Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Wasted Resources and Racism in America!

My sister-in-law recently turned us on to a new show on MTV. I am definitely not part of the MTV target demographic, but we have found ourselves inexplicably drawn in to Laguna Beach: the Real Orange County. Who can say why certain things attract certain people. I guess I find it equal parts California breeze-heads and sociological experiment with the rich white youth of America. I am drawn to breeze-heads because I so desperately miss California right now. I am only a year removed but would give anything to go back. I am drawn to the sociological experiment because as a social scientist I find it completely fascinating to observe the high school brats in their element in a way I thought to be impossible.

Some people question the reality aspect of the show because the very act of adding cameras to the equation ensures that the sample is tainted. People never act the same in front of cameras. The extroverts bubble over like a kettle left on high blasting hot air at a nauseating rate. The introverts (of which there are none on this show) shy away from the camera and thus you never get to know anything about them.

The thing that strikes me about Laguna Beach is that these are the children of the richest people in Southern California and yet when they open their mouths to speak it is like feeding my arm into a wheat combine. It is painful to see the children of so much privilege and opportunity communicate in such an obviously ignorant manner. Watching the news coverage of the Hurricane in Louisiana one quickly realizes that the mastery of the English language is woefully lacking in many parts of the United States, but at least the poor people in New Orleans have an excuse. Abject poverty and an educational system that is completely ineffective and stifled by a never-ending string of tight budgets and not enough money has made it impossible for these people to be taught properly. Laguna Beach, California could not be further from New Orleans if it was on Neptune, yet these children of lawyers, doctors, business entrepreneurs and Hollywood moguls sound every bit as “poor” as people who have lived in crippling poverty all their lives. There isn’t one person living in the poor neighborhoods of south Louisiana that wouldn’t trade up for the opportunities afford these California breeze-heads and it is sad to see so much wasted.

I guess I must really sound like an old curmudgeon but I weep for the future if this is the so-called elite in the United States. No wonder China and India are kicking our asses in everything from manufacturing to high-tech. The sooner China deposes the United States as the number one economy in the world, the better. We are slow, fat and lazy. Much like Rome before the Visigoths sacked it 410 A.D. the United States is a corrupt society in need of “righting”.

What kind of a world do we live in where hundreds of thousands of New Orleaneans are ignored by FEMA for days, but when mudslides happen in Laguna Beach federal officials are on the ground almost immediately afterwards. I’ll tell you, we live in a world where “money talks and bullshit walks” people. Kanye West said it best: the federal government wasn’t faster at responding because George W. Bush doesn’t care about black people. What the Gulf Coast needed was urgent, decisive action, in essence, the President the led us head long into Iraq. What they got was a guy in a pair of khakis and a denim shirt posing for photos, a man with no answers and nothing to add to the effort except for blowhard babble.

So, dear readers, will I boycott Laguna Beach: the Real Orange County for all time? No, these kids are hilarious to mock. They are stupid and they revel in their own stupidity. Who can’t see the humor in that? But at the same time, I know that there are those who watch believing that these kids are great and they want to be just like them. They, of course, are the real problem. Not a bunch of breeze-heads living sliding houses on the left coast.

No comments: