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It's not. About me, I mean. Really!
I avoid labels when possible, but here goes: SWF, 40'ish, 20 year Navy veteran. I have an inner ham and her name is Ms. Piggy.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

More Jerry-pandering

The subject of today's diatribe is none other than the person I consider the biggest anal wart on the body human today, Jerry Springer.

OK, so that statement sets me up with holding any of a number of positions right off the bat, any one of which for many a reader probably causes immediate shutdown. Herein follows the pointless bitchy rant of yet another oversensitive tranny, or the local equivalent; there goes Marie again.

Perhaps it's pointless to bitch about Jerry Springer; I'd hope that anybody with a lick of sense knows he's a slime ball. It's sort of like complaining that sewage stinks. I think what bothers me most is what it says about people and the hopes transpeople have of ever getting a fair shake; because despite the right or wrong of it his brand of hate/shame-pedaling still sells. And all too often it's at the expense of transpeople in general. Whatever, take it for what you think it's worth, half of you will consider it TLDR fodder anyhow; I needed to get this off my chest.

Have you seen his new show, 'Baggage'? It's a smutty, perverted version of 'The Dating Game'. A courtesan is presented, followed by 3 suitors. Instead of cute smarmy questions, the vehicle is 3 of each person's dirty secrets. In a cheesy rip-off of 'Deal Or No Deal', each suitor stands next to 3 suitcases of increasing size, each containing increasingly lurid examples of each suitors' ugliest, most embarrassing secrets. Through the course of events they each open from the smallest to the largest case, and the courtesan gets to pick the suitor with the lesser of the evils they have exposed about themselves. Eventually the process of elimination means the least despicable candidate gets a chance to decide which of 3 appropriately lurid details, one of which actually applies to the courtesan, that they couldn't live with. The courtesan eventually must come clean as to whether the detail the suitor picked applies to them or not.

As an aside, I don't watch television at home myself. I'll grant that my general lousy attitude towards television fare generously colors this note. Jerry Springer is IMO the poster child for what is worst about television. Whatever, I sacrificed 20 years of my life helping protect everyone's freedom to make asses of themselves on public television, or to marinade their brain cells in this sewage. I'm generally equally free to disregard it.

I unfortunately find myself a captive audience to television from time to time. To be honest, I try to enjoy it for what it is as a guilty pleasure; secure in the knowledge I can just go home and take a shower afterwards. In this case I was at a local nail salon with a Hawaiian Princess, who had offered a starving computer geek a free fill on her acrylics. We were in company with 5-6 other women there enjoying light banter over our pedicures and nail treatments. When Jerry came on I was interested in whether or not a new show might mean he was getting away from his typical offering of raw slime shakes. No such luck.

On this show, our courtesan was a woman being wooed by 3 male suitors. Round One had our suitors open their suitcases to expose their first dirty secret. Mr. A admitted he was bad in bed. Mr. B admitted he had slept with Anna Nicole Smith. Mr. C admitted he has never driven a car. Ohh, but yes, he does have a day pass for the bus.

From these revelations, one could make any number of suppositions about the men themselves. Nonetheless, accompanied by Jerry's snide comments at her side, our courtesan was then required to choose amongst the 3 and eliminate one; all without any input from the suitors. I got the impression that the show's structure is such that the suitors are required to submit a large roster of their faults, and they have no input on which ones the show uses. Mr. A was her choice as the worst of the 3 evils and he was removed from the show; not without a chance to further embarrass himself backstage with some justification for his shortcoming.

Mr. B and Mr. C were left, and they each had their opportunity to explain their 'faults' from Round One. Why was Mr. B's admission a fault? Was it even true, or just a brag? Who knows, on to Round Two! Havin' fun yet?

Mr. C's next admission was that he had chronic halitosis. Mr. B revealed that he was $500,000 in debt. In this round, the suitors then had a chance to sit together with the courtesan (and Jerry, of course), and explain their faults, as well as declare why it was that their courtesan should choose them over their competitor. Ensuing competitive posturing and banter between the suitors. Yadda, yadda.

