Last week, nearly 3 million viewers tuned in to watch the Georgia born pageant star, Honey Boo Boo, on TLC’s Here Comes Honey Boo Boo special, despite the fact that vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s speech was airing simultaneously. The premise of Honey Boo Boo’s success, which spawned from TLC's Toddlers and Tiaras, is both frightening and insulting.
On the heels of the Penn State scandal, one would hope that our country would work towards better protecting our children rather than exploiting them. Beating out Ryan’s speech adds great insult to the existing injury that 3 million Americans are more interested in a flamboyant mockery by the self-proclaimed “red-neck” family of Honey Boo Boo than the future of their country.
This coming week, MTV is airing one of it’s most popular award shows of the year — the VMAs — the same night as the Democratic National Convention and President Obama's speech. While MTV has promised the award show will be finished before President Obama takes the stage, the fact that such a largely popular program would be purposely scheduled to compete with political speeches has already made enough of a statement. Encouraging teens to invest their interest in movies and pop culture rather than their future leaders is a quite different tone from MTV’s former “Choose or Loose” campaign of 2004.
When faced with the choice between the future of our country and celebrity culture, the popular vote speaks loud and clear. Choosing pop culture over politics is a sad reflection of our country’s interest in celebrities over our own rights. This type of behavior only reflects a tendency to want an “easy-out.”
Those who complain about politics yet choose Honey Boo Boo over convention speeches have no right to demand a change that they’re not willing to invest time in; and MTV is only making this choice more tempting by enabling it. There are many obvious flaws in the current electoral system, but there is no hope in demanding changes if we choose to sit back and tune-out rather than tune-in.