Communism Ruins Everything! Reality TV Edition
Remember back when our reality shows used to have standards? Ha-ha, that would be never. We are capitalist running dogs with no values, so most of what passes for reality on American television reflects our vulgarity, love of excess, and need to see others humiliate themselves for (our) fun and (their) profit. There are winners and losers, and unless it’s a diet show, the object is not to be a loser (because America hates losers) but to do whatever it takes to win. In other words, our reality shows are us—greedy, mawkish, competitive and so full of schadenfreude it’s hard to believe that’s not even a word in American.
Turns out the Chinese also love their reality shows—of which they have many. Some of them are even legally available with captions (or better without) for your enjoyment on the YouTube. They are strangely similar to ours. One features celebrities living together in a house and accepting “challenges.” Another is a dating show where men present videos allegedly showing what a great catch they’d be and then some very photogenic ladies rip them apart—the videos not the men.
Strangely, the sexual innuendo is kept to a minimum. It’s mostly about pointing out what unworthy dorks the men are. It’s a nice cultural turn around in a country where thanks to the one child policy, international adoptions, and infanticide, women for the first time in history have what George Costanza referred to as “hand.”
All of these shows are less vulgar and humiliating than having a woman in a wedding dress roll a raw egg up her new groom’s pants in front of the assembled guests, which is a tradition at Chinese weddings. (We would show you this but can’t find a photo we won’t be sued over.)
But now things are going to change. According to the China Daily, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (also called SARFT and more accurately described as the all-powerful censor board) recently announced a great leap forward or maybe backward. They want to get rid of shows that are “over profit-driven” and “depraved.” They want more shows about good old socialist values like integrity, resilience and honesty. They want shows with ordinary people and fewer minors—so forget that Chinese Honey Boo Boo you were developing. And they don’t want to use celebrities with records of “drug taking, whoring or drunk driving.” This is truly shocking. Don’t they realize that excessive drug-taking, whoring and drunk driving make celebrities ineligible for other forms of employment? Don’t they understand the role these shows have in monitoring the most self-destructive celebrities and keeping them safe? Isn’t the test of a civilized society in how it treats its scuzziest citizens?