Thursday, November 25, 2010

Bristol Palin and the muddled American viewer

(Bristol, the dancer?  There is more going on in this competition than just dance.)

I was forced to watch Dancing With The Stars this year against my better judgment. I couldn’t stand to hear my wife screaming from the living room as Bristol Palin, who was absolutely terrible at the beginning, made it through each subsequent week. My wife has a bit of a heart condition, so I thought I needed to be by her side to keep her calm. But as I watched, I began to worry about my heart, which is perfectly fine.

Sarah Palin’s daughter displayed no rhythm, clumsy footwork, and a tendency to walk through steps that should have been danced, if you know what I mean. There is no doubt that she got better, as almost anyone would with intense training for weeks by a dance expert. But she should have been eliminated weeks ago, before Brandy and at least one other contestant were voted out. I’m no dance expert, but after having spent the past 25 years in latin dance clubs in four countries, I can see who has the moves and who doesn’t.

How do we explain this interesting result? There are only two explanations that I can imagine. First, the American public does not have the ability in general to judge dance or almost anything else critically. The plethora of really bad movies, tv shows, books, websites, and music of the past two decades would argue for this explanation. It may just be that there are too many people with too much money to spend on entertainment to allow natural selection to do its job efficiently. As my mother used to say about certain people, “their taste is all in their mouth.”

The second possible explanation is that politics was at work in the Bristol Palin case. Right wingers, or tea partyers, or whoever voted for her to show their political support indirectly for Bristol’s mother by usurping a popular tv program that is supposed to be about dance. Of course, none of this is Bristol’s fault; she is mostly just a clueless kid from Alaska.

Either explanation is disappointing to me. Come on America. Put on your crap detector and think straight. Let’s give credit where credit is due. If something is lousy, let’s call it lousy. If something is good, let’s call it good. It’s simple, really.

Article first published as Bristol Palin and the muddled American viewer on Technorati.

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