The Enigma of Tabloid Talk Show Guests

Tabloid television shows are a part of our pop culture that have been hanging on way too long.

It’s always made me curious to figure what the mentality of those individuals who agree to participate in these things is. What prompts them to reveal the ugliest details of their private lives in front of complete strangers?

Of course, the main attraction to these people has to be the attention it draws to them. Imagine, yesterday you were Marge Nobody loading up the dryer at the laundromat and today you are on the Maury Show having 20 men tested to see which of them, if any, fathered your twins Booby and Bobby. Now, insignificant Fred Average can reveal to millions of Jerry Springer viewers that he has been cheating on his poor wife Heather Sue with all of her female relatives, best friends and babysitters..

These types of programs are particularly guilty of helping perpetuate negative images of minorities and underclass whites, who come across as mostly loud, crude,illiterate and morally irresponsible. Perhaps these ones, who feel part of the most neglected citizens of our society, see their acceptance as guests as some weird validation of their worth, a reason to feel important, even if it’s for the worst of behavior. They do not seem to grasp that they are unwittingly promoting a host of false stereotypes to viewers worldwide.

Worst of all is when parents allow their children to be trotted out for public display- grossly overweight babies or nymphomaniac teens or incorrigible boot camp-bound brats- all available for exploitation.. I don’t put as much blame on these kids as I do their parents for sanctioning, even precipitating the use of their children on these kinds of shows.

All these tabloid talk show participants claim they have sought out these programs because they are so desperate for help that they need Maury or Jerry or Montel or whoever else to “help” them.


Who are they kidding??

If they sincerely wanted help, they could have utilized the resources in their own local areas or, if their small town didn’t have help, driven a few miles to a larger city to get assistance. The problem is that this would require them to be discreet and discreet people do not get on television to reveal their “shame” to the world and a studio audience full of salivating voyeurs.

Don’t these folks comprehend that Maury, Jerry et al have no sincere interest in them other than exploiting their dysfunction and could care less about what happens to them once they leave and go back to their little towns and obscure existences?

One wonders what it is about our modern society that so causes some to permit their value to be trivialized for mere entertainment. The more people watch, the more they develop an ambivalence towards personal integrity, virtue and self-restraint.

Tabloid television is, sadly, symptomatic of a culture headed dangerously towards moral apathy.

Once that happens, we are lost.

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