I remember in the early 1990’s when complaining about violence in the media was de rigueur. Arnold Schwarzenegger was The Terminator in T2: Judgement Day, kicking ass as a cyborg on a motorcycle while schlepping a shot gun and an effeminate Eddie Furlong around Los Angeles. In Misery, Kathy Bates gave new meaning to hobbling and decreased the chubby chasing population simultaneously. And in one of the most mentally thrilling movies of all time, we learned that a skin suit is not only fashion forward, but a money pit. Who can afford that much Jergen’s? “It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.” Creeeeepy! News media offered unending coverage of violent acts. Tonya Harding was telling her opponent to break a leg, Amy Fisher shot to infamy with one bullet, and Rodney King, well, you know the story.
These days, we have a fresh, new medium in which we receive our violence: reality television. There is a reality television show on virtually every channel ranging from cooking competitions to globe-trotting missions. The shows that are gaining in popularity are the ones that are increasingly showing violence as a staple. Two of the most popular franchises in the Real Housewives universe are The Real Housewives of Atlanta and the Real Housewives of New Jersey. In Atlanta, wig pulling, name-calling, and boo-checking are the name of the game, while in New Jersey, one better hope for a table flip over a mob hit ( I am just kidding Caroline!) Despite these women being in their 30’s and 40’s, we love to see them fighting like pre-teens over a lock of Justin Bieber’s pubes. They backstab, talk crap, and point fingers, all while wearing $700 shoes and bad hair.
The catalysts for these fights are some of the pettiest reasons ever recorded. This season on The Real Housewives of New York, Jill Zarin has a verbal diarrhea-esque squirting about Alex McCord’s and Ramona Singer’s inappropriate donning of white to a wedding. Psst *whispering* Apparently it’s disrespectful to wear cream or white to a wedding, but not so much to tell the producer off camera that Alex was attending a wedding that was “beneath” her. I see a reunion of tears and freckly, heaving boobs in the near future. So if verbal and physical assault are so prevalent in our “reality” shows, why should we be surprised when petty aggression pops up in our actual reality?
Back in February, the web and YouTube.com were all aflutter over a story of one woman’s quest to obtain some syrup for her pancakes while attending the classy, yet understated establishment called Denny’s. When one woman kindly asked another if she may procure some of her syrup, the woman in possession ofthe syrup simply replied, “Bitch, your pancakes look fine to me.” From there, an ugly fist fight started and there within lies the dichotomy of America: a willingness to critique the etiquette of others and a willingness to physically harm someone over the ooey-gooey goodness of non-Vermont, non-maple syrup. Violence never tasted so sweet.