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Homogenized Television for the Brain-dead

By The Cynic
cynic@politicalusa.com

5/03/2001

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I am gonna let you all in on a little secret.

People often associate with people like themselves.

Oh, you knew that already? Perhaps you can tell that to the Diversity Police.

There is a group out there called Children Now who produced a study regarding the diversity of television programming. Not all of television programming. Not all of prime-time programming. Just the first hour of prime-time television. Step back and think about that for a moment. They got funded, to watch 7 hours of television and to report the number of shows that had more then one race regularly represented. Am I the only one that finds this exercise silly?

The president of Children Now, Lois Salisbury, said. "Prime-time programmers appear to have forgotten that America's children, in all of their diversity, are a big part of the evening viewing audience." America's children in all of their diversity? Can someone tell me what the hell that exactly means?

Gee Lois, if you wanted to do something equally as useless but more interesting you could have conducted a study that showed how many time the word "the" appeared in the first 10 minutes of prime-time programming. 

What amazes me here is, that not for one-second, did the researchers ever consider that diversity in real life is far lower than represented on television. Let's be honest about this here. Many people work at jobs that do not have people of a different race working there. Although you couldn't tell it by watching television, every workplace does not contain one token flaming homosexual that provides comic relief. Television is not real life, it's not even a reasonable facsimile.

I guess that for some folks, television is the utopia that can never be reached in the real world. Where black men and white men, Jews and gentiles can all gather together in harmony and work at a job where nobody actually has to do anything. (a little off topic here, but have you ever noticed that the only time you see people actually working on television it usually involves them working late? You have to wonder if that sexual encounter in the copy room was not the most productive use of their time)

What we often forget, is that television is nothing more then a bunch of folks playing pretend. Idiotic celebrities that portray idiotic characters doing idiotic things. The television shows that do well are usually those that can connect with us on a realistic level. A television show like ER can be culturally diverse and be successful, because the staff in Emergency Rooms are usually culturally diverse. Shows like Friends can be popular and not be diverse, because people do not pick friends like they are painting a rainbow. Although many white people will be quick to say "I have a lot of black friends" whenever the topic of race comes up, I have seen very few people that can back this up. It's not a racism thing, it's just the way people gather.

Don't believe me? Let's experiment.

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Throw a big party and invite only two people (acquaintances preferably) of a race different from yours. Get a stopwatch. Now time how long it takes until you see them together. Chances are it won't be too long. While some may attack me for being insensitive here, it is not a racist thing. It's human nature. We associate with those most like us.

Let me just say, that I have no black friends. It's sad that I feel somewhat ashamed in saying that. I shouldn't. I haven't excluded anyone. It's just that I have a very limited circle of people I associate with. They are all people of backgrounds similar to mine. I am not saying that I will never have a black friend, I just haven't met one with similar likes and dislikes. Life works out this way sometimes. I wish it were different.

I could go out and recruit a random black person to be my friend, but the only thing that does is make me a phony who wants a friend only because of the color of their skin. To me, this is worse then exclusion, this would be insulting. People are individuals, and I refuse to use someone as a way to make my circle of friends "diverse."

As far as television goes, the Children Now group found that only 13% of first hour prime-time shows were culturally diverse. They are astounded because 67% of the shows in the last hour of prime-time were representing more then one race. Well, this makes sense, first hour sitcom shows are usually placed in the context of families or groups of friends and the last hour dramas usually involve some kind of profession. Seems pretty darn representative.

Much like in the real world, there is a push to homogenize television. To make sure every show neither offends anyone, nor leaves any race unrepresented. An agenda to have every show contain at least one white person, one black person, one Hispanic person, one transgendered and possibly three or four people of unidentifiable race. How they could do this is beyond me.

Would My Three Sons be as funny if the kids were named Billy, Juan and Xing-Zu and raised by Uncle Charlotte in drag? (OK, maybe....that was a bad example)

Truth be told, television is getting really bad as it is. Perhaps a totally homogenized prime-time line up would force most of us to shut of the television and start talking to each other.

Sometimes a good thing can arrive via silliness.

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