Now before Round Three we get the chance to hear 3 juicy revelations, one of which applies to the courtesan. She gets three suitcases to represent them too, all shiny lacquered red vice the stainless ones the suitors got.

So far, the show fit's in with the mold of daytime tripe with people exposing embarrassing things about themselves, of varying severity. It's what drives these shows and provides the entertainment for those who watch it. Whether it's what I want to watch or not is irrelevant. The people exposing sordid details about themselves generally harm no one but themselves, and I'll assume they get paid a sufficient amount to justify it for themselves. If it had been my television, the channel would have been changed the moment Jerry showed his true colors. And ya know, if you watch these shows yourself, I'll apologize for my tone so far, maybe what happened next will tell you why I really wish you didn't support this stuff. At any rate, I didn't say anything about the show and I joined in with the rest of the ladies there, making jokes about the whole thing.

Ready or not, here comes round 3; the supposed worst thing these men want to reveal about themselves. Mr. C now admits that he has 3 children from (his description) two unwed baby mommies. It's your best guess how they get to soccer practice, apparently he doesn't take them.

Mr. B (of course they saved him til last) now admits that his worst secret is that he dated a transsexual for two months.

So much for Jerry somehow reclaiming some shred of human decency for himself. Ensuing gasps from the crowd, the typical questions; "Did you know"? "Were you intimate"? All accompanied by Jerry's smug looks as he gleefully spread what was obviously supposed to be filthy across everybody's bread.

I pretty much zoned out and collapsed inside myself, unable to speak or respond. As I tuned out any of the rest of the show, all I was left that I could hear was a dull roar in my head. I looked around at the other ladies in the salon and saw their mouths forming words soundlessly. What if it was you lady, 50 pounds overweight? Or you, young Latina woman? How about you, Ms. Octogenarian?

I concentrated on looking down at my hands, far too masculine for my own taste; reminders of why who I am should be somebody's worst secret because they showed interest in me. And why that shame should be perfectly obvious to everyone in the national television audience. But there the salon person was, filing and trimming them anyway; oblivious to the torment in my head.

When the roaring subsided, I calmly and politely asked my manicurist to please change the channel. Apparently no one in the shop realized it was my request when they finally did change it, a few of them wondered out loud why they changed the channel before they had the chance to catch the exciting final bit of sewage. I spoke up then and stated; "He panders in people's shame and I can't stand to watch the man any longer".

I don't know how to feel about myself in the matter. Proud to have kept some grace and made my point without causing a scene? Or embarrassed because I couldn't pull it together enough to loudly proclaim I'm a transwoman and I'm tired of this man trying to tell people I should be ashamed of who I am?


Some people look at me weird when they learn I don't watch television.

7 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. My apologies. You have your impression of Mr Springer, and I have mine. It's not for me to defend Mr Springer; I have met him, and I like him and I do consider him a decent chap with quite a firm eye on the more sensational aspects of life. In that he is joined by much of the British press, and such esteemed tomes as the National Enquirer and the News of the World.

    Personally, I could never blame him for realizing what people like to watch!

    I apologize for my anger.

    Carolyn Ann

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  3. Marie, I am so sorry that you had to feel that way. Springer doesn't seem to realize or care about the sort of hurt he causes for transsexual women.

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  4. Carolyn Ann, as I mentioned I sacrificed 20 years of my being to support yours and Mr. Springer's right to their opinions. You've no need to apologize for yours, and thank you for tempering your anger.

    Pardoning Mr. Springer for his shame-pedalling is to me like condoning drug dealers. Hey, their product is popular, why jail them for providing it? Racism and slavery were popular once too.

    Esteemed tomes? Like the ones who played their part in Princess Diana's death?

    Jeffrey Dahmer, and any of a littany of people accursed for their actions were also considered nice chaps.

    The freedom to say what you like does not absolve anyone of the moral responsibility to be responsible for it as well, regardless of it's popularity.

