Throughout history, societies have been judged more by what they
introduced to the world than any other measure — the French
made art, the Germans made war and the Russians drank vodka till
they passed out. So I’m sitting on my couch last week,
flipping the channels on my TV, and I come across what is probably
the best contribution of American culture to the world since Steve
Urkel became Stephan Urquell: the sleazy daytime talk show. Ricki
Lake. Judge Joe Brown. Jerry Springer. Maury Povich. Of course this
topic has been discussed before, but it isn’t often that I
have the opportunity to watch a 600-lb. woman lick fried chicken
off her tooth-deprived lover, as I witnessed on Jerry Springer, so
I feel it would be appropriate to analyze the greatness that is
present in these exhibitions of America’s classiest
population. Often, the people who go on these shows are at best,
misunderstood, and at worst, ridiculed. However, if we look a
little closer, we discover that a lot can be learned about life
just from watching one of these shows. Lessons abound, I kid you
not. Observe:

Adam Rosen

“You don’t know me”— This handy
response proves useful in almost any situation life throws your
way, minor or major. Got pregnant again by your mom’s
ex-boyfriend? Got caught selling pot to your neighbor’s 10
year old son? This classic line says it all so well: “Sir, I
highly doubt that you can appreciate the gravity of my
circumstances, so I humbly ask that you refrain from passing
judgment upon me.” For example, the girl on Jerry Springer
who slept with her husband’s brother and father is just
misunderstood. What you don’t know is that her husband
couldn’t satisfy her needs, so naturally she got somebody
else to take her to Red Lobster. You don’t know her.

The DNA lies—This is very important to remember:
any test that’s 99.9 % accurate isn’t perfect! Ha-ha!
So when you get confronted with an accusation, courtesy of a
“DNA” (pfft…who the hell knows what
“D,” “N,” and “A” mean, aside
from them fancy scientists?) test, that your little seedling is
beginning to grow roots, rest easy knowing nothing happened in
those 10 minutes.

Blame your indiscretions on a rare ailment, like raging
“ho-moans”
—It’s not your fault that you
hooked up with your girlfriend’s best friend, not when you
have a documented medical condition! Follow the lead of the
upstanding gentleman I saw on Ricki Lake last week, who tearfully
affirmed that after a long battle, he finally succumbed to the
“ho-moans.” It’s not his fault—it’s
genetic.

“I smoke weed, I drink!”— Probably the
most popular response to any doubt concerning someone’s
maturity. All true rebels have this line handy and ready to be
thrown out because even though they are often 13 years old, they
act like they’re a broke Robert Downey Jr. Ain’t
nothing wrong with a little drinky drink, is there? Especially when
the shady guy whose been hanging out at the high school parking lot
for five years and sells beers out of his trunk is your connection?
When someone throws this line your way, rest easy, because, just
like Tupac said, you are “in the presence of a big time boss
playa.”

The daytime talk show guest is truly a rare specimen. Neither
repentant nor apologetic, they always have a damn good excuse.
Oddly enough, more often than not, their excuses, or shall we say
sincere explanations, are accepted. People suffering from maladies
like raging “Ho-Moans” are admired for their valiant
struggle in the face of such adversity. Preteen girls who assert
“I smoke weed, I drink!” are seen just as free spirits
being suppressed by the Man, like a political prisoner in Stalinist
Russia. In the great American tradition, it’s never
anybody’s fault. As it was mentioned earlier, each society
leaves its mark on the world, and its creations are often a
reflection of how great the society was. Some people, they like
Picasso and expensive wine. Me, I’ll take Stephan Urquell and
the day time talk show. Oh, you thought something different? Well
guess what — you don’t know me.

 

Adam is just jealous that he’s never been asked over to
Jerry Springer’s pad. Next time, Adam. Next time. Commiserate
with Adam at
“mailto:amrosen@umich.edu”>amrosen@umich.edu.

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