Sociology of Reality TV

You know something has permeated a culture when American colleges and universities are charging big money to teach classes about the sociology and psychology of reality TV.

Aside from the more traditional subjects like calculus and European History, college students are paying several grand a semester to collectively watch and discuss Big Brother, American Idol or MTV's The Real World. Students debate questions like "Why is reality TV so popular?" or "Why do people want to be broadcast while using the toilet or failing to discipline their wild children?" I am sure the founders of the great American institutions of learning are backflipping in their graves knowing that students are writing papers about Flavor Flav, but many academics argue that reality TV actually provides a new lens through which to view and interpret our culture. The question remains: Could reality TV actually be teaching us anything, or are these classes just dangling carrots to get more students to pay $30,000 tuition bills?

No matter what, popular culture has arguably been taken over by television's version of reality. Though these shows are not something many of us wish to put into a time capsule to reflect the condition of American media in the 21st century, most of us cannot get enough of them. There are just as many closet watchers of reality TV as there are self-proclaimed reality addicts. And, it doesn't even seem like the story-line or topic matters anymore - it's the format that grabs us. The same person might watch Project Runway, Making the Band and Flip that House. So perhaps it's just exciting to peer into the minds, emotions and lives of others. The popularity of blogs would certainly affirm that. In a time when we know less and less about what goes on behind the doors of the Oval Office or the gilded lobbies of American's largest corporations, it seems we all just want a little bit of truth, or else a whole lot of candor.


Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Powered by Blogger