Naked protest

Humiliation nation

Once again, another letter-from-Mars culture story running on A1 on the New York Times. Like I’ve said before, I just love it whenever the “news” section tackles “culture,” because it requires they phrase and describe pop culture in such Onionesque, plain ways that it becomes kinda poetic. Their main news audience, they figure, knows absolutely nothing of what’s going on at NBC or ABC — so the reporters’ descriptions of what’s on TV always wind up reading like a 19th-century anthropoligist’s horrified, mesmerized descriptions of scatalogical rites amongst the Zuni Indians.

Today a reporter wrote about the reality-TV slo-mo trainwreck of The Bachelor, and came to this conclusion about American life:

Viewers have shown an insatiable appetite for the queasy thrill that comes from watching an ordinary person suffer searing public embarrassment in exchange for 15 minutes of fame.

Maybe I’m nuts, but this prose style always makes me laugh and laugh and laugh.

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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