If this is reality, give me…

Page One: The inmates are running the asylum. Today the media is saturated with commentary about the final episode of “Friends,” and there seems to be unanimity: this is a show about people who do not exist, played by unknowns who became celebrities we would like to know but never will,based on a premise that is not true (20’s is the prime of life), in a genre that is passé (sitcoms), that survived because it’s viewers are delusional, the writing is good and the MONEY IS GREAT Here you have all the elements of popular culture mixed in a potent brew: superficiality, diversion, celebrity, delivered by an undemanding technology (TV), marketed very well to a generation that thinks it consumes popular culture, but is in fact, consumed by it.

What is sad is not the show or that it is ending ending, but what it says about the unfilled needs of viewers for whom it has become more real than life and is therefore its own form of “reality TV.”

Page Two: Hollywood is riled up because companies are offering consumers cleaned up versions of their product. Hollywood offers this to airlines, but refuses to offer it to hapless families who would rather watch “cleansed” movies in their home than buy an airline ticket to enjoy the privilege. I actually agree that content creators ought to dictate the terms of delivery, but since Hollywood has already edited for airplanes, why not for living rooms? One reviewers concluded that “Bruce Almighty” lost it’s humor arbitrarily when ClearPLay edited it.

Page Three: Hollywood’s cluelessness is manifestly revealed in a soon-to-be-released movie called “Saved,” an irreverent look at born-again Christians at a parochial school. It has tested well with gays and Catholics! (?) Amazingly, Hollywood types originally thought it was a cute movie that would appeal to evangelicals like The Passion of the Christ.

Page Four: Considering the news, diversion is understandable. One Muslim reports on his dismay at the hate spewed forth at his local synagogue AND writer Frank Schaeffer, father of a Marine, reminds us that soldiers are people not political issues. Diversion is understandable but not acceptable. Te remain truly human we should focus on understanding and dealing constructively with reality¢â‚¬¦not “reality TV.”

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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  • ‚©CRS Communications 5/6/04

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