Reality TV

Death and Reality TV

What does the 'Buckwild' star's tragic end tell us about the genre?

What does the 'Buckwild' star's tragic end tell us about the genre?

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Realities

After the title Reality, the next thing we see is a gilded carriage drawn by two white horses rolling through the Italian countryside. Soon it turns in through huge gates opened by servants in eighteenth-century costume. The carriage has arrived at a huge villa with lovely grounds filled with festivating people in modern dress. The carriage has brought a bride and groom to their wedding party.

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The men of A&E’s wildly popular reality show “Duck Dynasty” catch squirrels with their bare hands and skin frogs with a single flick of the wrist. They say things like “My idea of happiness is killin’ things” and “That is how you trap a lizard, boys.” They sit with their legs wide apart and their barrel chests puffed out. They project a primal, frontier masculinity—the rifles slung over shoulders, the endless supply of camouflage pants, the craggy faces swallowed by beard. And for some reason, people are watching.

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The New Essayists, or the Decline of a Form?

David Sedaris and a literary version of reality TV

“The essay, as a literary form, is pretty well extinct,” Philip Larkin wrote gloomily in 1984. Extinct was the right word, capturing the sense of an organism that could no longer survive in a changed environment.

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