to heaven and give you 50 virgins to hump because you blew yourself up in a shopping mall full of people you have never met in your entire fucking life. Maybe if you'd have killed Hitler during World War II, you would get some ass once you ascend, but not innocent people who are simply different than you religiously speaking.

-Much to my chagrin, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Witches (except Ann Coulter, Nancy Pelosi, and a few that should probably go unnamed), Wizards, and the Loch Ness Monster do not exist. Oprah, however, does.

-Some people hate their peers for no particular reason without ever meeting them or even conversing with them. It's one thing for someone to hate you for who you are, as long as they do indeed know who you are, and if that is the case you're obviously not going to cater your personality to their standards.

-You can't allow yourself to be bothered with people that fit into the above category.

-Most negative reputations are not entirely true, and are pioneered by people that are either angry at you for something you've done to them or someone close to them, or are just flat out jealous of you. Take my good friend Mark Ferguson for example. If I believed everything I heard, I'd think the kid was not really a kind-hearted, respectful, and downright hilarious individual. He has always told me that "Jealousy makes a hater hate," and I've learned how true that is.

-"Ignorance is bliss" is a very relative cliche. It applies if a particularly unsavory character has just masterbated in your bathroom five minutes before you enter to take a shit; it does not apply if your girlfriend is taking it in the ass from your best friend while you are on a business trip in Tokyo.

-You can be as independent as you want, but family is still unfathomably important.

-Rural and suburban White men should not attempt to dance like the characters in Stomp the Yard, or You Got Served. There's a reason that we are not named Omarrion.

-The written word is going out of style. Nobody reads newspapers or buys books anymore. In a nutshell, all of my aspirations for a career are utterly fucked.

-Alcoholism isn't a disease that is passed from generation. It is a mindset.

-Drinking is not as bad as some people make it out to be.

-Many areas of many religions make very little or no sense to me, but I am not as enlightened as some people.

-There are some arguments that can never be won.

-George W Bush blew a chance to be one of the most respected and revered Presidents of all time.

-Brett Favre is one of the most respected and revered quarterbacks of all time.

-Kordell Stewart threw a hail mary once when he was in college playing for Colorado, a college football program that would have their reputation tarnished forever for allegedly sexually assaulting a female kicker (a marketing scheme gone wrong, I'd say).

-The Democratic party sucks. The Republican party sucks. Political parties are very biased and unnecessary.

-Every pacifist that plays music and writes things like "this guitar will bring peace," and "whatever it takes" on their axes is extremely arrogant. Protest songs are all good and well, but nobody that's in charge gives a fuck about them, if they even listen to them at all. Neil Young is awesome, I love his music and his ideas, but he has not had a significant effect on anything. This is a sad thing, because it shows that the youth is not as ready to rally behind ringleaders like this and to stand up for what they believe in as they were in the sixties and seventies. My generation is extremely apathetic.

-Laughter is an absolute necessity for anyone and everyone if they want to establish any semblance of happiness. The world would, I sincerely believe, be an empty place not worth inhabiting if it was not for jokes and laughter. Though I may not be adept at telling them, I am not inept when it comes to enjoying them.

-The envelope must be pushed in order to convince people to listen to you. There's an edge that you must teeter on to make any kind of difference in the world.

-There are no worse character traits than cockyness or self-righteousness. Well, I guess urge to murder or sodomize children outdo that, but in the realm of normality the first two are the worst.

-I will always be an extremely light sleeper.

-Peter Pan had it all figured out.

-There are a great deal of people out there who boast that they take no shit from anyone, and then clam up when their mother yells at them because they left their skateboard outside and their chihuahua attempted to eat and digest their "Hillary in '08" political button.

-My parents really did usually know best.

-Coaches that want to be your friend are great, and coaches that try to run your life are terrible human beings whose wives run their household so they must rebuild their masculation at racquetball practice.

-Spanish is a really fucking confusing language, and anyone that is bilingual should get some kind of medal.

-You won't appreciate any kind of happiness until you've known some sadness.

-If something's bothering you or weighing you down, it's not always something you have to pour your heart out to everyone about.

-Communism looks great on paper, but would never work out in reality because it always converts into a dictatorship.

-I'm scared that when Hunter S. Thompson said that "I have a theory that the truth is rarely told during the 9 to 5 hours," he was absolutely correct.

-There are a lot of racists in the world.

-People should not bitch about Hurricane Katrina. Where one lives is a free choice, and if you opt to live in a PORT CITY that is BELOW SEA LEVEL, you are actually asking for it. If you're supposed to evacuate, go, and if you don't, don't blame it on the people that are supposed to help you. Your life and your possessions are no one's responsibilities other than your own, unless the government owns your housing, and then you have no reason to complain about anything because you'd have been homeless to begin with.

-Every dream you have will not come true. That's why they're dreams. They're an escape from the monotony of real life. I used to dream that I would play in the NBA as a basketball player, but the reality of it is that I'm white, slow, and flat-out not that good. Then, I would dream that I would write a movie script in high school that would propel me into Hollywood where I would have Johnny Depp and Jessica Alba play in my movie, and we would have a three-some. When someone tells you to believe in your dreams, take it with a grain of salt, unless your dreams are totally realistic, which makes them not dreams at all. Right?

-Going against everything I have ever said or stood for, girls are not that bad. Having a girlfriend is not that bad. It's actually enjoyable.

-Karma is real.

-It is O.K. to cry.

-Fate does not exist. Fate is the way that you choose to live your life.

-Everyone makes mistakes, it's how you make up for them that matters.

-Part of me will be a teenager forever.

-All of me will never take this life seriously, and I will take myself even less seriously. "Don't take life too seriously, you'll never make it out anyway" explains it all.

-It's time to actually do something with myself. Just what, I can not tell you. I'm going to start with this bottle of rum next to me, and we will go from there.