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Reality Television

(56 posts)
  • Started 2 years ago by toobfreak
  • Latest reply from sablebrush52
  1. toobfreak

    toobfreak

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    Used to be that you watched TV to get as far away from reality as possible, but these days I wonder how real many of the reality TV shows are?

    Does anyone ever watch Finding Bigfoot (Animal Planet) or Mountain Monsters (Destination America)? I really enjoy both programs but it makes me wonder. For one thing, many shows these days are seasonal, only on for a few months out of the year, I guess that is so they can show each episode 22 times despite our having DVRs that can catch and record any show 24/7 and hold it for us.

    Finding Bigfoot has been on for years and is about three guys and one girl skeptic who go around investigating Bigfoot stories except for one thing--- they never actually /find/ any Bigfoot. Despite the sightings mostly happening by day by accident, they always go out to investigate late at night, and they walk around the woods making noises, yelling, flashing lights, and they wonder why they come up empty.

    Mountain Monsters is about a troupe of Appalachian Good Ol' Boys who traverse up and down the Appalachian corridor hunting down local monster stories. The Wampus Beast, The Devil Dog, The Mothman--- I have not investigated any of these legends, but what makes the show worth watching is the characters who make up the team.

    After going to an area and meeting with witnesses of daylight sightings, they go out to collect evidence, then, you guessed it--- they head out on late night expeditions by flashlight looking for these things in the deep woods.

    They construct expensive and elaborate traps to catch these monsters--- pits, cages, tubes--- huge contraptions, and occasionally they succeed during their many hair-raising encounters that have you on the edge of your chair, but in the end, the monster always gets away.

    Still, I find these shows largely very entertaining.

    Does anyone else watch these shows or anything like them? There is another good show called River Monsters and on the History channel a show called Mountain Men which is great.

    To Master Po: Is it not being able to see that makes you tire of life?
    Master Po: No! It is being able to hear!
    Posted 2 years ago #
  2. jpmcwjr

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    Anyone watch them? Yes, enough at least to keep on filming such. But "reality TV" isn't, and it isn't my cuppa. But like tobaccos, diff strokes!

    I know that you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    Posted 2 years ago #
  3. davet

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    I only watch a few as I find most of them predictable and contrived. River Monsters with Jeremy Wade is well done and entertaining. Expedition Unknown with Josh Gates is another I'll watch, it's got an unpolished, genuine feel to it.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  4. philobeddoe

    Philo Beddoe

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    I don't care for reality television shows in general as I don't find them very entertaining as a whole and I find that most of them are either scripted or at least coaxed into doing what the shows' producers want to see happen.

    "So it goes." - K.V.
    Posted 2 years ago #
  5. cranseiron

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    I cut the cord completely about six years ago. To me, TV became a total waste of money. There is some wonderful programing on the premium channels, but the amount you have to spend isn't worth it to me. There are on line alternatives, but I've gotten used to not having it and I don't want to go back.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  6. cosmicfolklore

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    These are not reality. They are ALL scripted. My buddy who owns a car museum up in Huntsville had American Pickers at his place, and they fitted him with costumes and scripts and used camera angles to make it look like they were at someone's house. When Bear Grylls came to Alabama to film, there was one scene when he was starving to death and had to eat a snake, if the camera had of moved slightly, you'd have seen the convenience store just behind him with a ton of people looking on as an audience.
    My wife has a hobby of doing stand up comedy and does some stuff as extras, and we get audition notices all the time for Appalachian Outlaws, Mountain Men, Gold Rush, all of them hire actors. There is not one lick of truth to these shows.

    I do like River Monsters, because it's just an extreme version of the fishing shows that I grew up watching.

    But, we used to watch families set around a cardboard set and we'd all pretend it was real, now this new crap is just a step further towards making it "look" real. But, honestly I think it just makes us more stupid and suckers. It is better to just know that the sitcom is cardboard and canned laughter. All of this reality TV with people thinking that this stuff is "real" is taking the illusion beyond the awareness of the illusion, and being fake, IMO.

