Like many people I got sucked into the world of “reality television.” I was loving “Celebrity Apprentice”, “Survivor”, “Big Brother” and any “Real Housewives” they put on Bravo. I even watched that silly show “I Love New York” and all I cared about was who was fighting and which man would be shirtless today. As I decided to get in touch with my inner being, the appeal of such drama lessened. It had a little to do with the coming onslaught of almost 24 hour reality television stations and my rebellious nature against what was trendy; but mostly I just didn’t want to see all that negativity anymore. Alas I still indulge in some, opting more for my cooking competition shows over some “Love and Hip Hop” foolishness, but I still get some Real Housewives drama from time to time. Why?
As a Buddhist it’s important to be careful about what you consume. I have switched to organic fruits and vegetables as much as my bank account will allow. I have reduced my meat consumption with the goal to become pescatarian and possibly fully vegetarian at some point. But while I and most people have focused on what they put in their bodies, most forget about what the mind consumes. The same people eating healthy, hitting the gym, meditating and living a relaxed life still watch violent movies, listen to music that objectify women, love their porn and their Trash TV.
This is not a condemnation of expression. I’m a writer with a very creative mind. I appreciate art in all its forms but I have to see the purpose behind it. Sometimes I just don’t understand why someone would choose to use foul language when there are so many words to actually add more emphasis than what they lazily decide to use ( yes that was a read ). It’s not to say I don’t curse but I pretty much know when I do I’m deciding to take the easy way out, and sometimes I am being condescending lowering myself to that level. I do draw the line with music and television that I feel serves only to be salacious and provocative for the sake of shock only. I dare not give specifics because that would breathe life into their foolishness, exactly what they want to happen.
But with all that I still watch my Real Housewives, love the dance competition show “Bring It!”, and get a kick out of “Vanderpump Rules” ( I would never get with Jax as sexy as he is ). I also still watch many action and violent movies as I am a fan of art and a good story. What most people who try to demonize all forms of art that don’t have a ” pleasant” nature forget is everyone is different and art is subjective. You can’t expect everyone to have the same reaction to Cynthia Bailey having her friends sign a friend contract ( gurl really) or Jason Statham putting yet another villain’s lights out with a high kick ( please expand your acting range ). This is art and at some point one has to pull it together.
But for me I am intelligent enough to look at a murder scene and know it’s fiction. It’s all fiction no matter how based on reality it is. I’m not going to stop loving or feeling empathy for my fellow man because Hannibal Lector is eating liver ( although I can’t watch the new Hannibal on NBC… strange ). I am able to consume and just move on even though I still edit that consumption for greater balance and to have a nice cushion between my natural spirit and potentially being desensitized. My novels have sex, they have murder and just foul language but it’s all with a purpose that drives the story. Being creative myself I can look past what’s on the surface to what that artist was trying to do with what’s on the screen. And in the end its my decision if I want to watch whatever program or not.
The other reason I watch Trash TV is for a release. I’m not one to read people, use sarcasm, or come outside myself, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to. For the most part it is hold over from before I began my Buddhist journey; and having those important developmental years in the muck so to speak, I can’t be expected to automatically transform overnight. I stay mindful as much as possible but when I get home and want to decompress, I want to see my rage, my cattiness, and my lust on-screen and get my vicarious on. This Trash TV, this violent movie, and this sex driven plot is helpful to me and very well could be to others.
Life is about choices and we all have the ability to decide what suits us as we journey on through life. I read nonfiction mostly, meditate, and live a really great and thoughtful life. And on TGIT, my phone is off, I have my Olivia Pope juice and I am getting life.