June 04, 2013

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And what of the ubiquitous multiracial gaggle of friends? Although I have never witnessed any such group eating at McDonald’s I have often watched them hawking hamburgers. That isn’t to say I haven’t seen, or been a part of, meals with black or Asian friends. Elusive to me is the one black, one Asian, one white, and one “€œother”€ band of brothers stopping in for McNuggets. Yet to judge by television I am the only person in America whose friends are predominantly one color or another. Hopefully that doesn’t make me racist, but it evidently makes me unique.

Everyone on TV seems to live in a mansion. Children never share rooms, few people rent, and no one ever lives in a trailer park unless it is a “very special episode.” Roseanne was the last series I can recall where people were poor in any sense touching upon true working-class poverty.

Heaven help the unfortunate ingénue driven to New York to pursue her dreams who watched Friends or Seinfeld growing up. Those are palaces compared to where anyone without a white-collar job or postgraduate education lives in Manhattan. (This goes for Sex and the City as well, where either Carrie was the highest-paid columnist in all creation or Mr. Big was footing a big rent check each month.)

Perhaps worst of all, every one of these nonexistent American realities is exported to the rest of the world. Never have I met a foreigner who isn’t enamored of visiting New York, until you politely mention the minimum for a decent hotel for a single night will run them near $300 after exorbitant taxes.

Not that this is a problem if they can find a local friend to help because as we all know every American is a millionaire.

Much as I ridicule these notions, I can hardly criticize since people believe what they see on television, which is what almost all the world sees of America. The aftermath of when we have bombed out some desolate village is seldom televised in the US itself.

So although I”€™m mildly dismissive of Animal Planet and greatly disgusted with the American viewing public, it is merely one more step down the evolutionary ladder of suspended disbelief.

Remember that television movie about the asteroid on Halloween? One of the actual residents living in the town which had purportedly been destroyed actually telephoned the local news station to inquire whether she had been incinerated by fire from above. She seemed fine, but surely she was already dead”€”for she had seen it on her TV. It’s a true story, however unreal.

 


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