Friday, January 19, 2007

A Nation of Copycats

You expect teenagers to try to look alike, talk alike, walk alike and travel in packs. They are trying to be the opposite of their elders (parents), and at the same time, they want to fit in with their peers.

When they become adults, you would think they would want to have individual styles, wouldn't you? But, the pack mentality still seems to apply well into adulthood. Everybody has to have a cell phone, pager, ipod, blackberry, SUV, 42-inch tv, and so on ad nausea.

It is in the entertainment industry, however, that it seems the most prevalent, and of course, its members act as role models, and not only good ones.

News broadcasts all have the same format. The weather has been elevated to a place of some importance in the local news casts. It is actually discussed TWICE in each 30-minute newscast. There was a time when Mother Nature was just allowed to take her course, and we dealt with whatever was thrown at us without having to have dire warnings and predictions about something we really can't do anything about. A short weather forecast is really all we need, in order to decide whether to take an umbrella,put on our snow tires tomorrow, or run out and buy a generator. Then, let 'er rip.

In local news, at least, the stories are all the same, and usually in the same order of importance. And, strangely enough, many of them have the same theme music, now matter how many states divide them. How do they do that? The only decision the viewer need make is which channel to watch, meaning, which co-anchor is best looking or amuses you the most mispronouncing names.

Everybody gets national air time. Everybody. No matter how mundane or traumatic the event, Mr. Dam, Mrs. Dam and the whole Dam family have to gather in front of the tv cameras to hold a press conference. Murdered your grandma? Where's CNN? Caught in a tornado? Call the Weather Channel. Witnessed a bank robbery? Cameras are rolling. And, even the local authorities are happy to cooperate and reiterate your story in front of the cameras. I won't even discuss "Reality TV".

Congresspeople who get caught in some wrongdoing all have the same excuse. "I was drunk (on pills or alcahol, or both). I'm going into rehab tomorrow." Some of them go to jail, too, in spite of their addictions. Or, some old goat gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar, and, when he's sentenced to 18 months in prison, suddenly he has a heart condition or some other ailment where he can't possibly get proper medical treatment in jail.

And, then there's the music industry.

1. Rap "artists": All use the same gestures (messages to their gang members). Wear baggy jeans. Ball caps turned to the side or backwards, whichever looks sillier. Lyrics that we can't understand, or appall us when we can. All "songs" have the very same beat. All rap has the same meter. Sorry, I just can't bring myself to call it "Rap Music". There is simply no music involved.

2. Country and Pop Singers:

a. Pop singers: Men: Ball caps, ratty jeans and blazers (And, sometimes, even a tie.) They can all lapse into falsetto without warning.
b. Country: Cowboy hats, black or white, all looking too big for their heads. Hiding their faces under the hats is a must,(a blessing, at times).

a. Women: Blond, Blue-eyed, Busty. May or may not be naturally blue-eyed (contacts), may or may not be naturally busty (silicone) and may or may not be naturally blond (carpet may not match the drapes). But, they're either flirty or angry, and sometimes it's hard to decide which is which. And, at some point during the number they'll all point at someone in the audience and address him as "chew" (I loved chew, why don'chew love me, etc."

We become enamored with hip-sounding words and phrases. And, every living soul on television has to find a way to use them. For a while there, politicians started every sentence with "At the end of the day..." And, entertainers had to find a way to show off their "bling", or "bling-bling" until I thought my head would explode.

I have decided that the only place to find real humor, intellect and inventiveness - dare I say "talent"? - is on the Internets. In the blogs and on the forums.

So, I than-kew very much for the pleasure you give me every day. Keep up the good work.

Rant over.


dot said...

Betty, write a book and I'll buy the first autographed copy!

Newt said...

I agree, you have a wonderful gift of prose.

Jay said...

My favorite current phrase is "it is what it is".

And by favorite, I mean the one that the next time I hear it used I'm going to reach through the TV or radio and slap the person who says it silly.

susan said...

Haven't you noticed that the ball caps come in different colors? See, they're unique! LOL

Claudecf said...

It's not only your country! It's all over...

Annie said...

Awesome, Betty!

Okay, now that you've slapped me silly for using that very overused word, I'll ask my question: What's a SVU? You mentioned it early on in your post as one of the must-haves. It's hard for me to keep up with all the new technology and other must-haves . . . I just figured out what IPODs were four months ago.

Alan G said...

Well, since you brought the subject up I will admit that I lost it at least twice this past week with our local news media.

People drowning; people being robbed and shot in their homes; people being shot and killed on the street;.....and what do all three of the state's local stations lead off their news with this week for at least three days running? The damn Arkansas Razorback football team and its problems. I could not believe it.

One of the stations, Channel 4, on the second day, believe it or not, read one of the many emails they had gotten complaining about that very thing. They then moved the Razorback story to their second story on their next newscast.

It is rather obvious that they are all competing for audience share and I suppose those of us whose day does not start and end with the damn Arkansas Razorbacks are just s*** out of luck when it comes to any sense and sensibility in today's culture.

Thank you Betty for opening that door and that's my rant.

Betty said...

Annie: Oops. You haven't missed out on anything. It's just a typo. See? I've fixed it. Thanks!

Sister--Three said...

Betty, are you adopted? Could our Powell mother have given you up after birth...could Mr. Powell have sired a secret relationship....All that to say,
you have to be my SISTER!

Betty said...

Susan: You're right. My bad, as they would undoubtedly say. lol
Alan: Rant any time you like. I'll listen.
Claudecf: Sad, isn't it?
Sister-Three: I've often wondered if I was adopted, but mother always denied it. She could have lied, though. ??

Ally Bean said...

Amen, Betty. You said it.

SongBird said...

I think we must be related, too. My thoughts exactly. AMEN!!

Peggy said...

I love you Betty! I want you to be the southern auntie that I never had.

John said...

You said it girl ! It's the same here in the UK. The whole world will soon be a mountain of crap.

Betty said...

Peggy: The crazy old aunt that I talked about in an earlier post? LOL
Songbird: It's gratifying to be wanted in so many families. I'll adopt you all.

her indoors said...

so true, so true

Kell said...

I'm guilty of saying "at the end of the day." Now I'm embarrassed!

Joy Des Jardins said...

Great food for thought here Betty. I have to agree with you on a lot of it. But you know...."it is what it is." Did I say that?

Queen of Dysfunction said...

Betty, were we separated at birth? Do we have some cosmic mind-meld? Because you have just described my perfect hell.

Everything the same. Everyone the same. Nothing varies and nobody wants to be different. Yuck.

Ch3ll3 said...

This is the best rant I've read in a long time! You've said it all, Betty and you're right on e-v-e-r-y point.