Reality dating television

Our cable-box dreams finally rested on one beautiful notion: the participatory broadcasting of real life.

No more Harold Garfinkel’s demonstrations that testers can drive strangers berserk if they stare at other riders on the elevator or if children refuse to recognize their parents. You discern patterns in each—the effect on the watchful viewer is of a patterned repetition of wholly singular encounters.The citizen is not sovereign alone, but sovereign through his activity in a community of peers.The drama, when it was given too much power, crowded out the true entertainments of any republican political community— entertainments whose delights must be rooted in that self-regard and free judgment in daily activity which strengthens the bonds of citizen to citizen.Singing, building, decorating, beauty, athletics, and dancing gave pleasure and “entertainment” because the participants not only accomplished the acts but became spectacles to themselves—and to others, their equals and fellow-citizens, who had done just the same activities.Republican entertainments might often take the form of the contest or the demonstration.

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