As it began so it ends: Dumb, dishonest, petty and dull, albeit with a dash of the absurd, as well as an elephant thrown in for good measure. It was only the promise of this absurdity in addition to my curiosity regarding the shady men lurking in the periphery that kept me going until the bitter end.
And lo and behold, what do I notice "lurking in the periphery" like a serial killer with unlimited resources playing high society stalking games, because yachts, private islands and silicone-implanted "models" are interesting for only so long when you're a psycho with discerning tastes? Brett Wilson. Or he's just another weaselly lecher who uses his status to access as many women as he possibly can before his erectile dysfunction is permanently medication-resistant and castration becomes his last remaining option. Either way. He sounds so stupid and full of himself and looks like such a clown, it's hard to fathom a man this ridiculous is masking some hidden evil mastermind. Look at him. What an asshole.
|Notice how Brett and his secret bleacher companion, Jana, can't be in the same room together. As I learned during my last round with The Real Housewives of Vancouver, Brett is a man with a reputation for using women like disposable Kleenex, leaving a littered trail of female heartbreak where ever he goes. The chances then that he uses the women he "invests" in or "mentors" to appease his lechery is completely plausible. The Brett Wilsons of the world are notorious for leveraging their positions of authority and power to take advantage of vulnerable, gullible women or ambitious, awe-struck ones. The mess of female debris that invariably swirls around these kinds of men isn't there because of their superior sexual prowess, that's for sure. Repulsive. Jana's son excuse? Give me a break. She couldn't find a babysitter? Jana never misses a social engagement that would double as a platform to network and cross-promote her Joga enterprise. Why this time? Coincidence? I think not.|
There is no such thing as coincidence. Only the illusion of coincidence itself ~ V for Vendetta
But putting aside the satisfying feeling of being right about something for once, how do these people and the fawning multitudes who flock around them not see how utterly absurd they look or how despicable their extravagances are in a world teeming with so much poverty and suffering?
|There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness ~ Mahatma Gandhi|
With regards to fashion specifically, the irritation metastasizes into anger and disgust when one considers the unnecessary evils related to the clothing industry, such as flagrant pollution and environmental damage. Then there are the inhumane working conditions and mental health problems associated with the fashion trade, whether we're talking teen models starved and treated like branded cattle in a slaughterhouse, the eating disorders, body dysmorphia and sexual objectification intimately tied to commercialized fashion, or the slave wages of factory workers in impoverished countries with dismal human rights track records.
I'm not against culture and the arts, prosperity, progress or freedom of expression, but I am against injustice and the cruelty of indifference towards the poor, sick, hurt and struggling. I am against the massive imbalance of power and wealth caused by corruption and the unregulated capitalist greed of a privileged few, who rig the game in their favor, at the expense of an anguished, disempowered many.
I'm against the idolization of flawed mortals. And I'm against applauding their grandiose displays of obscene riches, while immediately outside their golden gates, languishing below their gilded cages, disadvantaged human beings writhe in pain and struggle in vain as they fight to survive.
Then UNBELIEVABLY, the second people who have too much money, such as Joan and Don Walker or whipping boy, Brett Wilson, decide to adopt the prestigious title of "philanthropist" and throw some resources at the very suffering and inequality they're responsible for creating and maintaining in the first place, we're all expected to be pathetically ingratiating and deferential towards them??
Constantly praising the filthy rich for giving back to the world that made their atrocious accumulation of wealth possible is as ludicrous as constantly praising divorced fathers for paying child support. These are moral imperatives. They SHOULD be doing these things without expecting anything in return. They already have SO MUCH. It's not good for ANY human soul to be so fucking greedy, or for ANY ego to be stroked so vigorously and so ceaselessly. Nothing should be stroked that vigorously or go on for THAT long.
The fatuous posturing and eccentric habits of the privileged and well-to-do, as if they've jumped straight out of the pages of The Hunger Games, wouldn't bother me to the degree it does if there wasn't just SO MUCH human misery surrounding them that they could actually do something structurally significant to change.
