In waxing philosophical and anthropological about one of my main mainliners–my addiction with Bravo’s Real Housewives of All Perdition shows– I take an Imax view into the darkness that the TV Eye reveals as it dispassionately prods beneath the frothy upper layers of my beloved shows. Here’s what I see.
The part about misogyny is something that is always bubbling just a tad beneath surface level for me. But that, in a grander scheme that we know to be far greater than the strange microcosm of the Real Housewives shows, is made all the more tangible by the invasive gaze of the TV Eye trained on these women. TV Eye. I’m going to blatantly use the Iggy Pop song that brought a merciless end to the sixties with its raging roar, to refer to the camera. I credit the brilliantly reckless and timeless Iggy Pop with putting an end to the “Love” decade with the beginning of that song’s defiant roar.
I’ve found myself using the words TV Eye in a few of my posts this week because I can hear the roar that heralds a wake up call. Here’s what I see when I use those two words in my own words from an article about the end of an era and the beginning of another:
“I wasn’t there but wish I could have been–without cowering under the table of music history.. Have you seen the footage, grey and grainy, on YouTube? Iggy Pop and The Stooges at some hippie dippy festival in–was it 1969? There he is, in all his sinewy shirtless glory, with his garage band scowling at a dumbstruck audience that still clung to the wilted, post-Altamont, trampled hope of peace, flower power and all you need is love, love, love. The hippies looked scared, but above all, their doom was heralded by the unleashed whirring raw power of the first chords in “I Wanna be Your Dog”, then sealed with the deeper, primal roar of “LOOOOOVE” that started the jittery roller coaster ride of “TV Eye.
“Love”—that catch word that they so embraced, was brutally hurled at them as a rhetorical defiant question, or insult. A reminder of their utopian bubble being burst by the merciless new Proto-Punk sounds raging from the amps. Poor hippies were clearly under siege by this nihilistic new reality bulldozing their dream, condemning it to the realm of all short lived and unfulfilled promises that time would not allow a generation to keep. And so came the love decade to its screeching end.”
There’s more, but you get the jest. I adore music and have been–and above all, still am (ridiculously enough) a two-bit music writer while I’m doing stranger things I never could have imagined. Still, I think in music, if you will. Dunno if it’s a crazy and convoluted way to say that Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes are all around us and altering what we know as the sum of our experiences as never before. Are we ready for this next paradigm shift? It’s here with or without us.
I happen to think that Iggy is a genius and although he first scared me (as even Bowie did), I recognized the raw power of genius and someone that is credited– with Bowie–to have steam rolled another era in music–or in Bowie’s case, “to have forced the world into my scheme of things.”
I think the TV Eye is now part of our altered shared experience. I think Warhol’s 15 minutes have changed television. I think reality shows can’t help but pick up what’s already there and shine its blinding mirror glare back at us so we have no choice but to see it. I think no one remains the same while that TV Eye is silently trained on this new Su-Reality. And it coldly mirrors a society that has always devalued us in it. Only now, we have to rubber neck at the train wreck that we’ve been helpless to prevent.
Please read me with a Bill Murray inflection, because that’s how I truly sound in my head and try to picture the defiance and insurmountable perseverance of Joan Rivers so it sounds funny while it screams.
Why are we surprised? About the world we live in and how it really sees us? Not just us as women, but men, too, as human beings with preassigned roles like well tailored straight jackets. Let’s go back to Bowie and how just visually he stuck his finger down his throat at it way back!
Anyway, I always say that my go-to hair fix for a bad hair day is a burqa…but, think about it. So what if it’s PI? I also say there’s no room for PC in comedy. I’ve learned to say what I want and I’ve had to say it louder–sometimes with a roar. Especially in that silly little boy’s club that music was and still is. I did resort to using just my initials for a first name–and while at it, threw in another for my MN–cause I didn’t have one–back in the day. Dunno if it was to gain that foot in the back door of music, or to watch the expressions when I entered for an interview. So Phuket!
Why are we shocked that it’s all darker than we expected? It’s been just as dark without the TV Eye. It’s just that now that thingie is making us uncomfortable by flaunting it. Everybody wants it to stop. But Reality TV is running rampant. And I like it, ’cause it’s making us remember things we want to forget. How strange that we’ve come here for escape or guilty pleasure–but bigger still, how wide awake now!