    And, come on, out of a dozen reality treasure hunter shows, not one damned treasure has ever been found, ha ha. Why, because they piggy back off of the research done by real treasure hunters... that never find anything also.

    And, Bigfoot... come on. I remember the first time Bigfoot was ever mentioned. It was a movie based on a book called the Legend of Boggy Creek. It was fiction, written in first person, John Boy style. Early, mid 70's. There was absolutely no mention of any legends before this; however lots have been fabricated since... The guy who made the first prints has admitted they were fake. The guy who made the first sighting admitted they were fake. However, people are just... human, ha ha.

    Anyways, whenever I hear "reality" TV, it just pisses me off, especially if they start talking like it's real. How dumb will we let ourselves become as a nation?
    It makes us much more sense to just allow ourselves to deny the illusion with fake sets and canned laughter. Give me sit-coms, I love Lucy, Sanford and Son, Three's Company, Cheers, Seinfeld. No one ever mixed up reality with TV when we had real TV shows.

    Michael
    Posted 2 years ago #
  7. cosmicfolklore

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    Oh, and house hunter shows... My wife was addicted to those for a while, and I'd watch and have to ask her... the guy works as a damned part-time graphic designer and the wife collects hair-bows... for a living... and they claim to make $1.2 million. bah ha ha ha!!! And, they are looking at a two bedroom, one bath, 1,000 sf condo over a gas station in Nashville for only $750,000, with an additional bathroom to be built for only $30,000, bah ha ha... reality my ass.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  8. jpmcwjr

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    Seriously, does anyone think those shows are real? OMG, I will hate to hear the answer, I think.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  9. warren

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    Reality is a misnomer. Suspension of reality is more correct in my opinion. Especially on the shows dedicated to debunked theories and myths. Just not a fan. I do understand their draw and that limited as the audiences are, they draw advertising revenue.

    For me baseball, football, golf, and other live sporting events are reality TV. I'd even add a couple of the veterinarian shows are reality based. Even the news shows are becoming less reality and more directed at drawing audience.

    A man without a shillelagh is a man without an expedient.
    Posted 2 years ago #
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    aldecaker

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    "Cops" still seems to have a pretty realistic feel to it, but that could all be staged, too, for all I know.

    A man who serves his country is a patriot. A man who serves his government is an employee. The two are not always the same thing.
    Posted 2 years ago #
  11. mothernaturewilleatusallforbreakfast

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    I like Deadliest Catch and Last Alaskans.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  12. ashdigger

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    I'm not much for reality shows. I get enough reality doing my job. I do love watching Cops though (guilty pleasure). In case you've never seen Cops, you can turn it into a drinking game with the following comments earning a shot of whisky: Its not my car, I don't have identification, I haven't been drinking (ironic) and you get a double shot when this is uttered, "those aren't my pants, I borrowed them".

    Ubi Ignis Est?
    Posted 2 years ago #
  13. warren

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    Said a drunk driver to me: "These aren't my shoes." He failed the "straight line" test. Can't script that! Got a million of 'em. Every street copper does.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  14. jpmcwjr

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    Love the real comments from real folk!

    Posted 2 years ago #
  15. mso489

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    It's unfortunate that this genre was ever called reality TV. It's a bit like professional wrestling. There's nothing wrong with scripted melodrama, but it is of concern that masses of people "enjoy" watching these productions in complete suspension of disbelief. (And yes, professional wrestlers are often remarkable athletes, that's not the point.) I think part of adulthood is accepting the hard truth and probabilities of what one is seeing, and sorting out illusion from actual life. You can't always discern this in every case, as con men and other schemers know well. But we're supposed to be sorting it out as a part of being citizens and grown-ups. Going back decades, and probably with live theater before that, actors on sitcoms and adventure shows are often addressed by the public as if they are the characters they play on the shows. That is delusional. Incidentally, college wrestling is still a fascinating, real competitive sport done at a high level and makes great watching. The lighter weights compete all over the mat; the heavy weights tend to be almost sumo, generally staying on their feet until someone gains advantage. When a big man is down much, he's losing, often.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  16. grouchydog

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    These are not reality. They are ALL scripted.

