New York City cabs, those of the autumnal revolts, have this ostensibly value-added back-of-front-seat TV system — the very thing that caused the revolt because it hosts a GPS system and allows credit-card payment in the cabs. Well, this TV channel (NY10) alters its programming with the frequency of Puritan orgies.
So, we get to watch quality NBC-backed drivel, heading uptown, downtown, crosstown, moving quickly, slowly and stopped and backwards. Lately, the TV’s been playing promos for the new series ‘Lipstick Jungle,’ starring Brooke Shields and two other eye nuggets as executives doing something empowering and then whining.
It struck me that this animalistic, primal view of mankind is assuming a far more prominent stance in pop culture. That we’ve given up this stance of superiority to our fellow earth-creatures and accepted that we’re still tied to our primal roots through urges that we can’t seem to shake.
A co-worker of mine says that nothing’s changed, that any change that we see is just an apparition. He claims that because racism, sexism, they all still exist in society, it’s proof that nothing changes, we just find ways to cover it. Now, I don’t necessarily agree: slavery’s over, the gap in lifetime earnings between men and women is thinning, everybody can vote, etc. Things can change without changing completely — there’s a vast gray area in which change can articulate itself.
But what he’s saying does ring true to some degree.
Humans, evolved as we are and conscious of that evolution, spent the early part of modern history sure they were a higher, more noble species. Made on the Sixth Day, et cetera. The Church barbecued people for saying otherwise; God wouldn’t go out of his way to save a deer as much as he would to save Brother Monkolius, right?
But as science has won a greater footing, it’s undermined those assumptions. Obviously, Darwinism makes us more cognizant of our link to the past.
Now, we seem to be interested in retracing our steps on the evolutionary ladder, in distilling out those primal urges and proving to people that if human beings are at all special, it’s only for a tremendous cowardice and grand delusion. (Other things I don’t agree with) The new message is that if there’s anything that differentiates humans from their less evolved ancestors, it’s the capacity for deception and destruction.
Shows like Lipstick Jungle, Kid Nation, The Moment of Truth, Survivor, Cashmere Mafia, Desperate Housewives all seek through a variety of means to reduce people to their vile/embarrassing essences (even Kid Nation, that rancid example of exploitative faux-reality).
Is this what we’re in for now? Are we going to see shows cropping up in which every episode, a man and a chimp are asked to make different decisions and we get to vote on which one was more moral? That would be sweet.