Thursday, May 26, 2011

"Extreme Makeover; American Excess"

                  Good morning folks,

If you've ever spent any time in Europe...and get past the "polite exchange of greetings" stage, you'll hear some veiled or subtle comment from a European that we Americans are cultural barbarians.  Part of that sentiment comes from the lingering class system that continues to pervade European society and part of it derives from jealousy that we Americans have led the world in both military and economic power for three quarters of a century.  Alas, part of it is true.

Europeans tend to read more fine literature and appreciate the fine arts more than Americans.  Europeans watch less trash television than Americans do.  With respect to tastes and lifestyle Americans are also guilty of excess.  We need only to look at our recent ten year "spending spree" when we overspent for home re-modelling and furnishings and living the good life on borrowed money to know that is true.

If I might co-mingle both trash TV and excess spending, I would like to point to the TV show, Extreme Makeover, Home Edition, as evidence of reaching my own personal "gag" factor.

A few years ago someone recommended the show to me; they indicated that they couldn't watch the show without breaking out in "bawling mode", tears of joy shed for the "family rescue".

So, I tuned into the show one evening and was amazed at the "orgy of giving" going on.  The show starts off with the right premise; they have usually identified a deserving family, usually with a heart-rending sad luck story.  A "need" is usually identified.  A home may have been damaged in a tornado, a returning vet finds while he was out serving America, cold-eyed banker foreclosed on his home...there are any number of these scenarios. 

To which I say "bravo!", let's get this vet installed in a decent home or let's get this storm ravaged family's home re-modelled!  But no, this simple display of help is not enough!  The show's premise, it's very "sexiness", must rely on showering the family with gift upon gift.  A home remodel?  Pshaw, Pshaw!  Let's give em a palatial home with state of the art, energy saving appliances and a security system!  Let's drown them in top of the line washers and dryers, let's build em a solar heated swimming pool!

Soon the needy family is literally drowning in largess and have joined the army of the "victim class" whose salvation shall always be just around the corner!  Indeed, have you read how many of these families returned to the "destitute class" very shortly after being "saved"?  Here's a google search page of many of those "needy" families in trouble with the tax man, a mortgage company..and even the police!

Hasn't anyone in America heard of a simple and quiet act of kindness anymore?  Must we all have to watch "orgy" level excess to be impressed by charity?  Rather than all the sexy stuff they do to draw big viewer ratings, why the hell don't they do one tenth of what they are doing now...and do it for ten different families instead of one?

Hey, Extreme Makeover, Home Edition!  If you come across this blog entry, go back and read the one about my 1960's kitchen!  I'm on a fixed income and I could really use a kitchen makeover!...and I'll be damned if I'll accept a new car, or appliances, or an IPAD or the IPod! ....and I definitely don't need a year's supply of diapers!

Well....okay...I'll accept the new car....and my old washer could certainly be that IPOD the white or the black one.....


1 comment:

grenadavet said...

Flagrant consumerism,excessive consumption... yep, that's America!!! I wonder if we might have slightly different attitudes if we had endured two world wars on our soil. A small thought to ponder; did you ever notice that most Europeans have small (what we would consider "apartment-size") refrigerators?? Hmmm,how does that fit in with America and the obesity problem??