June 16, 2009

"The families in will be trapped inside the 20' maximum security-looking wall for about three weeks."

A new reality show called "Block Party."

I happen to be reading a book that is in part about how suburbanites hole up in their individual houses and don't interact in the ways that people used to do when they were compressed in old-time city neighborhoods, so it amuses me to see a reality show that's about forcing them to do what the normal structure of their community allows them to avoid.

More about the book later. (I'm recording a diavlog with the author which I'll link to in due time.)

18 comments:

Hoosier Daddy said...

Is anyone else as sick of 'reality shows' as I am? Does anyone for a second think that these shows from American Idol to The Apprentice aren't scripted from day one?

Scott M said...

I've seen this sentiment about how insular we are now and I would agree, but I think it's incorrect to contrast contemporary suburbanite neighborhoods to some romanticized inner-city neighborhood from the early 20th.

People are more insular in general for a whole host of reasons. The aggregate is negative, surely, but not indicative of where we live. Frankly, I've been a suburbanite for most of my life. Growing up on the south side of Chicago, my parents knew all of the neighbors on our street. There are plenty of reclaimed inner-city condos here in St Louis where the people living there don't know the people in the next apartment, let alone down the street.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

It says "families," so I'm going to assume that this includes parents dragging their kids along for the ride. Does that bother anyone else? I mean, I don't care so much that adults want to demean themselves on silly reality TV shows, but it seems pretty improper to bring kids along, IMO.

Kate Gosselin said...

I don't understand why you are so critical, Ann. We don't "hole up" in our houses. We have 8 kids who require all of our attention. We don't have time to run down to the Starlight Cafe in Madison and have coffee and take pictures of a chair in a corner. Do you know how much work goes into Burrito Day when you have 8 kids? And then sometimes you have a ninth kid. So in addition to all of the dirty drawers after Burrito Day, you have to clean up the "afterglow" when your husband and the babysitter he's interviewing finish up in the guest room.

MadisonMan said...

I look at that wall, and think straight-line winds from a severe thunderstorm would do interesting things.

Lem said...

Do you know how much work goes into Burrito Day when you have 8 kids?

Did the kids wip the burrito with an Arod?

Leland said...

Maybe it's a locale thing, but I live in the suburbs of a large American city. My neighbor down the street is having a hard time, so I paid him to help me fix my fence. Later, we visited another neighbor in went swimming in their pool. Last night, another neighbor came over to pay my daughters for feeding her dog while she was away.

What's interesting is other than college professors who like to test out theories, there doesn't seem to be many people excited by this concept. I suspect it will fail just like CBS reality show last year that had a bunch of kids run a town of kids.

Nasty, Brutish & Short said...

Oh MY GOD. My neighbors and I were approached by CBS to do this show. Interviewed by producers, the whole 9 yards. We were told it would be a three week commitment and it would be super fun. But they couldn't tell us exactly what we would be doing.

We all decided it was a stupid idea and chose to take ourselves out of the running. We assumed it would never make air.

traditionalguy said...

The "reality" spinners have jumped another shark. The human drama of plain stupid people acting out for the cameras is so weak that only masochists will watch this stuff. They must be a hard to reach demographic.

Jenny said...

I grew up in a suburban neighborhood and everyone knew everybody. I currently live in a different suburb and NO ONE IS EVER OUTSIDE!!! We take our two girls out to play almost everyday and rarely see another soul. I know children live in these other houses, but you would never realize it on pure observation. Modern society is very insular right now.

m00se said...

Called "gentrification" and it's been going on for some time both in the suburbs and in trendy city neighborhoods.

ricpic said...

I live in the exurbs and this lesbian couple who live close by take an evening walk on the road past my house almost every evening. I'm aware of them and they're aware of me but we've never done more than acknowledge the other with a hands up. I like it that way. They like it that way. Sometimes that's the best community of all.

Jennifer said...

I honestly think this is a socioeconomic divide. In fairly affluent neighborhoods and possibly in very poor neighborhoods, this insularity probably exists. I think the rest of us have a different experience. We've lived in three different states, in I don't know how many different neighborhoods in the last seven or so years and have never once stumbled on a community of shut-ins.

These sterile, closed down neighborhoods must be out there somewhere. Thankfully not in my experience.

TosaGuy said...

Interacting in a cramped old time neighborhood was a matter of survival because you usually had no other options with regard to your economic situation, ability to transport yourself or availiablity of entertainment options in your neighborhood.

Today, even if you live in one of these gentrified places, most people will still travel miles and miles to go interact with those they want to interact with and do the things they want to do -- all without knowing who lives in the next downtown condo or 1920s bungalow.

Limit people's options and you will have a return to a 21st century version of the overly romanticized neighborhoods of yore. Such is the tyranny of many aspects of New Urbanism.

Scott M said...

That unfiltered propaganda that was the ABC show Earth 2100 discussed exactly the removal of options driving people back into the cities. It was one of the few things they got right or was even worth deeper thought. The rest was mostly, "Are you a human? Well, then, frankly, you suck. Doubly so if you happen to be an American version of a human."

St Louis has finally started lifting itself out of innercity hell. There are business cropping up downtown, streets getting complete makeovers, and abandoned/condemned buildings being turned into loft/studio/condo apartments by the score and mostly younger people are flocking to them.

What gives me the ol' Vulcan eyebrow are claims that these nee suburbanites are "displacing established communities that can no longer afford to live there". LOL!!!! As if those communities were also innercity black and rife with crime. Crybabies tend to have the shortest memories.

TosaGuy said...

"St Louis has finally started lifting itself out of innercity hell. There are business cropping up downtown, streets getting complete makeovers, and abandoned/condemned buildings being turned into loft/studio/condo apartments by the score and mostly younger people are flocking to them."

The key to this resurgence is if those young families stay put when they have kids or will they flee to the burbs when they have to subject their kids to the public school system and want some more backyard for them to play in.

Joe said...

Except for the kid and plural family part, this sounds divine.

Maguro said...

For some reason our intellectuals keep wanting to shove the proles back onto the set of West Side Story. The little people are happy in their McMansions...leave them alone.