    Concur. "Reality TV" is an oxymoron. I'm tempted to add "emphasize the MORON" but I won't because I like Deadliest Catch (although we've cut the cable and I haven't seen it in 2 years), and my wife and I watch DWTS together :^S

    Posted 2 years ago #
  17. akfilm

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    So, my full time job is a producer, I make my bread and butter in Reality, mainly as Development Producer and Casting now, I did do a lot of work as a field producer and segment producer for a variety of shows.

    There are some "real" reality shows, they are now generally classified as follow doc shows, Coast Guard Alaska on Weather Channel is a prime example of this type of show. There is another version that's just a written doc, a lot of new media shows are this format.
    The next level is the "Occupational Soap", this is a good chunk of shows and where many that become scripted start, and where I make my living, the shows follow an established business or personality. We generally sit down with the subject and see what they would do on a typical day, a rough outline is established based off the event, and the crew is fielded for about 2 week stints where the story is shot. The events would be real, and there is a mix of real stuff in their, but it's semi controlled. Shows like "Life Below Zero" among many others are done in this format.
    The last and worse are the scripted "reality shows", shows such as "Pawn Stars", "Wild West Alaska", pretty much anything on Bravo, follow this format, completely controlled situations, with cast supporting characters, these are out modern day Soap Operas, a continuous story line with familiar characters, done for a cheap production and high turn.

    I can tell you pretty much per show what type of show it is, and how much reality there is, some you'd be surprised by on both ends of the spectrum. It's a fun job, but it's a hard one. We are here to provide entertainment and escape. I hope that sometimes it can provide education and information which is why I stepped back from a lot of the shows now, there comes a point where you start to feel almost dirty, telling people something is real, while you wait for script rewrites or cast the walk ins.

    That being said, my favorite shows right now I think are competition style shows, those are fun.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  18. jpmcwjr

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    Very interesting! Thanks for clarifying a bunch of stuff on the spectrum of 'real'.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  19. mayfair70

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    If they caught Bigfoot, the show would be over. Bigfoot stories go back centuries in America. Natives had stories of their interaction. They are here in the Midwest (all over the country really) if you know how to recognize their signs. Gigantopithecus is an endangered species in my opinion and need to be preserved. They stink to high heaven and throw rocks. Screw reality TV. Just walk outside (or not) and there is reality. Film it if you like.

    The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made. -Groucho Marx
    Mouse-catcher on The Black Frigate
    Posted 2 years ago #
  20. cosmicfolklore

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    Wait Mayfair... ugg... I can't believe I was about to debate the records of Native Americans and the science of a species that WAS populated and declined without ANY evidence of a mythical beast, ha ha. I'll just leave it be.
    Hey Akfilm, thanks for posting. Mrs Cosmic and I debated whether we wanted to audition to be ginseng hunters or not. I wouldn't mind doing one of the Naked and Afraid shows, but as I understand it, they make you leave the trailer to film those late night in a pile of sticks scenerios, and I get grumpy if I get awakened between 9Pm and 5.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  21. toobfreak

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    Myself, I much preferred old television with imaginative, creative ideas and situations; the comedy sitcoms, drama, etc. Much of what is out there today is written off as reality TV and I don't know who invented the idea but I don't think they asked the viewers. But then, it often seems that the actual viewer paying the cable bill factors very low in programmer's choices anyway. Television is becoming a major rip off.

    One other show I really enjoy and highly recommend is the Science Channel's 'Survivorman. Headed by Les Stroud, they take him out and drop him off in a remote area for a week to both survive and do his own filming. I rate the show very highly. The actual crew leaves the area usually AFAIK and comes back in a week to pick him up in most cases, but maybe they keep light tabs just to make sure he is OK. Who can say. Check it out.

    In one episode shot in Canyonlands Utah, he got so desperate to find water he ended up drinking a puddle with mouse poop and got very sick for a year. That seems pretty real.

