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Starting Now, Roy Edroso Will Be Providing All the Content for My Entries

[ 96 ] April 26, 2013 |

Via alicublog, I find this quote from David Vicker of PJ Media:

 

If annual sales, endorsement deals, and TV ratings are any indicator, the brand of Americanism these swamp rats are peddling is white lightning in a bottle. Down on our luck, out of hope, and sick-and-tired-of-change Americans can’t get enough of Duck Dynasty’s message, or its messengers. They take us back to the ideals that really work in this country.

I find that idea that the popularity of a show necessarily means that its watchers ascribe to its values fascinating. Presumably :

  • “Seinfeld” meant that most Americans felt it was time to start masturbating on the honor system.
  • “Friends” signaled that Americans all wanted to get a “Rachel” and cordon themselves off into groups of six.
  • “Breaking Bad” is a sign that most Americans are about to chuck everything and start cooking meth.
  • “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” tells us that most Americans are mentally-challenged sociopaths.

Wait.

YOU WIN THIS ROUND, DAVID VICKER!!!!

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Comments (96)

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  1. cpinva says:

    so, i’m guessing the Real Housewives franchise is telling us that all americans want, um, never mind.

  2. rea says:

    Waiching a lot of SpongeBob (hey, I got grandkids!) means I’m . . . what? Bad at operating boats?

    • mds says:

      Well, aren’t you?

    • Davis X. Machina says:

      As a teacher, I love Spongebob. It is the world, if God were 8th or 9th grade boy. It’s the instruction book for middle school.

      No matter how dumb you are, you’re still the brains of the operation, compared with your best friend. (Patrick)
      School has a single subject — drivers’ ed. And you can fail it as many times as you want.
      The only girl in your life is literally from a different species, and lives in a glass bubble — no commitment, there, no sir. She’s also smarter and probably stronger than you.
      There’s this gay guy (Squidward) who makes you feel inadequate, too, but that’s okay, because he’s so gay — interpretive dance, anyone?
      You can make enough money flipping burgers to live in a house, alone, without roommates.
      Parents? What parents?

      And so forth. It’s an almost perfect fictive world, right down to the air guitar.

  3. Warren Terra says:

    I know that when I want to find a pair of hands wrapped firmly around the throat of a finger on the pulse of the American people, I always turn to the blatherings of some dude at PJ Media.

  4. Uncle Kvetch says:

    Ah, yes…a more highbrow version of this has long been a staple of the NYTimes coverage of Europe (and France in particular). You know, the famous public intellectual who criticizes US neoliberalism, or our foreign policy, or our death penalty…but is also a fan of Woody Allen movies! That tells you all you need to know about the guy, amirite?

    • Julian says:

      This could be the result of any one of my flaws, but I don’t get it — is this public intellectual’s yen for Allen supposed to be a searing indictment of his views? Or the opposite?

      • Uncle Kvetch says:

        is this public intellectual’s yen for Allen supposed to be a searing indictment of his views?

        It’s supposedly an indication of hypocrisy, because one apparently be critical of one aspect of something while admiring another aspect, because apparently we all have lizard brains.

  5. rea says:

    And you know, I’m not sure the the popularity of a show about a bunch of guys with long hair and beards is suppsoed to put us stupid hippies in our place.

    • Grocer says:

      Idiots who make lots of money off of someone else’s invention while only tangentially doing any actual work? How are they not the perfect wingnut mascots?

  6. Manju says:

    In Soviet Russia, the honor system masturbates on you.

  7. NonyNony says:

    TV’s currently full of Duck Dynasts and Real Housewives and such like; they’re the modern equivalents of the swells and toffs whose adventures impoverished Americans have enjoyed following since the screwball comedies of the Great Depression.

    Edroso just blew my mind. I’d never thought of it that way.

  8. Major Kong says:

    Reality television has about as much reality as professional wrestling.

    • Anonymous says:

      Now hang on just a minute. This is hardly fair. You can actually get hurt doing pro wrestling; there’s some serious athleticism in all the scenery chewing. Incidentally, the acting is much better in professional wrestling.

      • John says:

        What both “slice of life” reality shows and professional wrestling teach us is to admire the skill of even the blandest and least memorable professional actors. It’s actually a significant skill to, for instance, seem to carry on a natural conversation when you’re actually repeating memorized dialogue.

