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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Our Neighborhood Is Under Attack From Reality Show Zombies

Here's a slice of today's reality that might give you pause--or, rather, make you wonder if there is such a thing as a "pause" button on real life. Because yesterday the reality tribe invaded our neighborhood...

Evening walk down to the park. It's a nice quiet time. But the little park is packed, with a circus-style 3-ring hyperactive group of hooting, water-squirting, butt-sliding-on-grass 20-somethings. It's a little over the top, we think, trying to have a chat with a friend and check out the surf. But--wait--are those really human beings? Or are they...

Reality show people.

Yes, here in our little beach park. A quiet place, suddenly filled by professional reality show tryouts, beefy guys and bikini'd girls, bodies covered in vegetable oil (!), frantically "having fun" for evaluation purposes.

No cameras, just fake people faking fun at 110 percent.

Because there was no visible explanation of what was going on, an onlooker could be forgiven for thinking he'd wandered onto a Club Med For Robots. The scary part: until we realized what was going on, we were feeling vaguely sad because our "live" lives could never be this much fun. (Or oily.)

It's intriguing how closely the contestants could approximate human beings, like the replicants in Blade Runner. I suppose some might even pass the Turning test, with proper coaching. Mindy heard one girl getting some advice: "Show more commitment. Get into the spirit. You've got to try harder."

So here is what humanity looks like when they're simulating humanity: using that vegetable oil-covered slip-n-slide with a ramp to boost them into a doughnut pool, kicking soccer balls, throwing footballs, doing handstands, chasing each other screaming, smiling relentlessly, teeth bared, butt cracks showing, wardrobe malfunctions a la Janet Jackson (it takes practice to lose just half of your bikini top).

There's a bottom line to this. It's not for the squeamish. You can stop here and feel vaguely superior but also haunted, even threatened by these oily zombies from the fun factory. Or face the reality of reality show people:

They must be destroyed.

Because? They're the real zombies.

How can I tell? They eat brains.

Yours, mine, their own. They don't discriminate.

So we must.

Meet you in the park with torches and pitchforks at sunset. Bring some salad and French bread to sop up the oil.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

And Then There Was None: Hawaii's Newspaper Merger Leaves a Big Black Hole, Perfect for Raising a Fetid State of Corruption

DATELINE HONOLULU -- SLUG: Collapse of journalism, Honolulu Star-Advertiser style

Today's 16-page A section of the newly merged newspaper, which included the editorial pages, had only 1 staff article, 2 signed columns, and an unsigned editorial. The main local contributions were letters. Everything else was off the newswires.

In the 2 weeks since laying off over 100 people and merging the two daily papers, this is what you get--a news vacuum big enough to swallow an entire state. Imagine the joy of the political-business class, who can do what they please without oversight...

But the other question is where are the 100 journalists who still work there? Or should we say "allegedly" work. I'd like to see their contracts.

When you consider that the four local TV network outlets consolidated into one about six months ago--not waiting for FCC approval--the bland smiley face/frowny face Island style of journalism is creepily omnipresent. As a preview of an all-entertainment state--or else a reversion to pre-journalistic 1853 Hawaii--it's undoubtedly a laboratory in how to mentally starve a democracy...