There is a weekly entertainment newspaper in Hudson County, New Jersey called The Hudson Current. In this week’s Current there is a section called “Scene & Heard” where local people are asked inane questions like, “What is your favorite mixed drink?” This week’s question was, “Would you ever appear on a reality TV show?” In the left hand corner of the first page there is a picture of a very attractive woman. Her response to the question is, “No, I think they are really stupid. The only one I would consider is Fear Factor. I would make sure that I win. The only part that would be hard is the bugs, but you can vomit afterwards. Plus they bring you to really cool places.” The emphasis is mine.
Last year I was looking for apartments, and because I was trying to save money, I thought I’d try out the roomate thing. In one very nice apartment I was interviewed by two attractive, young women as the television blared from the background. On the screen men and women were eating vile things: maggots and bugs and whatever filth, yet these two women didn’t even notice, never once glancing at the TV, never once saying, “let me turn off this disgusting crap,” almost as if this was normal background noise for the apartment. I was left repulsed and never called them back.
And I’m trying to figure out how people accept that it is okay to base yourself, that it is okay for a beautiful woman to eat maggots and vomit later, that it is purely normal background noise to have people crunching on cockaroaches while conducting an interview. It’s not entirely their fault, however. It’s as if society as a whole (at least from my narrow perspective in New York City) has deemed it okay to do such things, in other words, we keep telling ourselves that the ends justify the means. Surely such base behavior is not new to our generation, but I don’t remember a time in my life where it was so prevalent. E.g.: This past weekend I had an assh*le acquaintance of mine say to me, “Sometimes you have to bitch slap a woman from time to time,” and almost all the men around me said nothing except one brave person who said, “If you have to resort to violence then you’ve already lost.”
What are we then? Are we just intelligent animals looking for places to rut, looking for that one big score so we can have all our creature comforts met and live happily ever after in our McMansions ? Or are we something more? My belief is resting on the latter, though not necessarily for religious reasons as one might assume, for even if there is no God, I still believe we must strive to be more than just horny, greedy animals with opposible thumbs and big forebrains, that we must see what we really are capable of as the human race, and we can only do that if we rise above our base natures and aspire to be something more. What that is is entirely up to us.
I believe John Milton sums up my feelings best when he says in Paradise Lost:
By pleasure, though to Nature seeming meet,
Created, as thou art, to nobler end,
Holy and pure, conformity divine”