The Opposite of Reality

What Women Really Think
May 7 2009 1:53 PM

The Opposite of Reality

We live in an environment where self-branding is a lifestyle choice and self-promotion is confused with achievement. Breaking through the 4th wall (when reality contestants talk to the camera) is not the same as actual contact between player and watcher, however, and does not substitute for honesty or intimacy. When the Octomom had her litter in January, Jess and Noreen wrote about the Gosselin and the Duggar families who became television commodities by inviting reality producers from the Discovery Channel into their reproduction-driven lives. Now I learn from Hanna's post that one reality celebrity husband, Jon Gosselin, has a secret life with a secret friend . I have to say, I can't really blame the guy. Maybe he just wanted some privacy?

I sometimes wonder about living our private life in public. Since my husband, my daughter, and I are each involved in different aspects of the media, at times when our home life is particularly surreal, I can imagine us inspiring a sitcom. But my family's imaginary TV series would be more like a small-cast version of the ABC series of 30 years ago, Eight is Enough. In that now-quaint series, the family of newspaper columnist and former CIA agent Tom Braden was fictionalized, their identity was disguised and the eight actual Braden children kept their relative obscurity.


Like Hanna , I cringe at the level of self-exposure necessary to tear down the 4th wall in the manner of that "family of renovators" featured in the New York Times article "Branding the Family." Bravo , the cable network that brings us Real Housewives of New York City and other urban locations, bets the exploited exploits of the Novogratzes, another multi-offspring family, will be riveting to audiences because, as the series executive producer told the Times , "audiences are craving authenticity." I doubt they'll get it watching Bravo. Real reality happens without cameras, inside the four walls of our own lives, fueled by truly unscripted, unedited, conversations. It is sometimes uncomfortable and usually, in our case at least, decidedly unphotogenic. Though, it may be exciting to imagine a life in front of an audience, genuine people tempted by reality-shattering reality cameras should follow the advice of fray poster ScrewJack2008 , and run for their lives.



Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Lifetime Didn’t Find the Steubenville Rape Case Dramatic Enough. So They Added a Little Self-Immolation.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.