Good Samaritan advice for the TV industry
Few things can make you feel better about yourself than taking the time to help out someone else, whether it is a good friend or a complete stranger.
This Good Samaritan stuff was pretty much instilled in those of my generation by our parents, as if helping others was the most natural thing in the world to do. On occasion, an act of kindness or a helping hand in an emergency will make the news, even if just on a local level, but for the most part we are talking about anonymous moments that only the participants enjoy and share.
“Reaching out” might amount to nothing more than helping an old friend move his stash of drugs to a new hiding place or stopping to aid a stranger in distress. Those are small acts that go unnoticed, but be honest: It feels better to know you said, “Sure, I’ll give you a hand,” even if you would have rather remained uninvolved.
Unfortunately, we are less apt to assist strangers today because caution empowers us more forcefully than does openness. We have come to fear strangers, and it is not an irrational emotion. We seem to be threatened on all sides, which helps explain why individuals might step over a body on the street, pretending not to notice.
Then along comes the Good Samaritan, someone unintimidated by strangers or slip-and-fall lawyers or the indifference toward others that seems to be sweeping our nation. The Good Samaritan does what he can to help without reservation.
And while we may feel as if we are living in a time dominated by attitudes of insensitivity and apathy toward others, Good Samaritans do exist. A bright and sparkling example of this in our own valley can be found in the gigantic army of devoted and prolific writers of “letters to the editor” who flood the pages of local papers with unending and repetitive suggestions directed at local elected officials.
You may disagree with some of their opinions and be offended by the more tedious diatribes, but it is worthwhile to remember they are just trying to guide public officials onto the right track and help our valley. At least I want to believe that. I could be wrong.
I hesitate to mention this because of my inherently modest nature, but in truth I see myself as being something of a Good Samaritan. I worry about my community, my friends and neighbors, strangers in distress. And right now my major concern has to do with television. While I have nothing to gain, I am trying to figure out a way to give that struggling industry a helping hand.
The hot-button item in TV today is the “reality” format, which has little or nothing to do with reality and everything to do with fantasy, but that is just nit-picking.
As best as I can figure, a reality show needs an abundance of blatant sex and disgusting behavior. The dialogue should be crude, preferably profane, and it seems to help if the majority of contestants appear not to have finished grade school. Ugly is good but repulsive seems better in this peculiar approach to entertainment.
Participants engage in the most contrived and fabricated of situations, accomplishing little or nothing. Yet these shows have enjoyed so much success that the industry is having difficulty coming up with new formats.
This is where I come in. I have the perfect reality show, one that not only will be stupid, obscene and repulsive, but also will feature “celebrities.” No matter how unknown they are, celebrities are key ingredients.
So here is my suggestion: “Celebrity Diarrhea.” Here would be an opportunity for the celebs, who love nothing more than talking about themselves, to really get intimate with their fans.
They could engage in graphic discussions regarding their bowel movements and their colons. What the hell – Celebrity Diarrhea might break new ground in television by introducing the “potty-cam.” We could obtain never-before-seen images of celebrity excrement!
“Yuck,” you say. “This is too gross, too obscene and too vulgar!” It may be, but that is the direction in which this society is heading and we might just as well take it to the limit once and for all and get it over with. We have immersed ourselves in profanity, and we seem to be enjoying the hell out of it; because I want to help, I am going to pump all of this up another notch.
“Scatomancy” is the art of fortune-telling by studying feces. The public is as enamored with the occult as it is with run-of-the-mill celebrities, so we could add a segment to Celebrity Diarrhea that would feature a “scatomanologist.” Gee, the show’s producers might even invite viewers to submit their own fecal matter for examination and a free psychic reading.
All I can say is this: If one day you turn on your TV and see some minor celebrity defecating on a plate and a “Miss Cleo” type poking through it and reading the future, you can blame it on me. I apologize in advance. But remember – I was just trying to be a Good Samaritan!
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Ghez, 55, has long been a familiar name around the Aspen Center for Physics, a nonprofit launched in 1962 that seeks to bring the best minds in the world together for collaboration and innovation.