    As far as this Bigfoot business is concerned, Stroud has done a few Bigfoot investigations and they are very worthwhile. I'm pretty open-minded to the possibility of Bigfoot and I have to disagree with you Michael, stories of Sasquatch, Yeti, etc., have been around for THOUSANDS of years the world over. There have been tens of thousands of sightings by many credible people. A lot of significant evidence.

    You are the first person I know to claim the Patterson–Gimlin film has been admitted a hoax, I have never heard that, including from Patterson himself. As far as I'm concerned, I think the book is still open on Bigfoot and while I realize some of the TV shows are just milking it, many, many people take it very seriously.

    Pawn Stars and American Pickers. Still, pretty funny stuff and enjoyable sometimes! That said, I get Me-TV off the air, they still run a lot of the old TV shows from the 50's, 60's and 70's when television was truly grand. TV still has a lot of good stuff going for it, you just have to look a bit to find it.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  22. drwatson

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    They are all scripted! Most are stupid, some are interesting though. Mountain Monsters is very entertaining, but SO fake. Finding Bigfoot I think has good intention, but also scripted. I have never understood why these type of shows always go out in the dark, when all the videos they look at are daytime. Bigfoot I personally think could be something to it, or even certain ocean creatures. The shows that really pissed me off where the Discovery Channels Megalodon and Mermaids shows, Discovery is supposed to be the channel that is real. I miss good old sitcoms.

    John
    Posted 2 years ago #
  23. davet

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    Posted 2 years ago #
  24. drwatson

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    Seen that guy before, he is hilarious!

    Posted 2 years ago #
  25. balkisobrains

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    Mitch Hedberg was funny, because now he is dead.

    aldecaker

    "Cops" still seems to have a pretty realistic feel to it, but that could all be staged, too, for all I know.

    "Cops" is unscripted and shot on the fly, it's pretty obvious. Most of those shows are B.S.. Cops, AK State Troopers, and Deadliest Catch come to mind as legit, and even D.C. has admitted to "re-enacting" certain things that the cameras may have missed, such as conversations between captain and crew, etc.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  26. monty55

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    I used to watch Mountain Men back in the day.

    Now I'm living that life. Talk about reality!

    It's nothing like the tv shows, thank goodness! It's far less dramatic.

    If a tv network producer somehow found out about me, and approached me about doing a series... I'd run away as fast as I could. It kinda defeats the purpose of this lifestyle IMO

    Posted 2 years ago #
  27. indianafrank

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    I know Big Foot exists. My neighbor lives with her!

    I don't know where I'm going...but sooner or later I'll get there.
    Posted 2 years ago #
  28. drwatson

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    Let's not forget Alaskan Bush People! I group of inbreeds live in wilderness because they don't like society, and want to live "off the grid" BUT! I'm going to invite a camera crew to follow my every move for the next couple of years....

    Posted 2 years ago #
  29. akfilm

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    Most of those shows are B.S.. Cops, AK State Troopers,

    Deadliest Catch does reenact. Alaska state troopers started as a follow doc and slowly unraveled. The troopers finaly canned it when the producers of the show were bringing in actors from Canada to bait residents into illegal activities and calling the troopers in.
    I did some work for Bush People...it's a scripted show and they don't live on the homestead.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  30. davet

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    Posted 2 years ago #
  31. drwatson

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    Posted 2 years ago #
  32. cosmicfolklore

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    Ha ha ha, have you ever wondered why we are the only animal that has to wipe our ass?

    Posted 2 years ago #
  33. davet

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    have you ever wondered why we are the only animal that has to wipe our ass?

    Posted 2 years ago #
  34. drwatson

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    No I haven't, but I am now.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  35. balkisobrains

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    akfilm

    Deadliest Catch does reenact.

    I mentioned that in my post.

    akfilm
    Alaska state troopers started as a follow doc and slowly unraveled. The troopers finaly canned it when the producers of the show were bringing in actors from Canada to bait residents into illegal activities and calling the troopers in.

