Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I don't know why I feel entitled to an opinion about things I know nothing about.

I have never seen an episode of "Jon & Kate Plus 8" -- not one -- but yesterday afternoon I could not help having a conversation in which I expounded my elaborate theory about their relationship and what they really ought to be doing for the sake of their family (quitting the television show, recommitting to each other and the marriage, seeking meaningful therapy as a couple and also as a family).

What right do I, or does anyone, have to an opinion about what the Gosselins should do? One could argue that by making themselves public figures, they've invited everyone to have an opinion.

But this issue of having an opinion without any background knowledge goes way beyond reality TV. I do it all the time, in almost every aspect of my life. My friends know that I am liberal with advice about all kinds of things I have no personal experience of, and yet they continue to put up with my spouting off on stuff I know nothing about: marriage, child-rearing, career development, real estate, galactic domination...

On a good day, I pretend that my status as a noncombatant makes me an objective observer, much in the way that people go to priests for advice. But priests at least have some counseling training (not to mention that whole mission-from-God thing), and the power to confer absolution when necessary.

Then again, if I limited my conversation and opinions to things I actually know about, I wouldn't have much to say. Dogs are funny. Coffee is good. Macs are better than PCs, and Tide with Bleach really works.

Beyond that, it's all just a matter of arbitrary opinion... leave some of yours in the comments section.


Karen Olson said...

Nor sure you really need to have seen an episode of Jon and Kate, since they're plastered all over the tabloids these days.

We have watched the program from its onset and now it's just plainly clear that TLC needs to pull the plug before those children get hurt even more.

And that's my opinion.

Tom Ehrenfeld said...

Sadly, Jon and Kate Plus Eight is really two different shows--the first ran for something like four years, and was a really cute show, home-movie-like clips featuring adorable kids in relatively "normal" situations. You could have an entire show about the challenges of trying to get most of the six kids to the potty on time. Cute and innocent.

And then very recently it changed, and at a very fundamental level. Now, the tensions and differences between the parents must surely have been there for some time, and what happened behind the camera must certainly have been not insignificant, but, but, there was a sudden recent point where it was clear that they were not getting along, and it was clear that being "Jon and Kate Plus Eight" was having a toxic effect on everything.

I used to walk by while Hetchen and Hayley watched the show (in its first version) and it was cute. But I watched the entire first episode of this season, and also last night's episode. And suddenly this was a show about so many different things. It became a crazy meta-show about the price of fame, where dealing with the paparazzi that this family essentially invited into their lives became a central issue. Where the parents disingenuously complained about the price of fame, while benefitting at the same time from so many perks, from freebies (and the shows are increasingly based on products/trips/etc that they receive for promotional value), to book opportunities and so forth. That first show of this season was brutal to watch and very hard to turn away from.

But last night's was just painful painful painful. Both Jon and Kate have no ground whatsoever to stand on in continuing the show. It has clearly been a factor in exacerbating their divorce. They each talk about being there for "my kids." Yet neither refer to "our kids." It's so wrong, at so many levels, to have them open more about their marriage to the folks who run this show than to each other. The right decision for the kids would be to put the show in hiatus, plain and simple. The raw footage of their parents talking shit about the relationship will be their home movies....Even in this age of over-exposure that's far too much.

So yeah, I strongly agree that the plug must be pulled on this show. I can't see TLC remotely consider that, since ratings are enormous since things have gone bad for the family. But you would hope that the parents would show some common sense.

JIM LAMB said...

Now you know why I don't have a TV in my house. I can watch the occasional ball game that I'm interested in at the bar next store and get all the scores off the internet. The rest is garbage, including most of the "news".

Linda Brown said...

Good to know about Tide with Bleach. That's an opinion based on experience! And, as I recall, experience from someone who spills a bit.

AnswerGirl said...

Hey... actually, my sister Peggy was the one who introduced me to the power of Tide with Bleach. Apparently it is the only thing that works on elephant smells.

Linda Brown said...

Um. Hmm. And just why would Peggy need to eradicate elephant smells?

AnswerGirl said...

She used to be a zookeeper! She worked with Monica and Lisa at the Virginia Zoo (see them here: http://www.virginiazoo.org/about-the-zoo/mammals.asp -- now they have a third).