Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What's *Your* Agenda?

Okay. I admit it. There’s an ulterior motive as to why I blog and tweet and Facebook. I have an agenda: Help others benefit from many of my life experiences without having to make all the mistakes I’ve made. Someday I might have a product to market. So I put myself out there and share. A lot.

Republicans claim Democrats/Obama have a Socialist agenda. Democrats claim Republicans have a partisan, conservative, big money agenda. Politics is pretty much “all about” agendas; look in the dictionary under “agenda” and there are likely to be pictures of a donkey and an elephant.

Then there’s television. ABC pushes Disney both overtly and subtly (e.g., "General Hospital" character Brook Lyn sang "When You Wish Upon A Star" during Karaoke night at the show's pub); NBC makes equally sure they endorse things “Universal-ly.” If you have network Video on Demand, you know they unabashedly push their programming and you usually can’t fast forward/rewind your way around it.

Inasfar as the programs themselves: There are some that receive my full attention and others are background noise while I’m online. An in-between were Bravo’s NY & NJ Housewives series. Then I realized: EVERY cast member had an agenda. It was one thing when it was about a family business and a little shameless self-promotion but then everyone “went Hollywood.” Now this housewife sells jewelry, that housewife sells clothing, another is selling sex tapes, the most classy is selling a disco song/video, and as a subtext, they’re *all* selling Botox. Their vicious attacks and backbiting left me empty and sad at how far (especially) women will go to embarrass and humiliate themselves (and each other) for airtime. I stopped watching the shows before their respective first seasons ended.

The “Bachelor[ette]?” More background noise. If the goings-on were anymore slimy, I’d have to staple myself to my seat. Every participant is out for something and it’s rarely love. Most sickening of the recent dregs is Frank Neuschaefer—one of the last three bachelors vying for Ali Fedotowsky. He had a "sudden epiphany" and realized he was still in love with his "ex-girlfriend Nicole."

In full view of the TV audience, Nicole played into a sickeningly phony love scene with Frank as they declared their revived love for one another. He then flew to Tahiti to let Ali know about his change of heart and left the (vulnerable?) Bachelorette momentarily heartbroken. (Who was only too ready to tell all on Jimmy Kimmel and George Lopez.)

I mean… Seriously? Who freakin’ does these things? Is there anything at all minutely real about TV at ALL these days? These people make my skin crawl at first sight. How could anyone find them remotely interesting/marketable? Sadly, someone, somewhere is likely to take the Frank & Nicole storyline and turn it into something. Or maybe that is how Frank will attempt to accelerate *his* agenda—making it as a screenwriter—which was reportedly his sole purpose for being on “The Bachelorette” in the first place and was never really estranged from Nicole. (Translation: Nicole knew Frank was going on the show to further his agenda, supported him in the effort to be something he is not so he could be something he wanted to be. Ewwww.)

I initially thought Jake (the last bachelor) was "the real deal" and was disgusted when he chose Vienna because she was so unlikeable. Then he went on "Dancing with the Stars." When that didn’t give them enough airtime, he and Vienna very publicly broke up and I realized they actually deserved each other because they both had equally high yuck factors. (Chris Harrison is applying for a Ph.D. in relationship counseling--or sainthood--as I write this.)

Then, of course, "Bachelor Pad" debuts August 9th on ABC. Or as I like to call it: "Invasion of the Bachelor/ette Bottom-Dwellers." The most despicable cast members (like country singer Wes from Bachelorette Jillian episodes) play Twister for money as they behave badly/provocatively. (Jillian, BTW, has now officially split with fiancé Ed.)

Yeah, I know… Stop watching if it annoys you. And yes, I know it says something about me that I watch at all. Stupid. I can’t even claim “ignorant” because I *do* know better. (But then what would I write about?)

It has never been clearer that virtually everyone in public view has a price and to further the value, an agenda is designed.

Writing about this subject was prompted by today's New York Daily News article about a poll that declares life is downhill for women after age 31. That, after age 31, women lose—or believe they start losing—their looks and sense of self.

Admittedly, my reaction is skewed because I’m way on the over side of 31 and I’ve had a stick up my butt for a while since the world seemed to stop listening to me altogether when I turned 50. But that’s personal. (Doesn’t keep me from having a voice and using it to scream from the highest mountains—or setting fingers to keyboard—to get my point across.)

Supposedly 2000 women were polled by QVC—a television/internet shopping network that sells beauty, vanity, and fashion for a premium. You know, the shopping channel whose agenda it is to make sure that we 31+ women (more likely their target consumers than our younger counterparts) realize we’re useless without them? Hence, we must become their uber-consumers and take advantage of their fabulous products so that we can ease the pain of merciless aging, lest our remaining 50-years-or-so be rendered totally and utterly insignificant.

In a world full of (eventual) karmic reconciliation, those of us with an agenda will answer for whatever actions we’ve taken to exploit our agendas. So far so good for me. QVC—which cannot possibly be doing as well in these lean financial times as in the past—will hopefully find they've viciously and self-servingly attacked women’s vulnerability to its core (while doing everything within their capacity to cultivate that vulnerability) and will have a serious karmic debt to pay.

BUT… in the meantime… They’ve lost me as a customer. There’s a lot I cannot control in this world. (Painful to admit and sometimes harder to accept.) This I can.

Care to join me?