    Never heard of that before, supposedly the show was stopped after two troopers were killed in the line of duty and the crew wanted to back away. There's something out there about some other AK reality star claiming to have been targeted by the Troopers or the AK Troopers show, which sounds like more reality-star B.S. to me.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  36. warren

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    Nope. The Troopers decided that it was not in their best interests to continue the relationship. That's the Commissioner's statement anyway. The Canadian connection is one I've never heard of and it would have made the media, even as a rumor.

    The Troopers got into it to help recruiting. No help and it was a staff draining pain in the butt according to a friend who is a trooper.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  37. akfilm

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    Alaska reality shows pay my bills...been at ground zero for a lot of the fallout or the build up of the shows. Just because something doesn't make the news doesn't mean it didn't happen. I was there with the Canadians and producer in the bar. The other reality star claiming he was targeted was actually a show I was producing at the time...fun times in the office with that mess...

    Posted 2 years ago #
  38. davet

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    Those pesky Canadian actors.......

    Posted 2 years ago #
  39. warren

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    Well, it's a good reason to withdraw.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  40. sablebrush52

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    I liked Antiques Roadshow, Ralph Story's Los Angeles and Huell Howser's California Gold. The rest is good for background moise when I'm working. But I pretty much avoid reality TV. Life's not getting any longer.

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. - Mark Twain

    It is pointless to argue with a fanatic since a dim bulb can't be converted into a searchlight. - Jesse Silver
    Posted 2 years ago #
  41. akfilm

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    I'm addicted to Forged In Fire, Booze Traveler, Zimmermans shows, and cutthroat kitchen

    Posted 2 years ago #
  42. toobfreak

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    I guess I'd add one other "reality" television. There is this British chef who has a pretty good show called Masterchef Jr. They have these small kids on who can probably cook circles around you compete making all kinds of wonderful dishes. The kids are often as good as are the dishes they serve up! Pretty amazing really.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  43. deathmetal

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    There is no way reality TV can be real. That would be unpredictable, and to produce a show, you need predictability. In fact, it is your obsession, down to the microsecond.

    The same applies to democracy.

    "My own experience has been that the tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whiskey." -- William Faulkner

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    Posted 2 years ago #
  44. cosmicfolklore

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    Fake or not, I like the cooking shows. It's where I got my fish meatloaf made with M&Ms and Pop Tarts recipe from.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  45. deathmetal

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    Cooking shows are not fake per se, just multiple takes with three versions of the dish prepared so if one turns to goo they can just trot out another.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  46. jpmcwjr

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    Ha ha ha, have you ever wondered why we are the only animal that has to wipe our ass?

    Tell that to our dogs.... Favorite is dragging their butts across our best rugs.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  47. toobfreak

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    Well, DM, in a sense I agree with you, since you are ultimately making a TV show there has to be /some/ controls, editing, formatting, content, but that does not mean they are still not about people's day-to-day lives, ie, reality.

    As to democracy being predictable, democracy is entirely predictable. It's outcome is always the same, but people constantly make the mistake of referring to "our" democracy when in fact, the USA has never been one, never been about /mob rule/ but rather the rule of laws.

    The cooking shows I've watched Are likewise not multiple takes to get the best dish. Those people are competing under the clock with a prize of $100,000 - $200,000 at stake and many turn in disastrous dishes.

    And the dog butt-dragging - one thing I can say is that at least I've never seen a cat do that. Someone ought to invent a station where the dog can back himself up on a station where his weight activates a switch and the motor runs an ass-wiping cloth! Of course, you may never get the dog off the thing!

    Posted 2 years ago #
  48. deathmetal

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    I'm only familiar with the Julia Child version of cooking shows. I really need to get better at watching television, but the voices in my head won't let me.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  49. warren

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    Dogs: Time to get the glands drained.

