Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Reality TV

I've been watching a lot of TV lately. I never really got into reality shows before, but there's this new one that really has me hooked. It's got everything -- action, drama, suspense, mystery and propaganda. And it runs 24 hours a day so you can tune in whenever you want and there's always something interesting to watch. Here's how it works:

First, they pick a country that nobody really likes. Then they come up a reason why this country poses a threat to national security. That part is kind of like the Tom Cruise movie Minority Report. See, they can't actually wait for a country to do something overt like attack us or even threaten to attack us. That would take too long. So, using a team of psychics employed by the Rand Corporation, they find a country that they know is going to attack us in the future. Then they invade that country in order to prevent them from attacking us. It's pretty brilliant. Except they don't call it an invasion, because that would be bad for ratings. Instead they call it a liberation.

The invasion, I mean... liberation, occurs in three parts. Part One is the "Air Campaign." That's where they strategically bomb all of the "bad" areas of the country, like royal palaces, television stations and restaurants and leave the "good" areas like oil refineries and Hilton Hotels relatively unscathed. Part One and is pretty much like a giant fireworks show, except that hundreds of innocent people are killed and maimed. The whole thing with the killing innocent people is kind of a drag, but since it's in support of the cause of establishing worldwide Capitalism, I mean... Democracy, you kind of have to look on the bright side.

Anyway, Part Two is where most of the real action is, the "Ground Assault." That's where they get a bunch of journalists, arm them with video phones, strap them onto tanks and send them into battle. The journalists compete to see who can go the longest without sleeping or bathing while filing as many stories as possible about what it's like to be a journalist riding on the back of a tank without sleeping or bathing for two weeks. Plus they also get shot at.

Lots of people get killed in Part Two, but fortunately most of them are foreigners and so we don't have to hear about them. Toward the end of Part Two, there was a bit of a lull where it seemed like the liberation wasn't going according to the programming schedule. They started coming up with all of these stories about how it wasn't well planned or properly budgeted or they didn't have enough journalists on the front lines. But I think that was all just part of the dramatic build up to the final act.

Part Three is the "Final Showdown." That's where all of the tanks and journalists surround the capital city and start filing reports about how the liberation is a big success and the people are finally rid the evil oppressive tyrant who they never really liked. Now they will be free to elect an oppressive tyrant of their own choosing just like we do here in the good old USA. Then they tear down a big statue of the oppressive tyrant and everyone cheers and there is much rejoicing and dancing in the streets and a whole lot of looting.

This show was so enthralling that I was kind of bummed out when it finally ended. But I cheered up as soon as I learned that it got such good ratings that they're already planning the next installment. In fact, they've already picked out the country and everything. And even though it may mean that thousands of innocent people will die, it sure makes for some damn good television.

Love, Hollywood Dick

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