I’ve ignored most of the so-called reality shows for decades. Never watched a second of that obvious travesty Honey-Boo-Boo. Had no idea who the Duggars even were until the sex scandals broke and the family was exposed for its ugly secrets. Jinger Dugar recently admitted to People Magazine. “It was so unreal, I still have trouble comprehending it today. But just the reality of this, this person we thought we knew, the person that we loved greatly – we still love – just the hard pain that has caused.”
Really? What did you expect when you turned your real life over to the landscape of unreality? Some of us say that’s tough luck if you succumb to the unreal pain created by profiting from America’s prurient instincts. You got what you deserved, Jinger Duggar.
Yet speaking of prurient instincts: Is there any more conflicted show on television than the Discovery Channel feature titled Naked and Afraid? It features people who volunteer to be dumped in the wilderness with no clothes on. Only instead of honoring that nakedness with actual footage of their actual genitals, Discovery Channel blurs out the supposed naughty bits.
In Europe and other parts of the world where people are comfortable with nudity and act like grownups about it, there would be no need to blur anything out. But in America taboo subjects and titillating subject matter are exciting fodder for a guilt-ridden society where naked bodies are publicly frowned upon by good conservative households. Yet we know that the Bible Belt consumes more porn than any other part of the country. Thus we are forced to pretend that these mostly naked people are not really naked at all.
This cognitive dissonance is emblematic of the false brand of morality American conservatives love to profess. Yet the daily news seems full of uptight Republicans persecuting people for having the audacity to engage in sex. Yet these same people keep getting caught having affairs and engaging in sexual escapades that emerge as scandalous revelations about their repressive lifestyles.
So in keeping with the repressive culture in America, Naked and Afraid should be titled Afraid of Being Naked. Because why do America’s beaches play this pathetic game where people dress in thongs, yet can’t strip those stupid-looking garments off and actually be naked? It’s false morality writ large, that’s why.
The sin of nakedness is all in the minds of those who want to control the moral culture of America. These are the same people, we must recall, who tend to want “less government” in our lives. Yet neither can they resist using government to impose their prudish, anachronistic values on the populace every chance they get.
That’s why Naked and Afraid so fits the American television audience. It is a perfectly contrived flirtation with the taboo. It is so imperfectly ugly as an imitation of honesty that it defies even the title of the channel that airs it, turning the Discovery Channel into an oxymoron. There is no Discovery there at all. You can’t see the real sunburned breasts on those women, nor the dangling penises afflicted by flies and abrasion. One does get to see clearly a number of butt cheeks in various states of flabbiness or good form. And let’s be clear: butt cheeks are now the language of acceptable nudity. How ironic is that? These naked asses make an ass out of all of us.
It’s thus no coincidence that the King of All Asses Donald Trump (tRump?) has risen to prominence on the American political scene. He’s grown popular by faking a powerful personality with codified statements such as “You’re fired.” And why would Americans embrace this reality show? The words “You’re fired” are the two words Americans most hate to hear. Yet millions of Americans faced those very words during the last economic downturn.
It was all brought on by the gambling speculation of an investment and financial industry that claimed to be “too big to fail.” In other words, they could not be fired despite the massive failures they had caused. Then all those bad mortgages sold through predatory lending had to be socialized and paid off through governmental bailouts.
That was the ultimate reality show, wasn’t it? It left us all left naked and afraid for our investment portfolios. How would we survive if we’re left alone in the jungle with nothing to wear but our Nike tee shirts? Those don’t really cover anything. The rest was all a blur for a few years.
This is the price we pay for a lack of honesty and the constant infatuation and flirtation with wealth that leads so many people to believe they’ll see “the goods” of security when in fact the entire investment industry is geared to profit the sellers and not those who hope to grow their nest eggs. These are the naked facts, people. And they’re after your Social Security money as well. If they can, they will indeed leave you Naked and Afraid. Because then they have you where they want you. Helpless and afraid.
You can believe what you want, but reality will ultimately prove you wrong about the belief that people like that have your best interests in mind. The whole reason reality shows exist is because they are cheap to produce and use participants as sucker actors to capitalize on their moment of fame. TV producers have been laughing all the way the bank for years at the expense of all those who believe and participate in reality TV. It’s a giant farce. Just like our investment industry. We’re fools for believing in it. For that matter, even the belief in the so-called free market and laissez-faire capitalism need a reality check as well. It might not hurt to take a naked look at the real effects of all these notions that we’re being honest with ourselves.
But you can go on watching the reality show we’re given, if you like. It’s not reality, but sometimes the best we can do is stare at the blurred screen and imagine we’re seeing something true and interesting. Or naked. Just so we feel real.