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Debate: Reality entertainment programme

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This House believes that modern TV reality entertainment programme does more harm than good.

Contents

Background and Context of Debate:

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Surveillance: Do reality TV shows present a threat?

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Pro

  • Orwellian future. Reality shows gradually erode our doubts about possible harms of surveillance. We are becoming used to being watched for the pleasure of someone else, which could lead to a total indifference regarding surveillance.
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Con

  • Surveillance already exists - and for good reasons. Surveillance is nothing unusual in today's world, especially if you consider security cameras and checks. This surveillance, however, is justified, because it protects human lives and property.
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Morality: Are reality TV shows immoral?

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Pro

  • Reality shows are immoral. Reality entertainment is based on display of sex, violence, humiliation, bad habits, and other - on TV - morally unacceptable behaviour.
  • Watching reality shows is immoral. Not only that reality shows as such are immoral, but watching them is even worse. People crave humiliation of others, especially if they themselves relax in front of a screen.
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Con

  • TV shows merely reflect society's demands. There is nothing immoral about reality shows, but rather about the society which demands them. These shows are just a product of our values and desires.
  • Free choice. Even if reality shows were immoral, it is always our free choice whether or not to watch them.
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Stereotypes: Do reality TV shows enhance stereotypes?

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Pro

  • Reality shows were designed to show stereotypes. Reality shows were designed for people to laugh at stereotypes, which (unconsciously) enhance these beliefs, although participants usually come from extreme backgrounds or are told to behave in extreme ways.
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Con

  • Reality shows bring taboos into spotlight. Shocking reality shows are valuable, because they force the society to think about stereotypes, taboos, and biases. Subsequently, if these problems are brought into spotlight and discussed, we move towards solving them. Moreover, it erodes our hypocrisy of closing eyes to these issues.
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Unique harms: Are there any harms unique to reality TV shows?

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Pro

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Con

  • There are no unique harms. Immoral content, erosion of cultural values, enhancement of stereotypes, and other possible harms are innate to a huge number of scripted shows, not to mention websites.
Besides, a lot of harm can be done by violent movies, news (about catastrophes), etc.
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Economics: Do the harms outweigh economic benefits?

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Pro

  • Instant celebrities. Reality shows are merely about shameless self-promotion, based on humiliating others, and harm relationships, thus corrode the cultural and moral pillars of our society. No economic benefits can outweigh that.
  • Corporate profit motive. Reality shows were designed to make as much money as possible (e.g. through product placement), while contributing next to nothing to our culture. This is clearly detrimental to the society as a whole.
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Con

  • Revenues from reality shows can be used for good purposes. Advertising, product placement, and other sources of reality TV revenues can be used to fund more "edifying" programmes.
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Education: Are reality TV shows edifying?

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Pro

  • Not all reality shows are centered around sex and violence. In fact, there are many reality entertainment programmes that educate people. Either directly (how to build a house), or indirectly (it is moral to help others in need).
  • Deterrence. Reality shows educate people by displaying disastrous consequences of someone's behaviour, thus deterring others from doing unplanned and silly actions.
  • Reality shows generate revenues. Even if reality shows were not edifying, they generate huge revenues that can be used for funding more sophisticated programmes. Take BBC, for example. It offers entertaining reality shows such as Total Wipeout as well as brilliant documentaries.
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Con

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Amusement: Are reality TV shows amusing? Does it matter?

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Pro

  • Amusement is a purpose of television. Reality shows help us let off steam and relax, which - after all - is one of the main purposes of television.
  • Free choice. People can decide freely for themselves, what they consider entertaining.
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Con

  • Low-quality amusement. Scripted amusing shows are much better, because they usually offer higher quality entertainment, as reality shows are based on sexual, xenophobic, chauvinistic or any other morally less acceptable humor.
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Vs. scripted shows: Are reality shows worse?

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Pro

  • No control. In scripted shows, everything that happens does so for a specific reason. In reality shows, people act spontaneously, which can easily result in violence, bad language, or other socially undesirable situations.
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Con

  • Scripted shows are further from reality. Precisely because reality shows are not scripted, they reflect the reality the best, as they are not a product of someone's imagination.

See also

External links and resources:

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