Fridays with Marian
According to the Gregorian calendar, 2015 is underway.
I must admit I have mixed feelings about what this year will bring for the human race. It may be a new year, but the human race is none the wiser. It’s only the 9th day of the year, and not too much has happened at Dartmouth, but Kim Jong Un’s birthday was yesterday, so that’s a start.
I’ll indulge myself in philosophizing about the fate of the entire world’s population. And presumably, like the great philosophers of ages past, I could ponder this question until the apocalypse and still not have gotten anywhere (until I realized we were doomed because it was the apocalypse — but maybe I would survive so I just don’t know how I feel about that either). I use the word “presumably” because I have never formally — or informally — studied philosophy.
But if I had to sum up my philosophy in a nutshell, I’d say this much. I think there’s a lot we can learn about humanity, as well as the human condition, from any and all events related to reality television.
RHONJ, known to most as Real Housewives of New Jersey, star and Jersey icon Teresa Giudice has begun her prison sentence. Despite being bankrupt (or something like that — I don’t know anything about financial statements or the IRS), her family manages to summer at the same Jersey Shore spot that I have visited every summer since I was a mere two-week-old. Not only did Teresa and former housewife Jacqueline Laurita rent a house together there — there being Long Beach Island, N.J. — but it was right behind my aunt/uncle/cousins’ beach house.
While I wasn’t as lucky as my two cousins to meet any castmates in the flesh — something I have secretly held against my relatives for the past five-and-a-half years — my father and I once hid behind the other Lurio family’s fence in an attempt to become Peeping Toms. Unfortunately, there were no spottings. I did, however, recognize Jacqueline’s son Nicholas’ Italia hat, which he had even though he was an infant and which was featured in Jacqueline’s montage during the opening credits of the show, on the dashboard of a black Escalade parked in the house’s driveway. As for Teresa, I did drive past her oldest daughter Gia this summer as she walked the Jersey streets.
Moving on to other reality TV, 2015 will see the release of the important anthropological/sociological work, “My Husband’s Not Gay.” Thanks, TLC! According to the channel’s website, the show “follows four men living in Salt Lake City, Utah, who don’t identify themselves as homosexual despite having an attraction to men.” Lest we forget, this is the same network that has always given viewers what they were looking for. The network’s repertoire of hit shows includes “Sister Wives,” “My Five Wives,” “19 Kids and Counting,” “Buying Naked” and “My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding.”
As if that wasn’t enough, let’s discuss some exciting developments as we approach the 2016 presidential election campaign trails. Exciting yet predictable news — Santorum is strongly considering another presidential campaign. This presidential hopeful isn’t letting his failed 2012 bid stop him from reaching for the stars again in 2016.
Let me put a little side note here. I own the exact same flannel (okay, I will admit that the pockets are a little different) that his son — the tallest Santorum family member — sports in the family’s 2014 Christmas card. Speaking of lumberjack attire, if you are really looking to take your flannel game to the next level, look no further than Vermont Flannel Company’s diverse array of flannel thongs. It is long past time for The Dartmouth to run an exposé on what Vermont Flannels bills as “Vermont’s Secret”: these flannel thongs, called vongs, would make a “great wedding gift” according to VF. Be sure to take a short trip to their Woodstock location or browse their online collection. Let me be 100 percent clear: While I can’t provide a personal testimony/recommendation, I can confirm that the brand really does sell flannel thongs.
Anyway, while I’m sure a strong contingency of evangelicals are undoubtedly #ReadyForRick, it seems that Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and star of his eponymous Fox show, “Huckabee,” is competing for this same group — which, for a Yankee like myself, is a shockingly large portion of the country’s population. Huckabee has excused himself from cable television in hopes that he will find even more success among voters than he did in his 2008 presidential election campaign. I’m not even being satirical there. He actually got lots and lots of votes from the evangelical base of voters. But there’s a lot of other “politicians” (a loose word these days in the Republican party) targeting this group and promoting family values.
I’m actually really upset about this development since “Huckabee” really was an entertaining show. What’s better than seeing the Fox News staff’s band, The Little Rockers, at the end of every show? I would imagine only a live broadcast of Huckabee on the electric bass with his rock band, Capitol Offense. Yes, he is really in a rock band. Goodbye for now, Mike. While I’ll miss you on my television every Saturday night, I can’t wait to see what you have up your sleeve for the campaign trail.
Next week on Serial (but actually I mean this column), it’s time to discuss the podcast that’s captured the hearts of millions. At least I’m guessing my readers number in the millions.