Today's political scene is one of turmoil and fear mongering from both sides. The economy is in the pits, there's oil in the Gulf Coast and Glenn Beck is shouting from Martin Luther King Jr.'s parking space.
With elections nearing and the national issues growing bleaker by the second, the student body turns its eyes toward a looming conflict that could reshape the way we look at the world forever. Will Ronnie and Sammi Sweetheart stay together?
Yes, I'm talking about the ever popular, ever ridiculous "Jersey Shore." The show - an impressive display of possibly the lowest cumulative IQ on a TV show since "Gilligan's Island" (seriously, it took them way too long to get off the island) - continues to captivate its hordes of followers' short attention spans for another season. More and more people have turned to this oily, bulgy, orange group of brain surgeons than ever. To find out what the appeal was, I decided to conduct an experiment.
As someone who enjoys conscious thought, I had until now never watched an episode of "Jersey Shore." This was mainly due to the fact that I think that the cast has replaced Mario and Luigi as the worst Italian stereotypes in American culture and set Italian Americans back almost 500 years. Recently, however, I disregarded prejudice and vegged out to the most recent episode of the show.
The result was, surprisingly, not surprising. In the two hours of my observation, I saw bickering, fighting, yelling, drinking and low grade MTV humping. In short, I didn't like it, but I can understand its appeal to the average college student.
So what does this say about our culture? This bizarre circus of tanned clowns that has so many of us fixed on its whirling center of infantile mentality is now a force to be reckoned with. I believe the source of its success lies not in the quality of the show, but in the world around it.
America is in a very dark time now, and we may be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it is going to be a long walk.
In times like these, the age-old adage is proven to be valid: Laughter is definitely the best medicine.
"I Love Lucy" nursed a frightened nation through the early years of the Cold War and the men of "The Three Stooges" slapped, tripped and bruised their way through World War II and the Great Depression. Every generation needs its own set of comedians, even if we are laughing at them instead of with them.
The "Jersey Shore" cast is made up of the most absurd people on television. Living caricatures, they dance across the screen, enraging and delighting in a manner that leaves people feeling like they're a few cards short of a full deck. We, however, need something purely entertaining, something that doesn't force us to think hard to find humor.
So I may be one of the few who don't enjoy the show, but I feel that it is a necessary medicine for America's youth in bleak times. Besides, I'm sure we are all dying to know what happens with Sammi and Ronnie.