It's a sad note on society when an organization can profit from belittling a segment of the populous ... and it's a sad note when that organization capitalizes on those objecting to the belittlement.
But such is the situation surrounding MTV's proposed West Virginia-based "reality" show centering around a group of nine young men and women romping around in the Sissonville area much like those bringing scorn upon New Jersey in MTV's "Jersey Shore."
"Buckwild" purportedly is supposed to be a comedy about a group of childhood friends from the foothills of West Virginia and their outrageous misadventures.
"Money might be tight in their neck of the woods, but whether they're throwing a dump truck pool party or building their own human slingshot, nothing stops them from making their own entertainment," a promo of the show says. "Love and relationships come and go, but their bond with family and friends is always at the core for this eccentric group where anything goes."
I'm sorry if this is the best MTV can do to make a buck!
Would society tolerate a MTV program that belittled blacks, Orientals or Native Americans or would the populous be up in arms, accusing the network of racism?
Would society tolerate MTV belittling New Yorkers, Ohioans, Californians, Texans or those from any of the other states in the union, so why is it acceptable for the network to belittle West Virginians.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a former governor of West Virginia, is absolutely right when he contends "Buckwild" will show inaccurate stereotypes of West Virginians.
"As a U.S. senator, I am repulsed at this business venture, where some Americans are making money off of the poor decisions of our youth. I cannot imagine that anyone who loves this country would feel proud about profiting off of 'Buckwild,'" Manchin said in a letter to Stephen K. Friedman, president of MTV.
"Instead of showcasing the beauty of our people and our state, you preyed on young people, coaxed them into displaying shameful behavior and now you are profiting from it. That is just wrong," Manchin wrote in his letter.
MTV has been asked to pull the program from next month's broadcast schedule, but it seems unlikely the network will take the high road. In fact, it seems more likely the network will try to benefit from the publicity generated by those opposed to the program.
For my part, I rarely watch MTV, do not follow any of the so-called "reality" programs, which are thinly veiled, scripted travesties of behavior, and I certainly will not be watching "Buckwild."
Fortunately, I doubt if any of my friends or relatives will watch such trash, so at least I won't have to explain to them that West Virginians are not morons doing ridiculous things to get on TV or make money for MTV.
Contact Jim Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org