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February 21, 2008

Americans have become obsessed with two things in the last few years – self-help books and reality tv. I am equally mystified by most of both. Not that I don’t think helping yourself isn’t a good thing, it is, but all this fatuous instruction by people with virtually no credentials that I can discern is a little hard to take. I think I am at least as smart as most of them, so why should I listen to them? Do I believe in the power of positive thinking, you bet. Do I think I can make a million dollars by visualizing myself as wealthy, not on your life. We have become such a weird nuts and fruitsy people that we have stopped believing in hard work as a pathway to success. On the other hand, we will volunteer to eat spiders, get dunked in dung, run barefoot through China and generally air our neuroses to millions of people for a few minutes of notoriety. I won’t call it fame because I doubt most people can name the “contestants” on most of the reality shows five minutes after they are over. There is one type of reality show I do like; those shows on which people who are truly talented compete to live a dream through that talent. My two favorites are American Idol and Project Runway. Real people, with real talent, with real dreams; working hard. I like that.


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