Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Reality TV

I don't like reality TV. Well, there is indeed a certain fascination about it, which I don't deny, but I don't watch it because I think it's immoral.

What makes me blog about it is that my parents also seem to somewhat think it's immoral, but still watch it. If you have caring parents chances are good that you look up to them and are thankful for how they raised and guided you (and sometimes still do).
And seeing them in this superior role, but judging them wrong by your own values gives me a feeling I have yet to find a word for. I guess I'm disappointed, but at the same time think that I shouldn't be as that is ungrateful.


I read a few articles to further understand the psychology behind these shows. The two most interesting are http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/27917852/ns/today-entertainment/ and http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/phil/blphil_eth_realitytv.htm.

I think the strongest argument for watching these shows with your ethics in tact is that the people playing in there have consented to do so, as such they are of clean consciousness with themselves.
If we go down this route and you'd think it's right to degrade oneself for money, would it be right to offer money for someone to kill himself? While he himself would of course not be able to spend the money, maybe he's doing it for someone else.
Or perhaps offer money for someone to be tortured.

These are of course their free choices to do or not to do and I believe that one should support the choices of others as long as they don't cause other, non-consenting people harm, but the difference here is that these people would not do it without the money (or in reality TV perhaps also fame).
While it's not immoral (though maybe honorless) to perform the agreed-upon actions, it is immoral to make the offer to someone and of course to support the person offering it and promoting it.

And besides that, the people might not fully realize what they are signing for and I'm sure that the contracts state some negative effects for prematurely quitting plus the public showing that one was too weak to follow through.
And once you're out you're not done, since if the show was watched by many people, they will judge you based on what they saw.

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