Tower Block of Commons is a four-episode reality TV series in the UK that features five Members of Parliament (MP) who have agreed to live for eight days in British housing projects, or, as they're called across the pond, "tower block estates." Each MP was given £64.30 (appx $100 USD) to cover their expenses for the week. (The amount is the average weekly allowance provided to a job seeker receiving public assistance.) The point of the experiment was to pull the privileged MPs out of their posh lifestyle bubble and sensitize them to the struggles of working class people. But (surprise!) less than 24-hours into the experiment, one of them was caught cheating.
Last night, Ellen DeGeneres made her debut as a judge on American Idol and ratings soared. Also this week, her wife Portia de Rossi announced plans for her tell-all memoir and shared her feelings on gay marriage, eating disorders and being out in Hollywood as the cover girl of The Advocate. A lesbian power couple? You bet. The ideal lesbian poster women? More than ever.
Portia and Ellen are hugely influential gay women that are very important to lesbian visibility. Prior to meeting Portia, Ellen was very private and, outside of coming out in the '90s, remained relatively quiet on the subject of gay rights or sexuality in general. After she and Portia announced their nuptial plans, and allowed People magazine to capture the event, they have become outspoken on the topic of LGBT rights and we are only better off for it.
It's hard to make an argument for paying attention to the Miss America pageant because the pageant hasn't really made a compelling argument for its continued existence. Why hype up a competition that has so little ultimately at stake?
As played by Sharon Gless, Madeline -- sporting shoulder-dusting earrings, a Guy Fieri haircut and a perpetual cigarette dangling between frosted-coral lips -- cannily works the motherly-retiree angle as a way of getting people's guards down (including her son's) and then mercilessly imposing her will on them. Truly, she's an inspiration for anyone looking for an alternative to today's youth-obsessed TV culture.
Alas, there is no "Check out the patrons at a water park" cable channel, but there are sports, glorious televised sports, and nothing is more rewarding than watching the NCAA softball finals (to give one example) or the NCAA swimming and diving finals (to give another). And coming up, there are the Olympics.
Not only does this show perpetuate the popular "fat equals unhealthy" with its unspoken corollary "therefore, thin equals healthy," it also overtly coaches its participants to engage in what Kate Harding so aptly called "the fantasy of being thin." And then there's the vomiting and dehydration. That's healthy, right?