Op-Ed Column: Bristol Palin Bristles America

The latest column I wrote for the Arizona Daily Wildcat can be found here or below.

11/23/2010

There is a brewing controversy in millions of Americans’ living rooms. No, it is not a nuclear Iran. No, it is not our nation’s fiscal affairs. No, it is not Auburn quarterback Cam Newton’s alleged NCAA violations. The controversy I refer to is Sarah Palin’s daughter, Bristol Palin’s advancement on to the next round of “Dancing With the Stars.”

Despite having the lowest judges’ scores of all contestants for a couple weeks now, the voters at home have kept her on the show.

For those of you who live under a rock and are somehow unaware of how the show works, allow me to break it down for you. “Stars” are chosen to dance with professional dancers. They work with an assigned professional throughout the week on assigned dancing styles and then perform them on the air. The professional judges assess and score their performance based on technique, footwork, energy and other qualities.

However, this is only one portion of their overall score. America gets to vote via text message or online at ABC’s website. Herein lies the root of our discussion.

The biggest issue that has ruffled the feathers of the masses is that, though Bristol Palin has been incontrovertibly the worst of the “star” dancers each week, she has been forwarded on thanks to extremely influential support by at-home voters.

This situation strikes me as somewhat comical in its entirety. First of all, in what conception of the term “star” does Bristol Palin qualify? Even in the loosest understanding of the term, no halfway intelligent human being would deem her such. This poses two possibilities: either “Dancing With the Stars,” the most popular television show on the air at present, is hurting for contestants, or America truly considers her a “star.” Both options seem farfetched to me.

I am also perplexed that America is taking this show so seriously. It is undeniably a glorified popularity contest. We all know that if it was serious about dancing, David Hasselhoff would be awing show producers with his ridiculous skills into prematurely hoisting the winners’ trophy long before now and long before the “championship” round had come to pass. It is fun to watch celebrities try their “foot” at dancing and see some of them progress, but it continues to disrupt my delicate sensibilities when I hear the degree of frustration and anger accumulating around the nation in regards to a meaningless television show such as “Dancing With the Stars.” It is this level of illogical frustration that apparently drove a 67-year-old man in Wisconsin to fire a shotgun round into his television upon hearing the news of Bristol Palin’s advancement. Gee golly willikers sir, you really showed her. Enjoy these shows, but take them for the silly entertainment they are and not the intensely serious forms of competition that dictate the mood one arises with in the morning.

As for those calling Bristol Palin’s appearance and success on the show a political statement, I find this difficult to swallow as well. Indeed, it proves a nice show of visibility for Bristol Palin’s last name and for her mother sitting in the audience, cheering her daughter on. But, other than visibility, what advantage might this give the Palins? If anything it appears to have backfired, based on listening to the talking heads on various news networks.

Some also say Bristol Palin’s success is due to her mother’s Tea Party supporters. If this is the case, the hilarity continues. All I have to say to them is, “Go get ‘em!”

First, Republican control of the U.S. House of Representatives, then winner of “Dancing With the Stars.” The sky is the limit, Tea Party.

As perturbing as it may be to swallow that “Dancing With the Stars” is a gimmick and carries no real weight on our lives as Americans, I completely understand people’s frustration with Bristol’s advancement. However, let us remember what it is we are watching and what real issues plague our everyday lives at present. This is merely a distraction of fun and silly entertainment. Do not make it more than what it is.

 

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Comments
2 Responses to “Op-Ed Column: Bristol Palin Bristles America”
  1. Diana says:

    Nice article. I agree with your ending statements, it’s very true.

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