A recent fox television special involved a millionaire choosing a wife from
50 women he had never met (who just happen to be models), through a contest involving swimsuit, evening gown and interview events.
The millionaire, Rick, looking suspiciously like a young Pete Rose, picked a statuesque blonde, Darva, to (as they put it), "have and hold until death do they part."
Get out the tissues; the vacuous gold-digger has wed the creepy rich guy.
One can only look to history to realize this is a return to traditional human values, but not in any positive sense. The pageant–nothing more than a showcase of the worst qualities of both sexes–hearkens back to the days of feudal lords from horseback choosing the miller’s daughter as a mistress.
For centuries, marriage was strictly an economic need, perhaps finding its most "human" definition in the past 50 years–true love, partnership, at the very least common interest. Has this same pie-in-the-sky morality escaped us in the rush to the enlightened society, and more importantly high ratings?
True, some cultures still practice arranged marriages, but this spectacle is light-years beyond and blasphemous in comparison. And while people marry for various reasons–prestige, economics, cool car, etc.–it’s rare that they advertise it in such a shameless manner.
In most pre-sexual-revolution marriage situations, women lived as a sort of domestic slave–a mute, an unequal dependant. Rick and Darva’s wedded bliss implies this sort of hierarchy. Perhaps this hierarchy is more in tune with mail-order brides, but is it unreasonable to assume Rick will let the runner-up step in the instant Darva is not be able to fulfil her duties as trophy wife?
Beyond the questionable depth of the couple’s commitment, the show’s timing adds salt to the wound of recent CBC budget cuts and layoffs. Arguments in favour of stripping the CBC of its mandate and ability to produce highbrow content revolve around the cost vs. benefit axis. It can be said with certainty that while the Junos may be boring, rarely have they surrendered all semblance of good taste in the quest for savage ratings.
Over time, television will give way to Running Man-style execution game shows. You’ll probably never even notice, the slope will be so gradual. The average Joe may be too busy debating whether The History of the Bikini fits more into the arts or entertainment categories of the A&E mandate, to notice the painful implications of such a scheme.
‘Tis a downward spiral we ride. Ten years ago, who’d have thunk we’d evolve so far as to cheer women wrestlers being hit with steel chairs?
When shall we reach the next level of human degradation?
Personally, we give it six months.