Kate Gosselin: a defense

May 31, 2009

Kate Gosselin is being slammed in the media these days. I’m not a big TV watcher, but I do watch the odd episode of Jon & Kate plus Eight, mostly because I think those sextuplets are cuter than a baby unicorn being nuzzled by a lamb with a teacup-sized otter on its head.

The blogosphere is lately full of people complaining about Kate, though, and I’m sick of it.

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Criticizing Kate Gosselin really means that you have no idea how television works.

Despite the fact that it’s called “reality TV”, it should be noted that when you watch these shows, you’re not really seeing reality at all. Kate Gosselin exists for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and from those 168 hours- that’s over 10, 000 minutes a week- the show’s producers select only about 10 minutes to use as Kate’s screen time per episode. That’s 0.001% of her life that we see on this show. Do you think the producers go gaga for sweet moments where she quietly cuddles her kids or husband?

Or do you think it’s more likely that the producers might go out of their way to include clips where she’s doing something attention-grabbing, like maybe acting annoyed, tired, frustrated, and bossy, or reacting to the chaos of having a film crew and 8 kids in the house working on a tight schedule, or showing some other unpleasant (but human) emotion?

I agree that sometimes she doesn’t come off super-well on the show. But if you don’t think I could film YOU for a week and pick 10 minutes that made you look like a total jerk, well then listen, I have a videocamera. Name your week, sucka. I promise that I can capture that 0.001% of the time that you behave badly and edit you into a TV trainwreck, too.

Why would the producers go out of their way to make Kate look bad? Because making Kate out to be a jerk sells magazines and makes the show a topic of conversation. Because conflict drives stories, and reality TV is a story. Because every story needs a villian and the easy choice is often the meeeean woommaaaaan, in this case, Kate Gosselin. I’m not saying she’s perfect. But you gotta admit, she’s an easy target.

All the bloggers hating on Kate (and there are a lot), you might as well be screaming “She’s just not ladylike! And also I don’t like her haaair!” Oh wait, most of you couldn’t resist putting that in there, too.

Listen, I personally know dozens of people who have appeared on television, several on reality shows and many more in televised interviews. Not one of them seemed at all like their “real” selves in those situations. My real friends don’t cry profusely, burst into song, or wear golden bikinis when they’re just sitting on the porch.

Let’s all try to remember that edited TV is NOT impartial. The producers have a point of view and a financial agenda. Remember that their point of view is deliberately skewing your entire experience of “what really happened”.

What you see of Kate on the show cannot possibly be an accurate picture of what she’s really like- it’s just what the producers want you to THINK she’s like. Don’t confuse the semi-fictional characters you see on reality TV with real people, and for pete’s sake, let’s all find something better to criticize than her damn haircut.

CASE CLOSED.

CASE CLOSED.

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Is this a joke?

May 31, 2009

Here’s a new invention. But I don’t really understand. I mean, I guess I can see how you might like to have one of these, but I think I’d feel weird about folding it up and putting it back in my backpack after everyone on the camping trip has enjoyed its use.

Also, what are you supposed to do with the filled baggies afterwards? The site vaguely suggests that you “dispose of them responsibly”, but surely we should define “responsibly” before we just assume we’re all on the same page about where the poo should go. I mean, Wikipedia suggests that in rocky areas one should “smear it over the rocks for faster drying,” an unsubstantiated claim which sounds like a 1980s interior wall decor faux-finishing idea gone horribly wrong, and also, uh, some of us might like sitting on those rocks for sunbathing and picnics. And not to mention, where are your friends while you’re a-smearin’? Are they just waiting for you a few yards away on the trail? And upon your return to the group, does anyone high-five you?

I think people will be more likely to just toss the bags in the trash like a doggie bag, which isn’t a great idea, as human waste has pathogens that are bad for other humans (don’t get me wrong, dog crap is gross too, but at least it’s not full of hepatitis). I’m not gonna lie to you, this whole idea makes me a little upset.

I was amused that the bags are “degradable”, though. Not biodegradable. Just degradable. Like, you can ask them to do things no self-respecting bag would ever want to do. Like collect human waste. Oh wait.
Promise this isn’t gonna become a scat blog. I was just confused, is all.
Via Metafilter.


Proteus Syndrome

May 31, 2009

Mandy Sellars, a 34 year old British woman, has a rare medical condition that confuses many doctors, but is most often diagnosed as something like Proteus syndrome (the same condition as so-called “elephant man” John Merrick). The congenital condition has caused her legs to continually and unevenly grow for her entire life.

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Sellars’ legs now weigh over 200lbs (not counting the weight of her torso) which causes her mobility issues, ongoing medical complications, and pain. There’s a short print interview with Sellars here, and more photos here and here.

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The other woman in the above photo also has PS and has had one of her legs amputated to increase her mobility; Sellars plans to do the same at some point in the future. She’s the subject of a number of documentary pieces, and lives in England, where she helps organize fundraisers for the Proteus Syndrome Foundation.
Via Metafilter.


Whack-a-Meow

May 30, 2009

Whack-a-Kitty is just what it sounds like: awesome possum.


Guest Post: “My Acting” – IT’S ALIIIVE, by Shannon & Shannon

May 30, 2009

Well wasn’t THIS the most delightful thing to wake up to.

A pair of friends, acting their very best acting to the tune of Pageslap’s recently-unveiled short play transcribed from reality, “My Acting”.

Oh the Shannons, how I adore thee. Some people spend their Friday nights bumping and grinding at revolting nightclubs. Others spend their Friday nights wandering into strangers’ houseparties and trying to flirt. But you two? You two get cozy in your jammies with some chardonnay and a webcam, and what do you do? YOU DO YOUR ACTING.

Shannon and Shannon for the win! Next time I see you I’ll be sure to have a trophy of some sort to present to you. Hopefully it will be shaped like acting. Or possibly like Tim Allen.

– Shannon and Shannon are actors. And so much more.


Miranda July’s “The Hallway”

May 30, 2009

5-minute video of a conceptual art installation. Online here.
Via Metafilter.


Garfunkel & Oates – Update

May 29, 2009

Remember those funny chicks who sang “Pregnant Women Are Smug“? You can download a whole album’s worth of their songs for freeeee! Wheeeee!
Via Metafilter.