I’m a college professor of English at the University of Arizona, as well as an avid reality television watcher. I have perused the good, the bad, and the ugly as far as TV is concerned (Project Runway, Real Housewives, and even Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (the ugliest of all ugly reality shows for a multitude of reason, least of them being the literal physical unattractiveness of the participants)). My fear of rejection from my academia colleagues has made going “public” difficult, but now I’m ready to “unveil” my truest self, so to speak. The great, underrated poet Paul Laurence Dunbar describes my predicament in “We Wear the Mask” (he was actually describing the hideousness and pain of racial oppression, but . . . welllllll . . . I had to make credible reality TV references AND credible literary references, and tie them all together, aaaaaaand . . .um. ):
“We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
wear the mask!”
The world wants me to read books, write literature, and analyze text, but I long to watch and analyze reality TV. Join the conversation. Who says we can’t be smart and watch stupid shit on the dodo box?