One of the last documentaries I saw in Amsterdam had me embarrassed to be an American. It was on one of the original shock-jock, tv show host Morton Downey Jr. Wow, what a horrendous person. For someone like myself who listens to conservative talk radio (not Rush Limbaugh, calmer intellectuals like Dennis Prager) I was surprised to learn of this person I’d never heard of. Apparently, he paved the way for Rush. He also gave Al Sharpton his first spotlight, as a guest discussing the Tawana Brawley case (black girl whom lied about being raped, thus precipitating its black activism)
Morton Downey Jr. was during the time of Phil Donahue and Sally Jesse, but had the in-your-face sensationalism like no one else, and the stage brawls commonly used in low-brow daytime tv now. Supposedly he was for the common man, middle America (haven’t we heard this before?!) but became haughty and superior and full-out disgusted with people. The irony was, he wanted nothing more than to be loved. He was rejected by his famous singer father and was always trying to achieve the same limelight as his dad. It was really a depressing story of him, but very insightful into how this same theme keeps getting replaid: the spokesman for the middle America.
What I found humiliating was the sensationalism. TV ratings thrive on ridiculousness and obnoxiousness, and most of us know it is not representative of who we are. Not the Real Housewives nor the white-trash Honey Boo Boo or any of the ‘reality’ falsehoods in-between. I find it all disgusting, ALL of it. Some people can admit it is pure entertainment, some do live vicariously through the shows, and some ignorant people believe these few are descriptive of a majority. That’s what really pisses me off.
I believe there are very articulate, educational, and intelligent conservative talk show host; I also believe in American exceptionalism. Unfortunately, it is not the ‘ism’ that is being perpetuated.[nggallery id=16]