  9. Manta says:

    I didn’t know the show: I thought you were talking about the clan McDuck

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clan_McDuck

  10. joe from Lowell says:

    If annual sales, endorsement deals, and TV ratings are any indicator, the brand of Americanism these swamp rats are peddling is white lightning in a bottle.

    OK. What if election results and polling data are any indicator?

    • sharculese says:

      Also what if people are just tuning in to see dudes with huge beards talk funny and shoot things.

      • jim, some guy in iowa says:

        that’s the terrorist channel, right?

        (damn i should keep up with culture better than i do)

      • witless chum says:

        I only know the show from The Soup, so I think it mostly involves Uncle Si telling first-graders about his experiences in Vietnam. That’s accurate, right?

        • sharculese says:

          I actually don’t know. Everything I know about the show comes from commercials I saw when my brother was mainlining Storage Wars marathons.

          • N__B says:

            “Storage Wars”

            I have no idea what this, but I picture C3P0 trying to install more RAM in R2D2 while R2D2 violently resists.

            • rea says:

              No. Goddess knows why they’ve become popular, but there are several reality shows about auctioning off the abandoned contents of storage lockers. My pitch for a reality show about paint drying has yet to received favorable notice, however.

              • N__B says:

                When they get to the episode where they find a mummified corpse, let me know.

              • TribalistMeathead says:

                Fortunately at least one was later revealed to be staged. Which makes sense, since I could never figure out why you’d let the rent on your storage locker lapse if it was filled with priceless goods.

                • CaptBackslap says:

                  It does happen, mostly when people die or lose their minds. I read something about Storage Wars once that said they were originally planning on giving the backstories on the lockers, but realized it would be horribly depressing.

                  The really suspicious thing was always the disconnect: a locker would be full of expired pet food and bald tractor tires, and then HOLY CRAP IT’S THE DASHBOARD AND SEATS FROM A 1948 NASH METROPOLITAN!

                • TribalistMeathead says:

                  “I read something about Storage Wars once that said they were originally planning on giving the backstories on the lockers, but realized it would be horribly depressing.”

                  Makes sense. Probably the same reason why Pawn Stars never mentions the fact that every single person who sells/pawns something is probably taking the proceeds directly to the nearest casino.

                • sharculese says:

                  Makes sense. Probably the same reason why Pawn Stars never mentions the fact that every single person who sells/pawns something is probably taking the proceeds directly to the nearest casino.

                  I feel like pretty frequently they actually do have people on who are like ‘yeah, I’m in Vegas and need money to blow.’ It’s up there with ‘my aunt left me this thing that I think is just a total piece of shit, will you give me money for it.’

              • mds says:

                My pitch for a reality show about paint drying has yet to received favorable notice, however.

                You need to punch it up a bit. Have competing painters try to remoisten their rivals’ work, with public humiliation and loss of income the price for failure. You know, remove the dignity.

              • Barry Freed says:

                the abandoned contents of storage lockers.

                They’re not “abandoned” (assuming the entire show isn’t staged). What you’re usually seeing are the remnants of lives ravaged by illness, unemployment, untimely death, divorce, or other family tragedies. People generally don’t put their valuables in storage and forget about them.
                It’s a show produced by vultures picking over the bones of ruined lives.

                • TribalistMeathead says:

                  Mostly staged. You raise a lot of good points I hadn’t considered. Thanks for that.

                • Linnaeus says:

                  I used to really like Storage Wars, but I began thinking more about what we don’t know about why the storage units become available, and I’m not sure I want to continue watching it.

              • ruviana says:

                This is already on–HGTV at your service.

              • firefall says:

                Thats because you’d be in direct competition with Touch! and I guess Grass Wars.

        • TribalistMeathead says:

          The wives want the husbands to clean up the warehouse, but the husbands don’t want to, because they’re men, and real men live in filth. Someone makes a stupid purchase. Someone wants to move a barbecue grill and fails miserably at it.

          And it’s blatantly obvious that most of it is staged or scripted.

