Values Of White Trash Essay Research Paper

Values Of White Trash Essay, Research Paper

Values of White Trash

Coming home from an exhausting day at work, you sit in your recliner to relax as

you hear foul shouting blurting from your child?s bedroom. Curiously you walk towards

the room to find the shouting coming from the guests on the Jerry Springer Show. You

think to yourself, ?why is my child watching daytime talk shows,? or as the majority refer

to it, ?Trash TV.? The storm clouds have been gathering for quite some time now. Is the

end near for Trash TV? Concerned viewers, legislators, and press are worried about

television show content in general, however, some of our trashy Talk Shows have

received more than their fair share of attention in the last few years. What I?m concerned

with is, ?What are these shows teaching our children and how does this affect our


Many of the guests on TV daytime talk shows are portrayed differently according

to the topic; however, the guests seem to all have something in common: their background

and behavior. Watching a variety of these TV daytime talk shows recently, I?ve observed

that the bulk of these guests all appear to be whites, Hispanics, or African Americans of

the lower or middle class. They all come from the same type of living conditions and

crazy lifestyles. People may even mention the words ?white trash,? referring of course to

the Caucasian guests. Insinuating that the background of the guests is inadequate, they do

not mind being ridiculed for their outrageous beliefs and lifestyles. To these guests this is

their normal lifestyle; besides, why do audience members and viewers find these guests?

lives to be so interesting? What make these shows so popular?

It seems that the audience and viewers enjoy watching people spill guts about

everyday garbage life. Viewers are entertained by the mockery of people whom they

aren?t familiar with because there is no connection to the viewers? lives. Watching a TV

daytime talk show from your home television is completely different from actually sitting

in the audience and viewing . While sitting at home, we are protected by a screen, but at

the show a lot of confrontation occurs between the audience and the guests which we find

entertaining back at home. However, that confrontation may be damaging to the guests?

emotions, and somehow we view that as entertainment. ?In these shows, indecent

exposure is celebrated as a virture? (Bennett 29). What has our world come to when we

find people being hurt or taunted as amusement?

These guests are also treated and represented differently at each show through the

hosts. Jerry Springer tries to act, I think, as if he is actually concerned with the well-

being of his guests; however, before his concerned ?last thought,? he will make fun or

?crack jokes? at his own guests. For example, Jerry will call transsexual guests ?it,? or he

will simply make rude comments about his guests under his breath, which keeps the

audience and viewers? entertained. The behavior on the Jerry Springer Show is so severe

that the guests know that something upsetting is going to happen to them. Jenny Jones is

similar in how she treats guests because she seems concerned with their feelings, but she

also throws out a joke or two mocking the guests? behavior. Jenny Jones is also

notorious for allowing the exploitation of young children and teenagers.

Occasionally teens are also exploited on these TV daytime talk shows concerning

their sex lives, disorderly behavior, or supporting their parents. ?Send My Teen to Jail,?

one of the Maury Show topics, viewed delinquent teenagers whose parents demanded their

children be sent to a jail to teach them a lesson, and it seems that in every situation either

the father or mother was not in the picture. This leads viewers to believe that children

from single parent families are more apt to behavior problems. The children guests

demonstrate their delinquent behavior, and society?s children are viewing this behavior.

As a child we are taught to see others doing something, and we learn this to be the correct

way to complete a certain task. For example, children see parents drinking from a cup

with no lid and want to follow their parents? ways. My point is young viewers may be

influenced by the teens or even the older guests on these daytime TV talkshows. Children

are perhaps learning the wrong behavior from talkshow guests, and our future society

depends upon these children.

One topic, ?My Daughter is a Tramp,? on Jenny Jones, was so extremely

provocative that some of the children were crying by the end of the show. The audience

behave like a jury passing judgment on these teens; however, this ?jury? speaks out with

obscene and foul comments towards the children. Why would you as a parent want your

child to participate in this ?circus?? The audience is often occupied by normal working

people and not counselors or doctors who can help these children, so does it make any

sense to allow children to be utilized by the audience members? Parents should have

enough common sense to realize that this can only be more damaging to an unclear child.

Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint believes that a child, unprepared and emotionally vulnerable, could

come ?completely unraveled? (qtd. in Herbert 26). I believe that children go through

stages throughout their life where they may be engaging in wrongful behavior; although, I

do not believe that Jenny Jones is the place to correct these children. Sometimes the hosts

will feature a professional to help the children, but these professionals can only do so

much for the children in front of cameras watched by millions everyday. Yet, our culture

views the exploitation and perversion of these children entertaining while we would never

want our children to do drugs and sleep with twenty people before the age of fifteen.

Our culture is forming a bad habit of picking up the values of this ?trash,? yet we

still find it entertaining. It appears to me that our culture is reflected by these shows

because these guests are actual, real live people, and to me it comes as a warning for those

who do not engage in similar behavior. There are about eight or more of these talkshows

on a day with an estimate of twenty guests, who are real people, or more a day, and if you

do the math an immense part of our society is either a part of these people or are viewers.

I strongly disagree with this TV daytime talk shows topics and torture that occurs;

however, when I come home from college I tune into the latest Jenny Jones Show. Does

this sound rational? No, because if I find it degrading I should not watch it, yet I still find

it entertaining which bothers me. While reading Gaines?, Herbert?s, Bennett?s, and Willis?

essays, I agreed with each of them in one aspect. Showing us that this ?trash TV? is a

warning, Gaines tells how Jenny Jones miraculously saved her life, and Willis feels that

these talk shows allow ?working people? to voice their opinions even if it maybe their

shocking lifestyles. On the other hand, I agree with the opposing authors, and I think that

these shows can be ?child pornography? and are very degrading to the individuals who

choose to be guests.

In closing, I can not grip the concept of gaining values from the ?trash TV?, and I

do not understand how we find it entertaining even when we know it is degrading. Maybe

the entertainment comes from the extra emotions that some guests may have, or the

?staging? may come into play also for our amusement. Yet, do we want to come home to

find our children watching these TV daytime talk shows, and how can we prevent this?

Parents can stop children from viewing by screening the television their children watch or

by buying a chip to regulate the types of programs allowed to be viewed. Current viewers

could stop watching, but the chances of that happening are slim to none. However,

people who don?t watch can continue to rebel against daytime talkshows and possibly get

rates down forcing the programs to no longer exist. I believe in the future these shows

will affect how culture is modified, although not how we as people are change because

that lies upon the individual and not what he or she watches


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