Saturday, October 25, 2014

Bye Bye Boo Boo, but leave the rope here

 "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" , the egregious reality show on TLC concerning the grating hi-jinx of a so-called redneck child beauty pageant and her bucolic clan, has been canceled by the cable network.  The usual reasons prevail, declining viewership and star controversy. The controversy concerns reports that Honey's mom has been dating an alleged child molester. True or not, that will not do  for corporate image. Read about the rhubarb here. 
 
It's been said that the unexamined life isn't worth living, but we must ask in response if the selectively edited and vaguely scripted actions of the low-branch egomaniacs are worth watching. The fact that millions watch Honey Boo Boo or Duck Dynasty in their prime does not answer the question. The audience, I think, is complicit in whatever undoing occurs to the real life participants who , because of the presence of cameras and the knowledge that their shenanigans would be viewed on national television and beyond, ceased to be authentic (or "real") in any sense and instead began to act out for the lens. 

True , the stars of these shows made their choices and were paid what likely seemed like a good sum of money, but I doubt anyone warned them about the cost they'd pay once the audience turned to another channel and the camera crew went home. It's as tragic as Greek drama or Shakespeare at his most unsparing. It also also bitterly comic. Nathaniel West couldn't have conceived a more lacerating variation on how sudden fame makes fools of most of us.