Monday, September 13, 2010

"Digital Side Show Freaks" Television's Exploitation of Mental Illness For Fun & Profit"

This To Sell This

Every Monday night the twitters is a buzz about A&E Networks "Hoarders" a show very loosely marketed as a mix of documentary / entertainment. In my opinion it is pure and simple exploitation of people with Mental Illness  for profit. The typical argument is that "it may help someone", or "It is educational" this is total bullshit. If it was educational they would talk about treatment and interview professionals. I know what News/Documentary style TV is I worked in it. "Hoarders" and it's older sibling "Intervention"  are watched for voyeuristic reasons by millions not so millions can help a aunt clean her 10 litter boxes. It shows people in their illness at their worst and they look for the worst cases they can and they are not slowing down. No longer are normal "Hoarders" enough during sweeps weeks and holidays A&E is pushing "Extreme Hoarders" on us, feeding our collective need to see people worse off than us.

  These people are above all Ill and at their worst and yes some are very odd and yes a lot are filthy but they are still people first and foremost. So you may watch this but what and when is it too much. Would you watch a show that shows anyone slowly dying of HIV-AIDS?  No most likely not.

 A&E which used to be "Arts & Entertainment" has turned into a digital side show, not much different from the old carnival ones. It seems people like oddities, hell I love oddities but the broadcasting of people in emotional pain, deep emotional pain is wrong, exploiting the mentally ill so you can sell more widgets is sick at best. Want a education about mental health or addiction, read a book, watch PBS or talk to a professional. Lets all stop feeding the monster of Stigma visa vie A&E.

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