Reality TV. Remember in the ’50s when they said TV was a wasteland? O’ man, they never could have imagined!
When the Christian Right or Islamic fundamentalists condemn “American decadence” you now have to admit they have a point. An American channel has produced a quasi-pornographic reality show titled “Gigolos” about straight male escorts.
The cameras follow the men around their base in Las Vegas (where else?) as they are paid to meet women at bars and lounges and entertain them. Prostitution is illegal in Vegas (though legal elsewhere in the state of Nevada) so a veneer of legality as added to their endeavor as the men are strictly paid to dine the women and their manager (yes, Virginia, gigolos have a manager) tells them that the money they make belongs to the company, but whatever they so happen to do later in the evening as consenting adults is their own business (i.e. sex).
The New York Times reviewed the show, so you can see the air time and channel listing there as I refuse to plug it here. The revolting thing about it (as I witnessed in one clip) is that they show is presented akin to any other mundane reality show. Many my joke that being paid to have sex is a male fantasy, but it is incredibly tawdry and inevitably demoralizing for any man. The men in the show put on a happy face and maintain a pack resembling a fraternity, but they are dead inside. This isn’t a life worth living because it cheapens the most meaningful thing in life at the end.
The fact that there is such a show now on television is a reflection that we have reached the nadir of “anything goes” culture where parameters and decency have long been overthrown in the interest of “shock value”. What line do we have yet to cross in American life if people submit to having their sex lives taped as reality TV? Sadly this is what the abyss looks like.
This is why I have believed for awhile now that American culture needs a return to more strict lines of actual refinement and entertainment and not the silly trash of reality TV.