28 September 2005

Reality TV Shows are Obsolesced

This is the observation made collectively by the participants in one of my "playshops" this morning at the Högskolan för lärande och kommunikation i Jönköping. These first-year students have just begun their studies in media and communication, and have had one introductory lecture, and one playshop. The observation was that since ubiquity is a sign of obsolescence, then the explosion of so-called reality TV shows may suggest that they are in their obsolescence - consider Survivor, Fear Factor, the Idol shows around the world, Big Brother, America's Next Top Model, So You Think You Can Dance, Paris Hilton goes to a Farm, Farmers go to the City, and so on and so on.

Well, if reality TV is being obsolesced, what are the other aspects? The tetrad fills in more or less like this: Reality TV is obsolesced by "real" reality on TV in the form of scenes from the Iraq war, scenes from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and other sundry disasters and plane crashes. When pushed beyond its limit, "real" reality becomes "unreal" reality in the form of crime dramas, for instance. What is retrieved from the past is another famous war appearing on TV, that being Vietnam.

"Real" reality (war, destruction)
"Unreal" reality (crime dramas, e.g., CSI:Everywhere)

Vietnam ==> social revolt

Reality TV (Survivor, etc.)

Not a bad analysis for a group of beginners (with just a little help from their friendly, neighbourhood prof).
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AWGB said...

Was that at the Jonkoping International Business School?

Mark Federman said...

No, it's the Education and Communication School right next to the Business School.