To the Point for 5/11/2006


OKAY, I ADMIT IT, at some point on Monday night, I flipped the television station over to watch David Blaine try and hold his breath for nine minutes.

I’m sorry. Please forgive me.

Boy, it sure does feel good to get that off of my chest.

As humbling as it is for me to admit, apparently I wasn’t alone, as millions of people all over the country tuned in to watch this event.

Live on national television (drum roll please) — a man holding his breath!


I believe that reality television has finally found rock bottom. It took awhile, but maybe this is it.

Because this guy didn’t just hold his breath. He had been in that big fish bowl for something like a week. He wore a breathing snorkel and a face mask and ate through a tube.

I think that’s incredible.

So what else has this “Houdini” done? He stood in a block of ice. He sat in a box hanging over a river. He buried himself in a box with a clear plastic lid.

I know — it’s sounds “amazing”; but that’s what David Blaine is willing to do for your entertainment.

What’s really sad? I didn’t have anything better to do than watch him sit in the bubble and hold his breath.

Now, granted, watching something like this is akin to watching an auto race. Something deep down inside of you is hoping you get to see a gigantic wreck. For me on Monday night, I couldn’t help but wonder if his self-titled show “drowned alive” — wouldn’t at least be half right.

It almost was.

After eight minutes (yes, I watched, and there was a clock in the corner), apparently the magician had had enough, and divers jumped in to rescue him. Did I mention that he had handcuffed and shackled himself in the bubble, too?

How did the “rescuers” save him? One undid the locks while the other held his nose and mouth.

Now that’s entertainment.

When I turned the channel, I couldn’t help but feel like I just drove past an accident on the side of the road. I didn’t want to look — but I just had to.

What we call entertainment today has been inundated with “reality” shows, at least the producers want you to think it’s reality.

We watch “American Idol” and “Survivor” and all of the others, and what we really want to see is the “car wreck” at the end.

Who will fall apart after getting voted off? Who will turn on their friend for the sake of staying one more week? Who will millions of Americans pay a dollar to vote for via cell phone?

We watch “stars” dance and ice skate and live together in a house for two weeks. We watch successful business people turn on each other like school girls at a junior high dance so Donald Trump doesn’t fire them.

Did that girl really want to marry Flavor Flav?

We build new homes for the down trodden. We bring in nannies to discipline the children. We swap wives and lives. We let Paris Hilton come and stay at the farm.

MTV puts college students in a beachfront house in Hawaii and calls it “The Real World”.

You want the real world? Put them in a college dorm room and give them 10 bucks to live on until the end of the month. Give them a minimum wage job and more bills than they can pay and then inform them that there’s another mouth to feed on the way.

Take “Survivors” off of those exotic islands and put them in one of our inner cities that is being destroyed by violence. Then we’d see who the real survivors are.

As a society, we will never return to Mayberry and Happy Days and “Live from Miami Beach, the Jackie Gleason Show…” We won’t ever have Red Skelton or Ed Sullivan or Johnny Carson anymore; Ozzie and Harriett and Lucy and Desi have left the building.

But we do have a guy doing a backflip over a water fountain on a motorcycle. And Hugh Hefner’s three girlfriends are trying to figure out how to buy the alcohol for his 100th birthday party without getting carded.

We can also watch over the hill and out of shape celebrities revive their careers by losing weight in front of America — now you’ve gotta be watching that.

There’s “Blind Date” and “Elimidate”; and there’s “Cheaters” for those who shouldn’t be out on a date at all.

There’s also “Date My Mom”, but that would take too much therapy.

Does anybody else remember when the Dating Game was considered risque; and Bob Eubanks kept talking about “making whoopee” on the Newlywed Game?

I don’t know, but I guess I can try and find the answers while trying to see if Hulk Hogan is going to let his daughter go out on a date; or if Aaron Spelling’s daughter really is “NoTORIous”.

What we all need to remember is that out there is the very real world, people are falling victim to violent crime everyday; people are going hungry everyday; people are sleeping in alleys every night. There are social issues and domestic policies that need to be addressed for the good of everyone in our society; and there are international conflicts that need to come to a peaceful conclusion.

You want “reality TV”? Watch the evening news.