Wednesday, November 09, 2005

modern day freak show

My roommate was watching Oprah the other day as I walked to the kitchen.

I guess this week is "neurological disorders" week. The show was featuring heart-wrenching cases like the mermaid baby whose legs were born attached together, and a baby that kept chewing her hands, among other cases.

I'm a bit squeamish so I quietly left and went back to my room. My friend who is a massage therapist and thus in the medical profession loves that kind of stuff.

Anyway, I was thinking about it, and pretty much I realized that Oprah was just getting away with presenting a modern day freak show, but with a sentimental twist. As if the attention these people get already in their daily lives isn't enough to ostracize them or make them feel abnormal. Why not broadcast it on national TV?

While I admit to sneaking in a daytime soap once in a blue moon, I guess I never really got the extremity of Talk TV of daytime TV. Maybe there's some sort of odd yet comforting "look how crazy or bad or sad their lives are -- at least mine isn't that bad!" element to it.

I don't get it. I don't know what's triggering it, but it looks like my critical media studies training is resurrecting itself in me again...

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