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My Paper

Jon & Kate Plus 8: Exploitation and Voyeurism

And all of us will just have to cope with our family lives the best we know how, shorn of illusions and resisting the urge to tear others down” (Don’t Cry Bad Mummy Too Fast, Mrs. Clara Chow).

I refer to the article, “Don’t Cry Bad Mummy Too Fast” (July 6) by Mrs. Clara Chow.

Unlike Mrs. Chow, I was turned off by my first (and last) viewing of Jon & Kate’s escapades. I have nothing against the filming of families and children per se, but I was taken aback by how Kate was emotionally and verbally abusive to her husband, Jon, and her 8 kids. Had all the drama and tension been scripted to drawn in viewers? I don’t know. What I do know is that Kate’s constant tirades on her children – no less in front of millions of viewers – would definitely have an adverse on the latter’s well-being. Whatever Jon and Kate’s intentions might be – be it for the fortune or the fame (or notoriety) – they have to think for their children not as celebrities, but as parents.

But who is really to blame? Would the show be bankrolled if it did not draw in millions of viewers every week? Increasingly, this brand of voyeurism has proliferated, with “reality” shows such as “Big Brother” and “The Simple Life” offering the world a glimpse into the lives of conflicted individuals. The obsession that we have for such productions is unhealthy; not just for the viewers, but for the participants as well. We need to recognise the fine line between harmless entertainment and unrealistic exploitation, and pull the plug on programmes that prioritise the latter over the former, and develop a media culture that is safe, yet entertaining.

A version of this article was published in My Paper.

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About guanyinmiao

A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting. Carlos Castaneda.

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