    There's a simple thing called the Four-Way Test, Mr. Springer fails this miserably on every broadcast he makes.

    http://thefourwaytest.wordpress.com/

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  5. So sad that we still live in a world where it is acceptable to denigrate and humiliate an innocent element of society for the prurient amusement of the unwashed masses and worst of all you have used up your annual blog post on the subject!

    Caroline xxx

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  6. "Esteemed tomes" was a sardonic allusion. :-)

    The difference between Mr Springer and a drug dealer is that Mr Springer provides entertainment. It's a substantial difference.

    That four-way test is a good way of suppressing free expression! If it has to be honest - what's true? Why should anything political be fair? Points 3 and 4 of that thing are the same whimsy. I'm quite sure most pop music couldn't survive those 4 points! I wonder if Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" could survive that list? (Probably not, because it questions points one and two, and ignores as irrelevant points 3 and 4. I don't think Homer's Iliad could survive those points. #1 and #2 are the basis of a century old argument between atheists and Christians. And an older argument between religions.)

    I don't watch Jerry Springer's shows because they don't appeal to me. But I do know that lots of people do like his shows. A lot of people watch pro "wrestling", too. That provides no benefit; should it be condemned, as well?

    I have long rejected the idea that free expression carries any responsibility. The freedom to say what you like has no implication for the moral implications of what is uttered. If it did, we'd have to define what was reprehensible; that's not a job I'd like!

    In my experience, Angel, Mr Springer doesn't perceive any need to consider the feelings of any group. He does consider each person on his show to be an adult, and capable of making their own decisions. And yes, he does manipulate their immediate environment to promote a result that will sell. It's the TV equivalent of supermarket rags. He spotted an opportunity, and went after it.

    Caroline, we will always be in a world where denigration of others is acceptable. It's part of what makes us human. I denigrate right wing pundits, they denigrate liberals. Some can translate this sort of thing into comedy (Penn and Teller, George Carlin, etc), others into droll observation (e.g. Maureen Dowd), or scathing whimsy (e.g. Gail Collins). Others into whining sarcasm (e.g. Ann Coulter). One of Ms Coulter's many fans would probably disagree and relabel Ms Dowd and Ms Collins.

    It's the way of the world. But to castigate Mr Springer, simply because he's realized what people would watch? There's nothing wrong with that! Mr Springer spotted an opportunity, and went for it. That's to be applauded. The awesome power of the free market. It never ceases to amaze me.

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  7. Carolyn Ann, I think you missed the point of my blog, and the fact I agree with what you are saying about people being free to pursue whatever they consider as entertainment, and Springer being free to profit from it. I'm just as entitled to my opinion of him as you are and just as entitled not to watch his purile garbage. It was my mistake to open a theological discussion by bringing in the 4-points test because ethics will always be a variable that can be argued for or against according to one's viewpoint.
    I stand by my assertions of his character; drugs, cigarettes and sex are entertaining to the people who buy them but we don't excuse dealers, cigarette companies or pimps for their part in providing them. But again, this is opinion and you aren't going to change my opinion of him because he was nice to some people in a bar, or because he does a great job of making money from taking advantage of people's prurient interests.
    The people who appear on his shows are doing so of their own free will, and the people who watch it are also enjoying the same right. I'm sure Mr. Springer settles his conscience in part with the fact these people are enjoying the consequences of their own actions by their own volition. I can turn my cheek on it by the same token regardless of who it is that he gets to appear on his shows, be they transpeople of any flavor, or members of whatever other category one wants to characterize people by. It's victimless when the participants are there of their own accord.
    This show crossed that line by bringing in transsexual people and parading them as something our contestant B should be ashamed of for having dated. Being a transsexual is not a matter of choice, any more than someones race, age or sexual preference is. One could have replaced transsexual with any descriptor you cared for and it would have had the same connotations for the group in question. I can only imagine the furor that would have arose if instead Mr. B's admission was that he had dated a person of any race. I'm completely certain Mr. Springer would gladly set that up if he thought he could get away with it; only the fact that he'd be flamb'eed on a stake prevents that.

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