The Pope of America Takes on Reality TV
March 29, 2007, 8:07 am
Filed under: culture

What? You mean you didn’t realize America had a pope?? Say it with me – “Oprah.” Massive financial success and power, fiercely loyal following, self-styled spirituality for sale, generosity to others, literacy, oh the list goes on.

Her latest venture is sure to be an interesting one: unscripted drama (read “reality TV”). Variety.com is reporting that her company is developing a show for ABC called “The Big Give,” which “follows a group of 10 people who will be handed money and resources — and then challenged to find dramatic and emotional ways to use the coin to help others.” Whoever wins gets one of their own wildest wishes granted.

So many interesting questions here. Like this one – “Is this the commodification of generosity?” – or another way of putting it, “Who’s making money from other people giving it away? ABC? Oprah? Advertisers?” Or how about this one – “Are non-dramatic, non-emotional forms of giving now somehow inferior?” The questions about what all this communicates could go on for hours. I’ll leave it to you to ask some more. Mind you, I’m not trying to be a cynical jerk here – there are likely some more positive questions to be considered. I’m just trying to get the ball rolling.


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