Reality TV: Get it out of here?

With the reappearance of “I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!”  this week, several controversial opinions of reality television have resurfaced with someone in my year renaming it “I’m A Celebrity Reject… Get Me Out of Here!”.

These shows are supposed to be the epitome of A-listers but this year’s line-up has been quite a disappointment and referred to as more of a gathering of “Z-Listers”.

So why do opinions about reality television in general vary so much?

Many people think that celebrities degrade themselves through increased exposure to become more famous. Contestants carry out humiliating tasks just to entertain those watching. These situations are carefully controlled and scenes in things like “Geordie Shore” are often set up and scripted, thus deceiving the public as the fate of many contestants is often pre-determined.

So why then do these kinds of programmes like “I’m A Celebrity” have such a large following, with over 15 million people watching?

For some, reality television is a way to unwind after a busy day. It allows people to pass judgement on the actions of others and vent their feelings in a way which is healthy and not damaging to society. In some cases, celebrities can act as a role model, especially this year with gold medal winning hockey player Sam Quek who joined the line-up after the success in Rio.  These people can be a positive influence on younger people watching as it is a large platform that people can use to spread a positive message to its large audience. It promotes the independence of people and the power that they have to overcome a fear, thus encouraging its audience to do the same. This publicity, however, can be a bad thing because if a mistake is made then a large number of people witness it and the focus of the public is directed towards this person. Last year’s Lady Colin Campbell received her fair share of public hatred after her ‘nasty’ side was revealed towards the end of the series.

This kind of television is watched by so many people and contributes so much to the industry. It increases the diversity of viewing and makes programmes more accessible to a larger number of people. The programmes are largely sponsored and this promotes businesses and again increases consumer interest in products. For example, Aunt Bessie has signed a £6 million deal to sponsor “I’m A Celebrity” this year, ending Iceland’s 9 year sponsorship. Sponsorship raises brand awareness of companies and puts a spotlight on their business, thus benefitting the company enormously.

Reality television sparks diversity of opinion about whether it is just a waste of time, but if these kinds of programmes are appealing to people, and are not detrimental to society, then why should we judge people on what they choose to watch?

Should we accept Aquariums?

Okay, we all know, even if we don’t accept it, that aquariums are where the cool kids hang out, and where all the gossip starts. At least, that’s what three-year-olds think. For a child’s birthday or for a treat they could take out some of their friends or just go to an aquarium, and enjoy watching all the wonders that it holds. But would they fully appreciate and understand the conditions that the animals kept there are in? The animals in zoos and aquariums are well-treated and protected from harsh environments where they could otherwise be eaten or die through natural hardships, but without the experience of this, they could feel out of place in a confined room with only a fake environment surrounding them, although they would probably not know this so much as see this, through constantly watching larger beings going by through the glass.

Fish are put into large tanks, where they can swim about, and are fed at regular intervals, but are constantly disturbed by children rapping on the glass and staring in at them. Is this fair, to take away an animal’s peace and isolation for our own benefit and enjoyment? Some would argue that this is not right, to take away an animal’s natural environment, and to alter them so that they are displayable as if this were their natural habitat. Sceptics to the rights that ‘lesser beings’ could have could say that for the fish it doesn’t matter either way, so long as they simply exist, as humans could be seen as higher beings than the fish.

The companies that run aquariums and establishments of these sorts say that they are doing it for the welfare of the fish, and for scientific research and preservation, but they could also be doing this simply for the profit. Although there are many establishments that hold fish for charity, others could just for the sake of people paying to go through.

On the other hand, it is possible that people could see fish as being generally healthier on regular meals and scheduled clean water changes, as all of these contribute to the animal’s life. There are also no predators, so it is arguable that the fish could be in a better position in an aquarium than what they would have been out in the wild.

Personally, I think that fish should not be kept in aquariums as such, but that there could be some sort of system that enables people to watch the fish in their natural habitat, as it provides the feeling that no animals are being deprived of their instincts or homes, and it is also beneficial for the fish if they are checked-on every-so-often by the workers and naturalists that work there to study the fish in their real habitat.

Third Presidential Debate: Clinton caps it off

Trump and Clinton fought for the final time in Nevada, and it’s clear that both certainly destroyed Trump’s chance for the presidency. Instead of the usual and anticipated personal attacks, the debate was focused on policy, which drew in 71.6 million viewers across the States, the third-highest total ever recorded in U.S history. Held in Las Vegas and moderated by Chris Wallace of Fox News (a rather contentious choice), which led to questions chosen by him over policy topics, including the debt problem, immigration, the economy, which stirred some controversy as several of his questions showed a bias towards a conservative point of view. For instance, when questioning the economic plan of the candidates, he implied Clinton’s plan was similar to Obama’s, to which he cited that: “has led to the slowest GDP growth since 1949,” and yet not a mention of climate change in any of his questions. However, perhaps Wallace attempted to be impartial as in 2006, The Washington Post reported stated that he had been a registered Democrat for more than two decades, therefore proving he was a balanced and excellent moderator.