          • rea says:

            The Talking Heads were, of course, prophetss:

            Damn that television, what a bad picture
            Don’t get upset, it’s not a major disaster
            “There’s nothing on tonight”, he said, “I don’t know what’s the matter”
            “Nothing’s ever on”, she said, “So I don’t know why you bother”
            We’ve heard this little scene, we’ve heard it many times
            People fighting over little things and wasting precious time
            They might be better off, I think, the way it seems to me
            Making up their own shows which might be better than T.V.
            Judy’s in the bedroom inventing situations
            Bob is on the street today scouting up locations
            They’ve enlisted all their family
            They’ve enlisted all their friends
            It helped saved their relationship and made it work again
            Their show gets real high ratings, they think they have a hit
            There might even be a spin-off but they’re not sure ’bout that
            So think of Bob and Judy, they’re happy as can be
            Inventing situations, putting them on T.V.
            Judy’s in the bedroom inventing situations
            Bob is on the street today, he’s scouting up locations
            They’ve enlisted all their family
            They’ve enlisted all their friends
            It helped save their relationship and made it work again

      • herr doktor bimler says:

        dudes with huge beards talk funny and shoot things.

        Riddled TV, coming soon.

    • calling all toasters says:

      Hey, can’t blame them for milking the market created for crazy, rich reality TV idiots after last year’s GOP primaries…

    • catclub says:

      So rap being popular means what? And I bet the rap entrepreneurs are FAR bigger than the McDucks.

  11. N__B says:

    most Americans felt it was time to start masturbating on the honor system.

    This would only work if we all wore pants that changed color when splooged.*

    *My apologies for the sexism. I can’t think of a word for female ejaculate that has the same je ne sais quoi as “splooge.” “Cream” just doesn’t do it.

  12. TribalistMeathead says:

    So it’s basically the same argument they were making about the popularity of Mad Men in 2008, only now they get to reference Bittergate AND “you didn’t build that.” Got it.

    • sharculese says:

      Yes, except they’re still making the same argument about Mad Men, despite that show’s total failure to put a wax-haired creeplord in the White House.

      • TribalistMeathead says:

        The argument about Mad Men is extra-bizarre, given the fact that its fans stretch across the political spectrum and it’s presented the counterculture in a fairly positive light.

    • witless chum says:

      Liberals certainly do some bad cultural analysis by tripping over the difference between a story presenting things and the story necessarily arguing that those things are great, but conservatives are getting paid to publish the kind of mumbling pop culture reasonings that are confined to blog comment sections and such in the liberal side of the world.

  13. Josh G. says:

    “Breaking Bad” is a sign that most Americans are about to chuck everything and start cooking meth.

    Well, obviously that’s not true, but I do think that a lot of people are attracted to the idea that they *could* be a wealthy, powerful, bad-ass criminal if they wanted to, and that it’s not inability (or outside factors) that holds them back from achieving their dreams, but only their own moral restraint. It’s the same reason why stories about pirates and bank heists are so popular.

  14. witless chum says:

    They talked about this in an NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast recently, that assuming people watch the Kardashians or the Jersey Shorians kind of aspirationally is dumb and probably snobbish. I feel pretty comfortable that vast majority of the great unwashed don’t think that The Situation is cool, even among the impressionable youth.

  15. Jeez, between Pierce and Edroso, why do I even bother coming here at all?

    I kid, I kid. And I assume y’all saw Herr Doktor Loomis pimped over at Brad DeLong’s place yesterday (?).

  16. ajay says:

    I find that idea that the popularity of a show necessarily means that its watchers ascribe to its values fascinating.

    Vaguely reminds me of the joke
    “Of course it’s nonsense to say that people’s behaviour is affected by playing computer games. If that was true, everyone my age would have spent the 1990s wearing bright neon colours and listening to repetitive electronic music in a dark room while eating energy pills.”

  17. Mr Black says:

    Bah, you want real drama, you should watch River Monsters:

    (New York, April 9, 2012) – The network’s best-performing series, RIVER MONSTERS, baited viewers with a two-hour, monster-sized season opener, “Face Ripper,” in which host, biologist and extreme angler Jeremy Wade took viewers along as he investigated a horrific death in a Bolivian river where a man’s face was ripped to shreds. The season premiere, which aired on Sunday, reeled in gigantic viewers with 1.8M P2+, making it the most-watched season debut in Animal Planet history and the second most watched episode of RIVER MONSTERS ever.

    This would also explain Manju, he’s obviously a goonch that got away from Jeremy.

  18. What Americans really want is to have sex with the pizza guy AND the plumber.

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