Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In Search of...reasons not to watch TV

Lately I've been a little blunt. Some might argue too much so. And so while I'm on a roll, I see no reason in stopping now, especially after watching the news this morning.

Ken Starr has been appointed president of Baylor University in Texas. You remember him, don't you? The guy who conducted the witch hunt against Bill Clinton? Well, there's a new book out today about the whole thing, as if we didn't all have enough of it the first time around.

This morning, when George Stephanopoulos asked Ken Starr about the criticism leveled at him by the author of the new book, Ken Starr's response was basically something along the lines of, "I like Cheerios." Actually, Mr. Starr said that the author also penned a great book about Archibald Cox, which had about as much relevance to the question as "I like Cheerios," so there you go.

So there was Ken Starr and the same tired B roll of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky that never seems to go away. But here's the difference between Bill Clinton and Ken Starr - Bill Clinton has done immeasurable work to better the human condition since the scandal. He has not only done it himself, but he's given others a way to do it too with his global initiative. What good has Ken Starr done? He was lead counsel defending Proposition 8 in California. Great Ken. Way to go, Ken. Take away people's equal rights under the law. What journalists did Ken safely bring home from North Korea? None, that was Bill Clinton. Did Mr. Starr take his fame, such as it is, and use it for something good, something to better the conditions of people less fortunate? Did he take his intelligence and utilize it constructively or destructively?

Yes, I know that with great success in politics frequently comes questionable means. But I also know that people who achieve notoriety have a choice about what they will use it for, and that decision trumps the reason for their fame in the long run.

So congrats, Ken on being named president of a university. Maybe you can encourage your students to do the kinds of humanitarian things you declined to. Or maybe someone will discover something unseemly about you while you're "president" and this will all come full circle. Here's hopin'.

On to airline seats and runway models. It seems every so often there's an issue about obesity and airline passengers. While I can see both sides to this Kevin Smith story, I don't think we really know the accurate details. I fly Southwest all the time, and I've had someone next to me on a full flight who took up their seat and half of mine. No, I didn't say anything. Maybe I should have. Maybe I should have gotten a refund for half my ticket since I only used half my seat. Don't know. This is a sticky situation. But by all accounts, Mr. Smith was flying standby, and so Southwest should have made sure there were two side by side seats available before letting him on the plane if that is their policy, and that is what he had paid for initially. So shame on them for creating the sticky situation, and shame on him for capitalizing on it. They were both wrong.

I know you're wondering what that has to do with runway models. Well, it's fashion week in NY, and so the media is all abuzz with fashion. I enjoy fashion too...when it's exhibited on actual people. Runway models who are a size zero or less (is there such a thing?) don't really qualify as real people when the majority of women in the country are a size 14. Yes, while it may be true that we are an overweight nation, it is also true that we wear clothes, and frankly, I'd like them to be fashionable and flattering. But how can you tell on models? How on people with no breasts, stomachs, thighs or asses, can you tell what anything will look like on an actual woman? And why, for God's sake is someone who wears a size 14 considered "plus size?" Really?

So as I look for the Doritos, I'd like to invite someone to design clothes for me that don't make me look like I'm one of The Golden Girls, much as I do love The Golden Girls. I'd like the clothes to fit me like they're made for me, and I'd like them to be made for me. And Kate Moss who is credited with saying, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels," clearly hasn't eaten a bowl of ice cream or she'd retract that statement toot sweet.

This leaves me with my last topic of the day - reality television. Stop. Please stop it. I can't take anymore. If The Bachelor is "reality," then I'm...let me think, Kate Moss. And Survivor, and The Biggest Loser, and virtually every other show on TV that caters to the shallowest, most superficial aspects of our nature, not to mention the least intelligent ones. Come on, David E. Kelly, I need another Boston Legal. And Aaron Sorkin, where are you hiding? I need a fix. I can't take another moment of people maneuvering against each other whilst eating bugs in the jungle. I just can't do it. So I'm turning my TV off. I don't care about American Idol. Simon's heart is just not in it anymore. They already got rid of the most interesting back story this season, the ex-con trying to turn his life around. Jeeze, I hope he stays on the straight and narrow after being booted off there.

So my TV is off. All is calm and quiet now. My blood pressure numbers are surely returning to their normal place. I'm opting to read a good book or see a good movie.

Is it just me? Let me know, and thanks for stopping by. Please tell your friends.

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