Adults have expressed disappointment in the behavior of young people since civilization began. You can read complaints about “the kids these days” on cuneiform tablets.
That being said, I have some sympathy for U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)., who has asked MTV to cancel its latest “reality TV” extravaganza, Buckwild, slated to debut in January. This West Virginia-based show show emulates Jersey Shore, a low-level satire on low-life New Jersey twentysomethings that I know too much about . . . without ever having watched.
“As a U.S. Senator, I am repulsed at this business venture,” Manchin asserts. He seems especially troubled by the fact that “some Americans are making money off of the poor decisions of our youth. I cannot imagine that anyone who loves this country would feel proud about profiting off of” the presumably horrid show.
First, as Ed Krayewski notes on Reason’s Hit and Run, were the senator really to take pride in business, he could mind his own: “The Senate . . . hasn’t passed a budget in more than 1,200 days. And, unlike MTV, it’s their job.”
Second, this is “Reality TV” here, folks. Not much to see. The truth is that Americans, for reasons ranging from Schadenfreude to mirth, like watching people make fools of themselves. And the youngsters hired on to play the foul-mouthed, inebriated, uncultured, promiscuous ninnies of Buckwild will be well paid for their efforts, and, as Americans chortle at them, they’ll chuckle all the way to the bank.
Third, they perform a useful service. Most folks watching fools don’t want to become fools themselves. They laugh. And, in so doing, begin to grow up.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.