I'm so out of touch, I'm often reduced to wondering if I'm being punk'd by every third article I read. Seriously. I'm starting to expect to find myself on some YouTube footage while depraved young folk, fresh from MySpace'ing drunken, naked pix of themselves, guffaw whilst reading some earnest critique I've posted of their fabricated news. But no. So far, I haven't fallen for any hoaxes though I often which I had. God help us, it's all true.
I have no idea anymore who those bony babies on the red carpets are, nor most of the shows they're associated with. A good 95% of the bands on SNL are utter mysteries to me. (Full disclosure: I have long since been reduced to watching a TIVO'd SNL on Sunday afternoon; 11:30 finds me deep in REM sleep.) 2006 was my last year bothering to bone up on the Grammy or MTV award recipients (again, on the next day. I read the lists; can't stand the music). All their names sound like spoofs to me. I was quite sure I was being made fun of as Onion staffers somewhere snickered at the thought of nerds like me trying to fake discussing System of a Down or Dashboard Confessional over the water cooler. Since they didn't actually exist. I gave up somewhere around something, someone or some band called Nine Inch Nails. Surely picking your band's name at random from one of those refrigerator-magnet poem packs is a joke, right? But, sadly, no.
OK. I gave up. I bagged modern music. All the CDs I have so grudgingly replaced vinyl with have "Greatest Hits" in the title. So be it. But now I'm even TV clueless.
Unless Salon is punk'ing me, too, there's actually VH1 reality show called "Miss Rap Supreme" in which a bunch of women are herded into an LA loft to be ritualistically degraded and humiliated, all for a shot at 100G's and the hope of stardom. How can this be happening without prior notification to the nudges of the world so we can prophesy doom and gloom about the further crumbling of modern life? It gets worse.
I'm also to believe that its producers first gave the world another VH1 reality show called—I'm still having trouble swallowing this—"The White Rapper Show" which "staged a battle royal for 100 G's in which 12 Caucasians cohabited in a low-class crib in the South Bronx and tried to prove their skills at free-styling, writing 16-bar verses and living a thug lifestyle to the fullest for a variety of unresponsive, usually black audiences."
I guess the producers are too young to have had to live through Vanilla Ice and Marky Mark (before the shame of it forced him to become Mark Wahlberg). Not that I would ever watch this, but to not even know it existed? What rock am I living under and how many others are crouched there with me without even knowing what our kids are up to? Wait, I know —30 Rock, a real TV show. One that doesn't directly contribute to the dessication of the American mind. I'm not sure which bothers me more; the fear that there clearly are no depths to which American depravity will not plummet or that Rome can be so ferociously burning without the rest of us knowing it. Talk about bowling alone.
To be fair though, apparently there's one silver lining to this spectacle (the only point of which appears to be rewarding the woman most determined to abase herself 15 minutes of fame and a 100K) it sheds a backhand light on the lives, let alone the existence, of working class lesbians. Talk about an unintended benny.
At some point in the show, the contestants are required to perform in male drag and do sexy raps in a bar. What they don't know is that it's a dyke bar (cue: humiliation). What the producers didn't know is that the working class can't be counted on for the same knee jerk bigotry and sexual repression that the odd young Hollywood hip hop producer so clearly has. Per Salon:
In moments like the rap drag-king show and the lesbian bar bump-and-grind, the cast's complete lack of homophobia flips the lack of a script on the producers and transforms the show into something like a prototype for a working-class version of "The L Word." While a couple of the women express surprise at having to shake their booties in a dyke bar, none of them balk at the prospect, and at least two, Bree and Lady Twist, who are openly lesbian, have most likely done so before. These aren't the gay-for-pay porno dykes you'd expect a team of male producers to encourage, either—Lady Twist is a solid block of butch.
Outside the all-queer Logo Network, there's no other show that gives us even this much of a glimpse of working-class lesbians of any color, and even though both of the women who are out of the closet have now been eliminated from the show, the Sappho-friendly undertones of "Miss Rap Supreme" still represent a complete reversal from "The White Rapper Show," which had no sexual anything about it whatsoever—homo, hetero, or in-between.
My guess is that these two gags won't re-occur since it didn't make the women suffer they way it would have their male, millionaire tight-assed...asses.
But back to the point: does this make these hideous reality shows societally worthy? Decidedly not, but at least there are nuggets of...non-soul destroying crap and a nice slap in the face to the overlords of the world who like to make the dispossessed monkeys dance for their amusement.
But it's not just news like this that makes me doubt my sanity or reading comprehension; reading that Roy Innis and CORE are joining forces with Big Business to reframe protecting the polar bears as a plot against blacks...I'm still gobsmacked. I had to read this three times to convince myself I didn't need new reading specs:
"He cast the issue as one of economic justice, if not civil rights, saying that the pending ruling would "result in higher energy prices across the board which will disproportionately be borne by minorities," causing "countless families in our country in winters ahead to choose between food on the table and fuel in the furnace."
One doesn't have to shake one's ass in a bar, or cross-dress, to abase one's self. And confuse the hell out of at least one pundit.
My 83-year-old Southern Baptist mother is right—we must truly be living in the Last Days.