May 27th, 2010

benpeek

Master Chef

Occasionally, I get addicted to some piece of trash TV that is vaguely appalling. Once, I got addicted to Rockstar, and I told myself it was okay, because I wasn't recording it when I couldn't catch an episode, unlike others I knew.

This time, however, it's the cooking show, Master Chef. I got caught up in it at the end of the previous season, when the Cute Girl went up against the House Mum in the finals. This season, I got in early, so I could watch the judges, George, Gary, and Matt work there way through twenty odd contestants. I also hoped that I would be offered such moments as a rather large man in bright pink pants standing in an alleyway of Melbourne, telling a young woman that she had the opportunity of a lifetime.

Outside that, however, there's a similar kind of format between Rockstar and Master Chef, in that the contestants actually have to do something. Of course, fans of shows such as I'm Fat But My Instructors Are Not (also known as The Biggest Loser) will probably say the same thing, but I've never been able to get into that show. There's something so defeated about the people in that show, as if they've hit rock bottom, and the only way to fix their life is with the cultural cure of reality TV, which will mostly leave them in an emotional wreck worse than what they began. How else to describe forever being known as, "That fat shit who failed the Biggest Loser." But perhaps I'm being unduly fair to the people who show up on it, and the vacuous, dim witted sort who were on Big Brother and Whatever Country You're In Idol. Some guy pulled his car out in traffic while I was driving home today. Without looking, in the wet and the raid, he pulled out on the freeway and I had a loud, spinning break inches from his car.

I can only hope he was one of those fat rejects from the Biggest Loser.

(crossposted)
benpeek

bp

BP have launched plan number six to stop the awful spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This time, the plan--including live video feeds--involves dumping mud, golf balls, tire parts, and cement into the hole to plug it. It will be twenty four hours before anyone knows if it works or not, but I'm sure we'll all enjoy a moment of cynicism that is born out of 37 days of failure that it won't.

Lately, I've been watching news programs about the event, and other big business stories. For example, in Australia, a large mining tax is being proposed by the government, to basically grab some of the cash that is there. Whether it's a good plan or not, I can't say, since I have a limited knowledge of that kind of thing, but it's no real surprise that the mining industry has gone, 'No thanks,' just as BP has said, time and time again, that they're on the job, don't stress it, there's no problem here. Of course, thousands and thousands of living things are dying, the livelihoods of people are being destroyed, and the US government looks relatively dumbfounded. Hardly surprising considering how many of the people in politics come from big business, get funding from it, and go to bed with big business undies on. I doubt that there will be any real consequences for BP, though of course, there should be.

Occasionally, I am struck, while reading and hearing all this stuff, just how powerless the average person is. Outside direct violence--which lets face it, isn't going to happen--there's no real outlet for people to voice their frustration. Politics is essentially the same hand puppet of companies, with the Left and Right being only slight shades of each other. Not that voting would help here. But, struggling to pay bills, working grey jobs, families, weekends that last barely enough time, and the rest of the endless things that average people have to concern themselves with getting by... how would they change it if they wanted? A lot of the options that exist--by different, abstain, etc.--strike me as just being the same as the politics I find so disillusioning. You get shades. There's no real change.

Yet, you know, there are people around the world much, much worse off than even the worse of us reading this right now (well, unless you happen to be kidnapped, have had your legs amputated, and are being forced to read this by your captives--I feel for you if it is the case). Whenever I start thinking how powerless that I am as an individual in this society I live in, I think of people who can't get medicine, running water, and whose leaders break into their homes when they show some kind of dislike.

I guess some days are just more cynical than others, huh?

(crossposted)