Saturday, November 3, 2012

Twenty-four years ago today, Gerald Rivera gave birth to Trash TV

November 3, 1988

I remember that day very well. I was in elementary school. Talk show host Geraldo Rivera was all over the evening news with a broken nose. We could not believe it! A fight...a real fight on daytime television. 


We were talking about it for days. The episode involved anti-racist skinheads, white supremacists, black and Jewish activists. A confrontation between John Metzger and Roy Innis ensued. Metzger called Innis an Uncle Tom. (A black man who will do anything to stay in good standing with "the white man" including betray his own people ) The guests ended up in a full-out brawl with chairs hurled, punches and kicks thrown. Audience, stage hands and Geraldo himself got involved, Rivera threw a few good punches at the white supremacist. 


One of the racists punched Rivera in the face, smashing his nose. Rivera did not press charges because he did not want to be "tied up with the roaches" (meaning white supremacists.) We were shocked when it happened. 




 The ratings for the show went through the roof and trash talk-show TV was born. From that moment on, producers realized that they were onto something special. The American people wanted to watch low-lives, humiliation, shame, and the leeches of society play out their pathetic dramas on a platform for the world to watch. The American people wanted to peer into the private lives of the people to trashy for the trailer parks. They stumbled upon a glorious gold nugget of wisdom - that people are a bunch of morons.   




Geraldo Rivera broke the ice. Now, we are blessed with one show after another, one brawl after another brawls. We have one night stand reunions and paternity tests revealed. Even the bald bouncers get their own shows. If it is true that everything one would want to know about a culture can be found in its art, or media, then what does this television say about us? 

As much as it pains me to say this, but people are a bunch of blockheads. There is no point saying, "oh, I watch this crap because it makes me feel better about my life." If this guilty pleasure makes you feel better about yourself, then you have much bigger problems this blog cannot answer. 

The reason this crap is on the air is because people want to watch it. What ever happened to picking up a good book, a great piece of literature, and reading it from cover to cover? Why is it YouTube videos concerning the drama or humiliation of another person gets more views than thoughtful, intelligent videos discussing philosophy, art, or social development. Why is it thoughtful facebook posts about politics, religion, and society gets one 'like' while the 'I went shopping bitches!' gets fifty-two likes?  I would really like to know what is it about the person, or the culture, that makes us want to zone out and zone into this crap all the time. 

Perhaps we are being stimulated too much. Perhaps there is just so much drama in the real world, that all of this mindlessness is our way of taking a mental vacation. 

Now that I am on a rant, I may as well go the whole nine yards. The 'drama' blogs recently published on Venture Philosophy have been viewed and read more than any of the intellectual pieces that I published here. I wrote a five part essay on Islamic slavery, it was well researched, well written, and very insightful. But you know what, the fact is that people do not care. They obviously care about drama. 




For the last twenty-five years there has been a growing trend of anti-intellectualism in American culture. This trend affects all races and classes. In the political sphere we see politicians bragging about how being a redneck is a good thing. We see political leaders calling the president a snob for encouraging higher education. We see that most medical doctors in the United States are foreign born. Is that not telling us something? I've been aware of this trend for many years now and took care to make sure that I would not be sucked into it. It is hard when you are all around it, all the time, twenty-four seven. I made a point to continue educating myself, and push myself more and more. Sometimes facing some tough uphill battles and criticism.

If I could be Queen for a day, I would make November 3rd a day when everyone decides to turn off the television and pick up a novel. (no, not Daniel Steel ) But a classic. Something written at least fifty or more years ago. Heck, download an audio book to your I-pod and listen to it on your way to work for goodness sake. We can manage that can't we? 

 Society has an interest in its citizens being educated. I know this might be hard for some to understand, but education is what makes us different from Third World countries. Yes, we have to work for it, but you know, sometimes some hard work is necessary. 

When you do not educate yourself, you are cheating society and you are cheating your community. 


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