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reality tv - Zach Bernstein English 1002 Kowalski Reality...

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Zach Bernstein English 1002 Kowalski Reality TV and Its Impact on Society Most information in today’s world is obtained through media. More specifically, a lot of information is obtained through television. But not only does information come from the television – so do thoughts, opinions, and even societal values. Reality television is one of the broadest-reaching and most immediate ways society’s principles and values are reflected, or even manufactured. Francine Prose, in her article “Voting Democracy off the Island: Reality TV and the Republican Ethos”, says that reality television “seeks to dismantle civilization rather than to improve it, [and] the goal is neither a common good nor the furthering of life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness” (228). Indeed, the underlying messages that reality shows send their viewers are not ones that promote good behavior, but rather ones that encourage competition, individualism, and image, in all the wrong ways. Prose references some of the key principles that reality television revolves around, which include “individualism, …a zero-sum society in which no one can win unless someone else loses, [and] the conviction that altruism and compassion are signs of folly and weakness” (226). Take almost any reality show – The Bachelor , Survivor , Fear Factor – and those principles are present. It’s every man for himself, there is only one winner, and everyone is ultimately against each other, competing and fighting their own battle.
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Prose also asserts that reality television “cannot help but have a desensitizing effect” (227). She says that lying, cheating, and scamming – themes that appear in many reality shows – is “the way the world works; it’s how people behave” (227). But she argues that societal values
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