If there wasn't all this desperate need and injustice in the world, I'd feel the same way about the extravagant lifestyles of the rich and famous as I do about tattoos, cartoonish breast implants that transform women into bimbo caricatures, "open" relationships, Pajama People, flaky New Age trends and religious fundamentalism: I'd never submit to these lifestyle choices and belief systems, but "whatever" if someone else does. Other than being curious about these things, I don't care. I might not get it, but to each their own.
However, it isn't quite the case, is it, that the rich are simply living frivolous, materialistic lives that have no detrimental, oppressive effects on anyone else? They live the way they do, hoarding wealth, totally indifferent (other than for the purposes of their self-serving philanthropy and marketing ploys), and almost downright contemptuous of the poorer masses because they're addicted to the power, illicit temptations, luxuries and unending adulation that comes with their affluence.
They don't really want to do anything to alleviate suffering or elevate the oppressed into an improved state of being because that wouldn't serve their superiority complex or feed their lust for power. They don't really care about anyone else. They want an inferior, peasant class that stays desperate and hungry because it keeps THEM rich and powerful.
They like feeling superior, feeling like gods and goddesses, kings and queens. They like believing they're above the rest of us, either by divine decree or meritorious "hard work". And they like the idea that others are inferior because they're meant to be inferior. In other words, they like oppression and they like believing those who are oppressed somehow deserve their oppression.
It's so nauseating that I hope this series stops in Canada so I never feel the obsessive need to focus on the "Real Housewives" of anything ever again for the rest of my marginalized existence. And I do not say this because I'm some horrible, embittered person overwhelmed with debilitating "envy" and malice the way Roxy by the way is, despite how she and her "reputation management team" spin it. Her micro-expressions, body language and the contradiction between what is said and what is done don't lie.
If you want to know what makes a person tick, you have to ignore the superficial things they, their friends, family, acquaintances or the people they employ say. I mean, other than what the superficiality itself says about them.
|Envy is a littleness of soul, which cannot see beyond a certain point, and if it does not occupy the whole space, feels itself excluded ~ William Hazlitt|
Life, no matter how outwardly mundane, difficult or unfair becomes infinitely more fascinating if you have access to this "eye". On the flip side of all these pretty illuminations, however, are shadows, sometimes very dark shadows, and the "eye" notices these, too.
When you start looking past personas into the deeper recesses, and notice these dark shadows – the unpleasantries, the ugliness, the cruelties, the barbarism, the "negativity", the nihilism, the sheer evil – if you're not vigilant, it can be downright brutal on your own conscience and sense of well-being, even though all you're doing is looking.
Thus, when I say I hope to never feel the need to obsessively watch another "real housewife" of anything ever again, although I still find these shows enticing observation tools, the melancholy that watching reality TV can induce in me is not a nice experience. I don't actually enjoy disliking people I don't even know to such an extent. It's an uncomfortable feeling.
If it was the case that I'm simply a hateful bitch who gets some perverse pleasure out of examining the "dark side" of human nature in the context of reality TV, I wouldn't have deleted all my Real Housewives of Vancouver blogs (although now that I've "caught" Brett Wilson lurking in the shadows of The Real Housewives of Toronto, I wish I hadn't deleted anything). I curse reality TV for making me aware of his presence on this planet.
You see? This is what I'm talking about. I do not like despising someone I don't even know (or someone I do for that matter), but the seed's been planted now, it's taken root and it's proving more difficult than I would have ever imagined possible to weed it out. If this was The Office of my mind, I'd be Michael and Brett would be Toby, he annoys me to that degree of irrational intensity. Hopefully I'm not the only Office fan around here, otherwise this reference will not make much sense.
If there is anything "debilitating" from a mental health standpoint about my interest in reality TV and celebrity culture, then, it's only that it tends to make me ruminate a little too much on the idea that there is something alarmingly wrong with our humanity when we worship the rich and famous the way we do as if they're immortals, while letting the meek, the unknown, the poor and the abused rot in some overflowing garbage dump or be used as nothing but cheap, slave labour and objects of sexual assault.