    Democracy: The US is a Democracy but, a sub-class. It is a Representative Democracy by definition. Could you imagine a true democracy? Every voter descending on Washington to voice their position on every subject. We, eligible voters, would be arguing and casting ballots pretty much every day, one or two times a day sometimes. We elect our representatives, sometimes wisely, sometimes... not so much (matter of who's ox is being gored/perspective), to conduct the business of governing. Often times washing our hands of the entire process until the next election.

    Reality shows: There is The Great British Baking Show. Only watched at the kid's house (not available on Dish I think) while recovering and thoroughly enjoyed it. Some scripting but, enough mucking about to be fun.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  50. toobfreak

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    Toob Reset! The King is arrived, and he is a burger with cheese! All please rise and place you hands over your heart:

    All Hail The Common Man!

    Democracy: The US is a Democracy but, a sub-class. It is a Representative Democracy by definition.

    First time I've even seen you totally miss, Warren:

    "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands."

    Please watch this video, it may be the most important thing your schools never taught you!

    If it doesn't start at the beginning be sure to restart it.

    Systems of Governance

    Posted 2 years ago #
  51. warren

    warren

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    Another acceptable term for Representative Democracy is Democratic Republic, You parsed, I lost. I should have listed all of the acceptable alternatives. The power is supposed rest with the voter and be filtered through the elected representatives. At the start we were supposed to elect our representatives who, in turn would elect the senators who, in turn would then select the president. We've evolved a long way and are more of an amalgam of type and certainly not a republic in the strictest definition of the term.

    We've slowly, over the years, enfranchised more citizens. At one time only certain peoples were entitled to be elected and there was a tiny enfranchised group to be allowed to vote. Now, we've given the right, not the duty, to vote to a huge number of citizens. We, America, has morphed closer to democracy than republic over the years. The electorate is even given, in some cases, the right cast a, more or less direct, vote for our president. In other cases the members of the Electoral Collage are not bound to follow the voters who selected them.

    So, yes our process, these days, is leaning more to democracy than a republic I believe. In any case we are far removed from our roots. Perhaps, as in 1954 (under God added) we will modify the Pledge again. The pledge itself didn't exist until sometimes in the 1890s, my memory is not what it was back then.

    I'll stick with my statement, only amending it to include Democratic Republic as an acceptable description of our sometimes messy and always entertaining choice of governance.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  52. deathmetal

    deathmetal

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    In technical terms, a republic is a type of democracy because power is apportioned through voting.

    Per Plato, there are other types... oligarchy, timarchy (military rule), tyranny (more a factor of intent than gov't type) and monarchy.

    Fascinating stuff, really. Choice is the only power we have in life. That includes tobacco blends, government or the lack thereof, etc.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  53. warren

    warren

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    I also want to observe, I always considered schooling to be a starting place to learn. Time constraints always dictated the amount and depth of teaching. One should continue to study, read, listen, debate, with others and one's self, everything. If I could impart only one piece of information to my young grandson it would be: Question and examine, critically, everything. Take nothing at face value unless it comes from a proven and trusted mentor. Even then a bit of honest cynicism is a good thing. One should arrive at the acceptance as fact only after gathering all possible information, listening to agreeing/opposing views, and objectively as possible, sifting and evaluating.

    It can be a hard, time consuming venture. It is necessary though. Again only my opinion and how I try to arrive at a conclusion. I would never spend money or reach a conclusion without some due diligence depending on cost or how critical the issue is to me.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  54. deathmetal

    deathmetal

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    Question and examine, critically, everything.

    This seems to me to be the root of philosophy. Time to revisit that copy of The Republic?

    Posted 2 years ago #
  55. toobfreak

    toobfreak

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    Sorry guys. You are over-complicating and missing the original point. There are no democratic republics and no republican democracies or whatever else. The two stable end-terms of governance are either the oligarchy or the republic, everything else is a temporary transitional phase to one of these.

    This seems to me to be the root of philosophy.

    Actually, it is the root of /science./ There are many philosophies which question or examine nothing.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  56. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    Oh gawd, Plato again. Quick! Turn the channel to that American Gladheateher show. Much better.

    Posted 2 years ago #

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