Mongrel Media

So then: Dog The Bounty Hunter. Mullet-wearing celebrity meathead Duane ‘Dog’ Chapman is, according to his website, a ‘modern day Billy The Kid’ and ‘the greatest bounty hunter in the world’. So he’s a treacherous, horse-thieving teenage outlaw? No such luck. Actually, if he really is the greatest bounty hunter in the world then it suggests that this hard-bitten profession is dead in the water. If Dog’s heroic deeds, such as strong-arming crack-addled teenage geeks and ringing up a mark and asking him to kindly come down to the office to be arrested (which he obliges to do with no protest whatsoever), are representative of the state of modern bounty-hunting then perhaps Jim ‘Cat’ Rossignol could soon be taking on Dog for that coveted title. Or perhaps not. The title of Bounty Hunter is, of course, a TV-friendly misnomer. Dog is actually a bail-bondsman who features in a television show that plays out like The Osbournes would have done had Hitler had won the war. Unintentionally hilarious and at the same time deeply unsettling, it somehow sums up all the TV I watched when I was in the US, underlining an unspoken motto that seems to read “it’s okay to be stupid, because it’s more honest than trying to use your brain. Look, airplanes!”

I can’t get enough of the steady stream of jingoistic hyperbole that gushes from US television channels. The UK’s attempts at home redecoration and emotional manipulation are bad enough, but American channels fill me with a kind of exuberant incredulity, a dizzying side-effect of their torrential array of high-bandwidth conceits. Advertising for erections pills that might cause heartburn and brain ulcers, second and third mortgages to ‘pay off’ your mounting debts and DVDs of endless country ballads fill the void between the really good stuff. Is it any wonder that the country is in a state of perpetual warfare when there are at least two documentaries about how awesome guns/tanks/Navy Seals are on the TV at any one time, and only McDonalds, Garth Brooks and Walmart’s own-brand debt-consolidation to look forward to in the rest of life? Before I’d had breakfast I’d already been briefed on UAV drones, the development of Napalm and non-standard paratrooper tactics in Afghanistan. World War II seems to have involved some ‘ass-kicking’, while all the good military tech development is doing us could barely be crammed into a single program about dehydrated food and Kevlar. Don’t mention Vietnam though, that’s just not polite.

People occasionally mention the lack of irony amongst Yanks and point to TV as evidence for this. Actually, most Americans I’ve met have had a pretty good grasp of irony, often with a sardonic wit to boot. I think that US TV is actually only evidence of mindless greed and a remarkable lack of sympathy for what it actually is to be human. This is no longer the opium of the masses, it’s Largactil – a deliberate bludgeoning of consciousness that will not relent until all our souls have been roundly bruised, broken and sedated.

Back in the UK, more televised news events from the US fill me with great sadness. On the one hand there is a crippled woman, whose established wishes, as well as those of her husband, are to be trampled by aggressive legislative processes intended to ‘preserve life’, while on the other there is yet another gun-rampage in a school. Where is the legislation designed to preserve the life of those people? What is the internal justification for those people who support the gun laws? How can they possibly write off events like these as ‘acceptable losses’, when they’re the same people who are not willing to let one severely brain-damaged woman die in peace? When will the hypocrites get kicked to death by an army of the bereaved? Not in this lifetime, I fear.


9 Responses to “Mongrel Media”

  • Richard Says:

    What about the simpsons? Can I still watch them?

  • Rossignol Says:

    Sure, why not.

  • DAT500 Says:

    “it’s okay to be stupid, because it’s more honest than trying to use your brain. Look, airplanes!”

    Time for the T-Shirt.

    I’ve recently re-read The Dark Knight Returns and it’s not until you’ve been dipped into the American lifestyle that you can see how bang-on Miller’s TV screens really are.

  • Tim E Says:

    The deliberate polarisation of US television news gives me real fear. /Every/ story is viewed through the rigid political views of their two party state – with a pair of talking heads butting heads on all issues. It terrifies me that news is packaged into 45 second segments, given a logo and a stirring theme, quoted and left. It isn’t news anymore. It’s just popcorn.

    Still. The end of the world will be a wild, wild firework show.

  • Mark "The Ferret" Keenan Says:

    Dog the bounty hunter has to be the best “no brain” entertainment on TV this year. Forget Big Brother and all that Celebrity get me a contract nonsense. This is pure, mouth dropping, culture shock at it’s best.

    This is pure American heritage we are watching.

    I for one love the show and have been watching every night at 10pm on Bravo for the last week.

    “DOG IS GONNA GET YA!

  • Rex Says:

    I’m not trying to be contentious or otherwise adversative in this reply, but the above seems to be generically based on the following: “…point to TV as evidence for this.”

    TV? Evidence?

    Complete devotion notwithstanding the difficulties that may arise, one has to wonder whether or not the very people who watch such shows will have to come to the rescue–again.

    Rex

  • Jordan Conk Says:

    Dog is richer than you’ll ever be…..He obviously has some brains, because people love him..And not you….Go fuck yourself

  • Rossignol Says:

    Och, and there was me actually thinking *I* was richer. Man!

  • NightHunter Says:

    What sort of moronic trash is this? Who the hell are you to badmouth the Dog?

    Dog is waging a war on street drugs! The poison that is killing hundreds of thousands of people! Directly or indirectly. What did YOU ever do for anybody besides yourself?

    He bails people out of jail, people that are innocent until proven guilty. Why should innocent people rot in jail? If one of them messes up, then they blew their chance and can go back and let the courts sort it out. That’s the way the legal system works.

    And don’t forget how he tracked down Andrew Luster, the billionaire date-rapist. He didn’t make a penny and even got locked up in a filthy Mexican jail for his troubles, but he got his man! He ALWAYS gets who he’s after. That’s why he IS the world’s greatest bounty hunter! And the world is a safer place because he’s in it!

    Maybe you’re just jealous because he is a celebrity and makes millions. Maybe it’s simply that he is a real man and you’re just a punk with a pink laptop.

    Get bent!!!