A topic that arose from the debate was abortion; an issue that strengthens the division between the two parties. While Hillary Clinton is a supporter of abortion and the reproductive rights movement, Trump recently has been rather vocal about his insistence that, ‘women should be punished for having abortions’ and has been targeted by Planned Parenthood Organizations due to his proposal of defunding due to his pro-life beliefs. During the debate, Wallace discussed certain wedge issues that divide the US extremely such as gun control. However, he then moved to the topic of abortion which after discussion led to the little known controversial topic of late-term, partial-birth abortions (which is illegal in the US, unless the woman’s life, but not health, is in danger). Trump reacted by exaggerating the procedure, “Rip the baby out of the womb,” which in fact is not the case. His ignorance to the facts demonstrates his lack of understanding on abortion, whereas Clinton is much more familiar with key issues of today due to her impressive résumé. Trump’s unfamiliarity with women’s deserved rights such as abortion over the election period has insulted women around the U.S and his personal treatment of women and misogynistic behaviour has damaged his appeal to any humane person. Since the release of his tape that showed Trump degrading women, more women around the US have spoken about being sexually harassed by Trump, to which he responded by mocking the victims and pledged to sue the eleven sexual misconduct accusers. He claimed that, “Every woman lied” in order to jeopardise his campaign. Unfortunately for Donald, the damage campaign has been self-inflicted. Even during the debate, Trump interrupted Clinton while answering a question about Social Security and Medicare funds, and muttered, “Such a nasty woman,” (a change from his usual favourite word “liar”), which without a doubt shocked American viewers and undermined himself from earlier who asserted that none has more respect for women than himself.

Yet Donald further shook America when he refused to say if he’ll accept the outcome of an election that he is currently no doubt to lose, which supports the Trump campaign’s idea that voting fraud will exist in this election. This occurred when Wallace questioned Trump on whether he was prepared to commit to the principle of a peaceful transition of power that the loser concedes to the winner after a well-fought campaign. Trump then refused to pledge an acceptance, which politically shows a disrespect for democratic norms and which contradicted his running mate, Mike Pence who earlier said he would “absolutely accept the result of the election”. His response further contradicts himself from last month where he was asked a similar question to which he responded, “The answer is: if she wins, I will absolutely support her”. Clinton post-debate had a rather sophisticated response to his comment, which implied Donald is a paranoid infant who believes systems are rigged when something is not to his preference. However, this should not be surprising to someone who has been closely following Trump over the past year. When the FBI conducted an investigation into the private email scandal that concluded no case existed, Trump stated on Twitter that:

“The system is rigged. General Petraeus got in trouble for far less. Very very unfair! As usual, bad judgment.”

“FBI director said Crooked Hillary compromised our national security. No charges. Wow! #RiggedSystem”

Clinton continued to criticise Trump when she stated that his comment proves that Trump is not suitable for the presidency and that someone who is the nominee of a major political party should not be allowed to uphold the position and shouldn’t be tolerated. His overall resistance was also described as “horrifying” by the Democratic nominee.

Not only did Trump insult the democratic process, but also make a racial slur against Mexicans, stating, “We have some bad hombres here and we have to get them out,” which was an obvious remark toward Latino men in particular. However, this is not the first time Trump has generalised Latinos. During his candidacy for president last June, he began by comparing Mexican immigrants to rapists with this famous statement:

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

It seems rather ironic coming from a man who recently has been put under scrutiny for several arising claims that he has sexually assaulted eleven women, to which he denied and proposed to sue when he ‘assumes the presidency’. Border Security is a topic that has angered many Americans when Donald Trump has ever chosen to speak about. He has pledged to ban Muslims entering the US and has frequently used racially saturated language towards immigrants and inner city residents. He even has plans to exclude those of Latino background from the US by calling for the deportation of undocumented immigrants and for the construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border. Not only did he demean Latinos by generalising them, but also by mispronouncing it. Trumps constant dehumanisation of non-white males is a disgrace to America, his disregard for immigrants insults the very foundation of America, and his blatant ignorance will cripple America if he ever assumes office.

It’s clear to say Clinton won the debate, and will probably win the election since she has surged through the polls on a national level. During the debate, she was well prepared for every policy discussion and for all of Trump’s foolish interruptions that arose. She mocked his alliance with the Russian leader Putin and overall remained poised, solid and calm throughout. However, it’s unlikely Trump will go down without a fight, and the coming election day looms near. Clinton’s success depends on her campaigning more than ever and her image towards the American public. Her only enemy is herself, as her struggle throughout the election has been to gain the indecisive vote that’s moved further away from her due to scandal after scandal. Before the debates began, Trump had a chance, but his performance over the past weeks has only revealed a rather weak and hideous perspective towards him that Americans don’t want. Over the election, Clinton has been bold and fearless because of her being open to the American public regarding issues that affect people seriously such as racism, gun control and abortion in a modern, realistic and on balance, presidential-like style.

