Sunday, May 12, 2019

Viewing Television As A Window On Society

I Was Hoping For Something A Little Bigger!
A few weeks ago I found myself drawn to and watching a show about real estate and home-buyers in search of their "dream house". It was as if I could not look away and similar to how many people slow and linger at the site of a gruesome accident wanting to soak it in. As I pondered my attraction to this massive time waster I realized it was in a way a reflection on the attitudes of society or what we might refer to as the masses.

It should be noted this and other programs create a self-feeding loop that skews our expectations. Are we not just as good or better than these people? The answer to this question is, "better I would say," thus it is logical I would deserve even more of life's bounty, yeah, more and then some! This mindset is infectious. All across America, people are buying into this logic that they deserve it all. This is evident by the number of new cars being purchased every day with sub-prime loans. I must admit it was rewarding and a relief to view an episode where the house was not over the top and the cost reasonable.

The priorities buyers set for themselves and delighted in while searching for a home often highlighted the immaturity of youth dosed with a loose connection to reality. To me, it reeked of a society hellbent on overindulgence and entitlement. As a footnote, I do recognize my way of looking at the world is more than a tad different from the average Joe, and I do not say that with pride. Many of us who walk to a different drummer will admit we often stumble because we are out of step. The clean-swept sterilized visions of litter-free highways and well-manicured lawns often presented in commercials and such are very misleading. This should be considered harmful especially to our youth because they create false expectations of what they should expect in the real world.

Being very involved in real estate and design I found it important as a reminder never to forget what makes perfect sense to one person is pure nonsense to another, and often very expensive nonsense at that. Many times on these shows I heard the phrase, "that has to go, I couldn't live with that." Sadly, these references were about the color of a granite counter-top or the fact the appliances were not stainless steel. It seems to me buying a house for $300,000 then replacing an $8,000 three-year-old counter-top hinges on the edge of insanity.

Another phrase that roused my ire was "oh, this is really dated." sometimes this statement was directed at a house built only ten years ago. This was often followed by "it will have to be totally gutted." All I can say is God bless our throw away society. With many people across the globe living in poverty and squalor sometimes without plumbing, clean water, and even dirt floors this begins to become surreal. I realize this is a television show edited to maximize the viewer emotions, but my experience in real estate confirms what we see on these shows is not abnormal behavior. Seeing some of these self -indulging buyers gorging at the trough of their own self-importance made me pray their day of comeuppance was not far off.

Click To Play Peter At Tiffanys
It is not uncommon to have someone interested in leasing a property make outlandish and economically impossible demands oblivious to the fact you have already decided you do not want to lease to them. Usually, it is because of a deep-seated feeling they are unlikely to be able to financially fulfill any lease or contract they would sign or because it is simply a bad fit. When it comes to a commercial property such as office space an example of this is the person who is busy carrying on about all their cars and traffic to their business in an area where parking is already almost nonexistent. I have found the world is full of people who gain massive self-importance from wasting our time even when they might not have two nickels to rub together. To those readers familiar with the show "Family Guy" I'm reminded of the scene where Peter Griffen goes shopping at Tiffany's.

With the equivalent of only 4.28% of the total world population, Americans operate one-third of its automobiles. This translates into the USA using about a quarter of the world’s fossil fuel resources, burning up nearly 25 % of the coal, 26 % of the oil, and 27 % of the world’s natural gas. taking this to the next level by combining the issue of population and energy consumption we find the population is projected to increase by nearly 130 million people. This is the equivalent of adding another four states the size of California by the year 2050. With roughly forty percent of births reported as being unintended, it is difficult to paint a picture of America as being a country made up largely of self-aware and enlightened folk.

Bottom-line is television sometimes is more of a reflection of society than we might like to admit. In some ways, the shows we find ourselves watching are somewhat responsible for helping to create the values our society holds, rational or not. In life it is important we understand we are not the center of the universe. One thing I learned from my viewing before I put this diversion behind me and shut off the television was that at times it appeared the less deserving a person was the more demanding and arrogant they became. It was as if some strange perverse reverse law of physics had locked hold of their personality, understanding and gaining a little more insight as to what makes these people tick has some merit.


  1. I knew American Society was on a downward spiral when a "fight" broke out on a Geraldo Rivera talk show. Then Jerry Springer was passed the baton. Maury Povich who at one point in his television career was somewhat respectable, decided to lower his standards and go after the same gutter audience.

    This just shows how societies grow, mature, decline and collapse. It's happened throughout history. Except Americans have become too stupid to learn from history because if they did they would understand that is the job of politicians, to dumb down their electorate so they can't figure it out. It was once called "Bread and Circuses"

  2. Women are the ones who in a couple, are hell bent on Real Estate.
    They get to keep their foot on any joint money, and in separation the courts make sure they do well.