Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Real Privacy


One of my biggest guilty pleasures is Reality TV. I am not sure where my fascination began, but I think I can blame it on my ex-girlfriend, Annie, who forced me to sit down and watch The Bachelor. I know, I know. Why waste time watching a chauvinistic guy date multiple trashy and desperate women in one of the corniest situations imaginable. Such were my complaints. But like most other reality shows, it hooked me, and now I’m that guy that doesn’t miss an episode of the gayest show ever.


A far superior reality show, however, is Big Brother. For those who might not know what the show is about, think: the pointlessness of The Real World combined with the competitive structure of Survivor. Basically, it is just CBS picking the most insane and emotional individuals they can find and locking them in a house for three months and seeing if anyone kills each other. Last one standing gets half a million and the rest get their insecurities broadcasted to millions of people. By going on the show, you are agreeing to be at the mercy of CBS, who will edit you in the way they deem fit. You will be turned into the hero or the villain of the summer, depending how they think it will affect ratings. People’s lives have literally been ruined due to bad experiences on the show.

And I can’t wait to go on.

I am convinced that I already would have been on the show were it not for my aforementioned laziness. The application is fourteen pages long.


When I was
fifteen years old and watching the first season of Big Brother, my mom walked into the room and after sixty seconds told me to “turn that crap off.” I didn’t turn it off, and neither has she. The show is in its tenth season, and she hasn’t missed an episode since. It is just one of those addicting vices that is hard for anyone to turn away from. Each season, there is usually one normal person in the field of crazies, and it is hard not to tune in three times a week (yes, three) to see if he or she gets screwed over.

Even though she is a fan of the show, my mom is completely against me becoming a contestant. While I am convinced that I would come out with the same morals and values I had going in, she is not so convinced.

“I won’t watch it if you go on,” she tells me. This, I believe. Instead of watching me undoubtedly performing all kinds of heroics and making her proud, she would opt to not tune in and instead wonder if I was embarrassing her by canoodling with a girl under velvet sheets for all of America to (mostly) see.


Of course, if I were chosen for such a show, I would do everything in my power to not embarrass myself or my family. But why do I have an utter lack of concern for my complete loss of privacy? I don’t even think it’s about the money or even the fame. I just think it would be a fun experience.

That’s pretty sad, right?

I realize that I don’t have that much privacy in my everyday life, anyway. Nor do I care. I am fairly candid in my daily interactions. I am generally not timid about anything I say, do, or believe. And if I needed that protective shell, I certainly wouldn’t blog about my personal life.

Or have a Facebook account.

I remember reading an article about how many members of the Facebook community were up in arms because of some new technology that essentially mined through the profiles to determine relevant advertisements to be displayed. To them, it was a breach of privacy.
But I am perfectly fine with it. I don’t mind advertisements for my favorite bands or authors that many people have never even heard of.

Listen to Muse? Facebook asks me. Fan of Sedaris?

Yes, and yes! Facebook, have you been reading my diary?

While the advertisements have been mostly spot-on, I have noticed a few glaring inconsistencies recently: Meet Gay Singles, I am told.

My profile still says that I am “Interested in Women.” I double checked.

So what gives, Facebook?

They must have taken deducing certain things into their own hands. Perhaps it has something to do with The Bachelor being listed under my “Favorite Shows.” I’m not sure.

This erroneous marketing is somewhat disconcerting for me, but I am still okay with it. Yes, I divert my glances away from the shirtless, muscular, and evidently gay man that is pictured in the advertisement. And I also ignore the glaring grammatical errors in the advertisements. Looking for love? It can be hard to find one. But otherwise, I don’t mind it. As long as Facebook doesn’t advertise to other people something like Youngman Brown is Looking for Gay Singles, then I don’t really care what they put on my own screen, no matter how off-kilter or ridiculous the ads are. Hopefully someday soon they will be displaying ads for Big Brother with a stupidly grinning picture of my face for all of the Facebook community to see.

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