Case in point, Magna, of which Don Walker is the CEO, opens assembly plant after assembly plant in Mexico because slave wages, trade union suppression, lack of workers' rights or even basic respect for humanity dignity, as well as unenforced government regulations and unrestricted trading borders keep costs of labour and production low enough to enable the Donalds of the world multi-million dollar compensations. This then puts the Joans of the world in the "envious" position of being able to throw elaborate parties on a whim, so she can show off their privilege and material trinkets on television to much acclaim and devotion. Essentially, the rich FEED off the poor like fucking leeches.
But who wants to think about that? Who, other than maybe a few who reject the banality of the "positivity movement", want to think about all the "negativity" involved with the social ills of the world? Why do that when we can watch "goddesses", Ann Kaplan and Joan Walker, distract themselves with shopping for golden elephants and giant lip-shaped chaise loungers?
Or when we can listen in on Jana Webb and Roxy Earle as they maliciously (and gleefully) gossip yet AGAIN about Kara Alloway? And then in turn observe Ann and Kara hash out the details of the same piece of gossip, albeit from a different angle, that Jana and Roxy were just digging into?
Why would we think about depressing Mexican factory workers far removed from "The True North, strong and free", who are paid a pittance and used like workhorses, when we can watch Don ogle the fake tits of some chick straddling his Harley amidst the opulence of a "condo" that's more like a castle than a condo? Why would we?
|The wandering eye of a filthy rich man always finds a pair of tits to land on. Where the eye goes, the dick is sure to follow. Sorry, Joan, your husband's a dog. But I'm sure you knew that. Oh well, you have the diamond.|
Meanwhile, there's an affordable housing crisis in Toronto, a city dubbed Canada's inequality capital and home to one of the largest wealth gaps on the planet. The shelters overflow and food banks cannot keep up with the demand. Untreated mental illness, addiction and human trafficking (we're talking children!) loiter the streets, sleep under cardboard or hide in the shadows, forced there by either those who are exploiting them or by a society that doesn't want to look at them.
|Ann Kaplan and Joan Walker compare diamonds, their status symbols. They are status symbols that are stained with blood and infused with the stench of pollution, but they don't care. They can go shopping!|
The self-glorifying rich, the corrupt and those with merciless ambition who abuse, ignore and exploit the poor, the gullible and the victims of circumstance will return to dust. They will meet their fate. The law of karma will prevail, whether in this life or the next.
Or at least that's what peasants like me tell each other. It makes us feel better about our plight, but really? Leonard Cohen was right:
Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
I originally ended this blog with ill will, encouraging, Jana, for example, to perform Joga "tricks" until she developed an unsightly rash and itched so badly that her hair fell out by its bleached roots. But then I heard she'd been involved in a near-fatal head-on collision not long after The Real Housewives of Toronto finished taping, resulting in a long, painful recovery period. So I guess I'll take back my unkind "encouragement" and wish her well.
I also suggested Joan should down another bottle of wine and rip off another pair of panties until she projectile-vomited and a bacterial infection took over her urinary tract, but now that seems a little mean. So I'll take that back too and wish her the best of luck with Donald and his wandering eye. She's going to need it.
I furthermore thought Grego should yelp out another yahoo! until her voice became so hoarse that she croaked like a fucking toad. I told Ann to go ahead and inject some more filler into her face until her transformation into an unrecognizable mutant socialite good only for terrifying small children was complete. I thought Roxy could indulge to her gluttonous heart's content until her vanity and greed ballooned so far beyond the confines of her skull that her head blew up. However, I take it all back. May their futures be glaringly bright and blindingly illuminating.
But the men "lurking in the periphery"? My only wish for them is that they may one day get everything they deserve.
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 1: Dumb, Plastic and Sleazy
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 2: Boring Housewives and Ugly Husbands
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 3: The Polished Real Housewives of Toronto
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 4: The Slut Shame
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 5: Amazing Reality TV Stars
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 6: Infomercials and Friends in High Places
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 7: Social Suicide: Game of Thrones to the Rescue
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 8: Curious incuriosity
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 9: Denials, Dragons and Dummies
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 10, Season Finale: Final Absurdities