I don’t make resolutions, at least not New Year’s ones. I firmly believe that we retain the right to change our lives any day of the year.
That said, I always seem to be a bit more reflective around the first of the year, original, right? I think about the things I know I should be doing but for one reason or the other never manage to do. Take this blog for instance: I know I have it, I know I should write in it more often, and yet I can’t quite get a handle on it. One of the things that keeps me from blogging is this nagging voice at the back of my head tauntingly jeering “you have nothing to say.” Much to my chagrin, I usually let it get the best of me. But not this time. That little mean voice can go straight to hell, or wherever mean voices go.
So I’ve un-resolved to blog at least once every week. I may not always have insightful,
witty (I will always be witty) things to say, but I have promised myself I’m going to write anyway. My partner claims that it makes one a better writer, I think that’s something good writers tell bad writers to be nice, but what do I know? With all that said, the first blog of the new year:
Buckwild is the latest in a long line of Mtv reality television. It premiered the first week of January and according to Mtv’s website, “Buckwild is an authentic comedic series following an outrageous group of childhood friends from the rural foothills of West Virginia who love to dodge grown-up responsibilities and always live life with the carefree motto, “whatever happens, happens.” To be clear, I have not yet seen this show and my opinions are based solely off of Mtv’s commercials, their history, and broader trends within reality programming. The first time I saw a commercial for Buckwild I thought, “so it’s The Real World: Appalachia.” The commercials stress the rural dynamic almost to the point of caricature. The show’s participants are shown using the bed of a pick-up truck as a swimming pool, wrestling in mud, and speaking in almost unintelligible accents (indeed I’ve been told the show actually provides subtitles for some of its participants). The argument could be made that teenagers/young twenty-somethings across the country are engaging in things like mud wrestling, pick-up truck swimming and such activities are not specific to, or reflective of, rural West Virginians. My issue is not that Mtv is documenting the “authentic” experiences of this group of friends, but rather that it seeks to do so in a way that will serve to perpetuate classism and Othering.
Again, these are just the insights I’ve gleaned from the commercials, but it certainly does not feel as though Mtv is trying to present these people and their communities as relatable, quite the opposite, I’m afraid. In one thirty second commercial Mtv has managed to reify almost every stereotype Americans have about rural Appalachia and its inhabitants. Mainly, that they are regressive, unintelligent, poor, and almost alien in speech and mannerisms.
There is the chance that I am completely wrong and Mtv’s Buckwild will prove an insightful and progressive allegory about overcoming stereotypes and classism. Though I highly doubt it, I guess I’ll have to watch.