The Second Presidential Debate: Trump Shocks

After recovering from the first debate, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton returned to the stage to deliver the second US presidential debate. Following Donald Trump’s failure from the last debate, he returned more vicious and threatening towards Hillary while she arrived ready to take on the real estate mogul again. October 9 marked the second debate, located at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri and was conducted in a ‘town meeting’ format with an audience to which the ‘Gallup Organisation’ claimed were ‘uncommitted’ voters.

The beginning of the debate was dominated by discussion of Trump’s leaked tape that included some sexist statements over women from the Republican Candidate, yet Trump retaliated by attacking Bill Clinton himself and his misconduct with women. at first, Trump declared his statements was ‘locker room talk’ which in other words means the crude and vulgar trade of comments that are passed by usually men to each other and exists solely for the purpose of humour. instead of dwelling on his scandal, he then referred to Bill’s rumoured scandals with various women that arose during his presidency. This then lead to Trump declaring Paula Jones (former Arkansas State employee who sued Bill Clinton for sexual harassment in 1991, which precipitated to Clintons impeachment from the White House) was in the audience. However, Clinton responded by judging Trumps attacks through quoting Michelle Obama: “When they go low, you go high,” stirring a loud applause from the audience (who in fact are chosen as they are impartial viewers, suggesting Clinton’s advance over Trump in the debate).

Yet, a shocking moment from the debate was when Trump had the audacity to threaten Clinton that she would be incarcerated if he was elected president. It’s not that he threatened her that was shocking as the past few months has included Trump making statements at his rallies that Clinton would be arrested, but the fact that he threatened her in person which showed his true character. The direct threat proves that Trump is a danger if elected president and it’s evidently clear that Clinton was the only one on the stage who was trying to keep the debate remotely Presidential-like with her smart and measured approach to Trump’s childish behaviour. Trump supporters in the audience cheered his threat but critics only state that Trump only reflected an anti-democratic impulse, which only emphasised his incompetency for Presidency.

Furthermore, a rather hysterical part of the debate was when Trump foolishly followed Hillary on stage like a predator when she discussed Obamacare. This lead to the infamous US sketch comedy show ‘Saturday Night Live’ to create a parody of this moment of the debate which depicted Trump as disturbing, distracting and relatively bizarre.

To sum up Trump’s performance, a quote from actor John Cusack:

“Trump staggering about like a drunk.”

On the other hand, it’s arguable that Clinton sometimes lapsed during Trump’s attacks. Trump relentlessly tried to bring up her email server scandal in the final hour in order to move the spotlight onto her, however her defence was rather weak as she only repeated her rehearsed response to this anticipated question. She admitted that it was a mistake yet Trump interrupted by trying to show that her carelessness of confidential emails. Clinton tried to dismiss him although it only lead to crosstalk in the debate, where the moderators tried to move on, but Clinton appeared rather flustered by the whole ordeal.

Nevertheless, Clinton did redeem herself when a question relating to Islamophobia arose from an audience member. Trump’s answer was feeble as he continuously criticised Obama and Clinton’s reluctance to use the term ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’, but overall did not answer the question. Clinton on the other hand spoke about how Muslims should feel more apart of America rather than secluded and that she wants America on a united front in order to defeat ISIS. She also slammed Trump by stating that violent jihadist terrorists prevent this collaboration as Muslim nations are less eager to cooperate with Americans when they hear what Donald Trump says about them.

However, the prime moment of the debate was the end, where audience member Karl Becker asked:

“Regardless of the current rhetoric, would either of you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?”

Despite the contentious tone, the debate ended rather sentimentally because of this question. Clinton complimented Trump’s children, (who in fact were previously close friends of Clinton’s child, Chelsea before this Presidency period) and admitted that the ‘conflict-oriented’ election has affected both parties. Trump then answered Becker’s question by implying Clinton is persistent, despite himself not agreeing with her judgement.

Overall the debate further proved that the Trump campaign is in shambles and Clinton ought to recover for the next debate, as the final debate will test both the candidates.

Will Trump triumph and advance over Clinton or realise his failure of a campaign and collapse on stage?

Will Clinton finally finish off Trump and claim the favour of the swing states, or will she come across as weak towards the indecisive voter?

The polls suggest that Hillary is ahead of Trump, however a lot can change between now and election day. It all depends on whether the people of the United States go out to the polling stations and vote for the right candidate on November 8!