Opinions on Reality Television: A Deterioration of Mass Entertainment, or a Positive Experience for Viewers
Reality television is an extremely popular phenomenon despite its exceptionally young age. Reality television shows are popping up every day, increasing viewer counts for the strongest television channels in the market. Their success, unlike their effect on the viewer, is in arguable. Salman Rushdie, in his article, Reality TV: A Dearth of Talent and the Death of Morality argues that reality television is a deterioration of mass entertainment, whereas in James Poniewozik's Television, Why Reality TV is Good for us, reality television is viewed in a more positive light. Although both articles deal with the issue of reality television shows, they take different positions and employ different rhetorical techniques to make their arguments. Poniewozik argues that reality television is a good way for people to make their own deductions from what they see. He claims that when watching a reality television show, no hidden implications are imposed on the audience whereas that is not the case when it comes to fiction (Poniewozik, 2003). In response to a famous moment on American idol, Poniewozik states, "It didn't nudge us to laugh at her or prod us to cry for her. In about two minutes, it told a quintessentially American story of ambition and desperation and shrinking options, and it left the judgment to us." (Poniewozik, 2003). This is contrary to Salman Rushdie's beliefs on the effect of reality television on the consumer. According to Rushdie, reality television shows are nothing more than uneventful wastes of times. He claims that they are the epitome of mediocrity, caught on tape (Rushdie, 1996). He asserts, "Who needs images of the world's rich otherness, when you can watch these half-familiar avatars of yourself--these half-attractive half-persons--enacting ordinary life under weird conditions? Who needs talent, when the unashamed self display of the...
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