Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Bob's (43rd) birthday was Sunday. We went to Villa Valenti for dinner, a wonderful, cozy Italian restaurant. They have homemade pasta and a great salad bar. Yum!

Tuesday Too

1.) According to a "New York Times" article, lawsuits against reality TV shows are on the rise.
What's your take on this new form of "entertainment"?

I have two reactions:

(1) I detest these programs, I can't stand the hype associated with them, I don't watch them, not even the first Survivor, I can't understand why anyone would watch, much less go on, any of them, the match-making, the stupid endurance contests, the disgusting eating stunts. And to top it off, I'm sure a lot of it is 100% contrived, too. The people who are involved in making these shows deserve a good swift kick in the pants.

(2) I detest the obsession with litigation. OK, if some jerk from a reality show tricks an innocent into doing something dangerous, fine, (maybe) suing is acceptable. But when a greedy pathetic fool willingly goes on one of these shows, then later claims that dangling in a harness from a bridge, or eating hot pepper and dog sh-t, or whatever stunt was required to win the 100K was harmful and so now some exhorbitant damages are deserved, it is ridiculous. Contestants on these programs deserve the Darwin Award (and a good swift kick in the pants).

2.) Are you inclined to reveal personal things about your self in your weblog that you might not be as forthcoming about with your friends/family? Why or why not?

No. True, all journaling is somewhat therapeutic, but that isn't really what I'm doing. For me this is a lubricant to encourage writing. Anyone can read the things I write. I am pretty much the same here as in person.

I have written some on this subject before, so here's a bit of that, mixed in with a few new thoughts. A long time ago I used my paper journal to vent, really vent, uncensored. Afterwards, I threw out some of the pages, thinking, I can't save this junk. I know there is a strong, perhaps dominant, school of thought that goes, don't censor yourself in your writing, and I understand where that is coming from, but once I achieved adulthood, I thought about the diary as a historical record, and I decided I wouldn't write too many things in my journal that I would mind someone reading. I have kept that structure in the years since, and it has worked out for me.

But the transfer of that little spiral bound book to the world of digits means, I think for me anyway, an additional layer of self-censoring. I have conflicting thoughts about whether this is good. No question inspiration and quality writing does come from strong feelings, and it is no fun to read bland, vanilla words. On the other hand, sometimes when I am surfing I read the journal entries of others and I think, wow, posting this stuff isn't the greatest idea. I don't agree with the thinking that such writing is healthy and creating a valuable dialogue in the online community. I believe fiction writing is better for making use of that sort of material. In my opinion there is a difference between tactlessness and creativity.

Finally, I am always cautious about what I write here about students. It wouldn't be fair to them to do otherwise.

3.) Is there something or someone you take for granted that you shouldn't? Maybe today is the day to change that. How would you go about it?

I try not to take things and people for granted, but on a day-to-day basis I think I could be more thankful. How to change? Some conscious effort needs to be made to consistently pause, and remember this.

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