Gordon Davidescu wrote this article.

Sometimes when I go to the local market and pick up some food, I think of how fortunate I am that nobody cares that I am shopping. There is nobody around the corner waiting to take photographs of my shopping choices, writing down item after item — is that a bag of quinoa or millet he has there?


Are those grapes organically grown – and are they locally grown? Only I
am privy to that information, as well as the checkout clerk – but he or
she will soon forget as thousands of items will pass by and my quinoa /
millet will be a faded memory.
There was a television program that I happened to watch the other day
called Celebrity Eye Candy – Best of 2007
in which they spent the entire hour (okay, 45 minutes plus commercials)
discussing various celebrities and what they were up to in 2007.

They even were proud that they could tell us everything that happened to Britney Spears
in less than thirty seconds while still going into pretty great detail.
There was also a song they composed about Britney’s tendency to go to
the drive-through for food.
The Creator of the universe is well aware of my love of french fries —
and I suppose you are as well, at least now.
You don’t, however, have access to photographs of me dipping those
french fries into ketchup, mustard, or even mayonnaise (how did I not
know there were two “n”s in mayonnaise?) — you don’t have access to
video clips of me going to Kosher Delight and ordering a burger.

More to the point, you most likely don’t care about the fact that I
have gone into Kosher Delight and ordered that burger. If Paris Hilton
were to stroll into KD, however, watch out — the cameras of all sorts
would be snapping and rolling.
With reality shows increasing in strength, particularly since the
writer’s strike seems to have no end in sight — and what better way to
show their respect to writers than to create more shows that, in
theory, have none — people who were previously completely off the
celebrity radar are being made important by winning Survivor or The Superb Baked Bean Cooking Competition
— yeah, I had to make that one up.

With shows about gospel choirs that compete coming up, it’s just a
matter of time before we watch people compete to make the best baked
beans.
There is something fundamentally wrong with the world when Paris Hilton
going in and out of prison gets coverage from CNN. When American
soldiers and Iraqi civilians are dying every single day and we are
focused on Michele Rodriguez
getting arrested for drunk driving, we need to shift our focus and
reevaluate what is really important.
Do you read magazines like OK! or Hello! at all?
Do you read any celebrity gossip sites online?
How much time do you spend reading up on the “real” news of the world,
as opposed to celebrity news?

Do you know anyone who reads only celebrity news and is completely
oblivious to things like major hurricanes destroying homes and
politicians stealing elections — and how do you deal with it, if you
deal with it at all?
Last but not least, what does it say when more people watched Ken
Barlow marry Deirdre on Coronation Street
— both times — than people that watched Prince Charles getting
married — again, both times.
Is it just me, or how weird a coincidence is it that both sets of
weddings happened the same time of year, during the same years?
Have I just written my first gossip column?

18 Comments

  1. This is a fun article, Gordon, and seeing it in the publication queue helped inspire my Britney/Jamie article this morning! Thank you!
    I have watched that awful “Battle of the Choruses” show on NBC and the only thing worse is its competition on ABC in the “Duel” game show. Oh, they’re both so awful!
    Someone end the Writers’ Strike immediately!

  2. What’s pathetic about the writer’s strike is that the amount of money lost thanks to not agreeing to the writers’ terms is probably equivalent to a good number of years of how much they would have paid out had they agreed to the terms. Agreeing to the terms would have been so much more profitable for both sides in the long run.
    How much longer until The Superb Baked Bean Cooking Competition becomes a reality?

  3. The problem with the WGA, Gordon, is they are artists dealing with technocrats that do not value creativity or invention.
    The producers are all about only the bottom line.
    It would be much better for the WGA to negotiate with each production company individually on a “most-favored-nations” level to get the writers back to work.

  4. There should be production companies looking to strike gold now – to offer the WGA what they want and steal writers away from companies that have no long term vision. They can then regret their decision not to take the writers up on their offer . 🙂

  5. I have to confess that most of my gossip coloumn reading takes place after reading articles here. I go and do a quick check and follow links before I reply.
    The one exception to that is Big Brother as my partner gets involved in betting on that and I act as a researcher.

  6. Nicola!
    I love Big Brother! Do you watch it live and streaming on the web or is it 24/7 on your TV?
    For the USA version, I watch the live 24/7 internet feed and, for the first time only, this summer we could watch 3 hours of live TV on Showtime. It was pretty fun!
    All the game shows and reality shows are still on because they’re not scripted. So we get all this icky, awful stuff on TV that we wouldn’t have to witness if not for the creative script strike.

  7. We watch it live on TV here ( did I just admit that? ) – not quite 24/7 but near enough for me to be heartily sick of it after 12 weeks. It is however himself’s biggest earner of the year. You can also watch live feed via the internet if you prefer.
    It is the original rats in a box experiment – it is fascinating and addictive.
    Any signs of the strike being settled – will you have to suffer it through the holiday break?

  8. I love it you watch Big Brother, Nicola! It is a fascinating program. I think your version is much better than ours from what I’ve seen on YouTube.
    Here’s the big scene from this summer between Evel Dick and Jen as it was shown on the live feeds — it went on for hours…


    Here’s how the fight aired on proper broadcast TV:


    Here’s the long form version:


    Evel Dick won the whole show! I confess I loved the guy on the show because he was real, confrontational and he always had something interesting to say. He’s a bar manager. Jen is Vanna “Wheel of Fortune” White’s nanny.
    Because of the WGA strike, we get a new BB in February! We’ve had 8 so far and they’ve all been in the summertime. Now we get two a year!
    Here are some of my previous BB articles:
    http://urbansemiotic.com/2005/09/21/keyser-soze-wins-big-brother-6/
    http://urbansemiotic.com/2006/07/09/big-brother-7-in-the-house/
    The late night talk shows are coming back Jan. 2 no matter what — and they’re trying to strike private deals with the union to get the writers back for at least their shows… that’s a good move if the WGA can pull it off…

  9. Gordon —
    I agree the writers should be more proactive — but they don’t have any money — so they’re at the creative and commercial mercy of the money people who seek to purchase their souls for the price of a union contract.

  10. I’m not sure if it’s right to say that they don’t have any money – I mean, somehow Kevin Smith managed to make Clerks without breaking the bank – in today’s world of digital cameras and easy access to imovie, a decent TV show can be made without the big budget behind it.

  11. Hi Gordon —
    Broadcast TV and the film studios have a process called “network approval” and “broadcast standards” that can thwart these independent productions and require them, if they’re good enough, to be re-shot and re-cast to meet their standard of aesthetic.