Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

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The television talk shows of today are indisputably a success in comparison to other entertaining programs. Talk shows such as Ricky Lake and Montel Williams are indirectly a present version of the freak show, the only difference being the transformation from physical to psychological freakishness as stated in the article. This essay will try to discuss some of the moral issues associated with the reconfiguration of the freak show as well as to emphasis and express some related opinions raised within the article.

In the article, the writer emphasized that freaks in the Dime Museum were people who not only entertained but also the idol made to make the audience feel more at ease and comfort with their own lives and self image. This was especially terrifying and evident when confused relationships were often arranged between incongruous freaks in the 1870¡¦s in order to exploit their oddity and to make profit.

This sort of behaviour should not be appreciated by the society as a means of entertainment. To entertain other people at the cost of the performer¡¦s own life and ethical values should not be encouraged. Also, it is immoral of the society to make fun of human anomalies and to actually promote them to perform is totally inexcusable. The fact that these freak shows are no longer existent reflects that the society of today has improved immensely in terms of appreciating and understanding the physically disabled. (Ref 1, p316-318, p320, p322-323) Also, according to the essay, some components of today¡¦s talk shows are depicted to be informative and a means of manipulating taboo subjects to attract the attention of the audience. In Ricky Lake, for example, participants often focussed their themes on treacherous marriages and affairs and part of the fun was to actually get people to come face to face, and to fully uncloak their secrets to entertain the audience. There were never solutions provided by these talk shows apart from exploiting the participants in front of national television. The basic nature of these talk shows are merely to entertain, not to help or reconcile as they portrayed themselves to be achieving. (Ref 1, p321-322 ; 2, Lec) However, there are exceptional cases where talk shows are constitutional. In Montel Williams, for example, bisexual victims actually came forward once to express their accumulated anger toward the society. It is very shocking and alerting to be provided with an insight into how the society treated unusual people and to actually watch these people explain their experiences is rather inspiring. Thus, in a way, talk shows are still purposeful and deviates indirectly from the article which descriptively generalised all talk shows as informative and its only purpose to utilize pure voyeurism to attract public attention. (Ref 1, 320-321 ; 2, ¡§Jerry Springer¡¨) Other issues such as the inequality and the ill treatment of obese women were also raised in the article, especially in freak shows. Overweight women are frequently seen on talk shows, usually in pairs with their husbands, to evoke the sympathy of the audience.

Obese women are looked upon indirectly by the society as a type of self made freak as stated in the article. This should not be the case because there are many forms of obesity which involve genetic and glandular factors. People should not regard obesity as a result of lack of will and self control and should try to accept them as part of the society rather than to discriminate merely to upgrade self image and pleasure. (Ref p324-325) The society of today has attempted to accept and improve the social image of physically abnormal people. This is clearly seen as the freaks shows of the past reconfigured into a psychological display of freakishness. Also, apart from exploiting participants, the talk shows at least portrays some situations experienced by those who are mentally ill or different. People should try to accept the mentally disabled and not simply try to compromise those with physical abnormalities. This will not be easy because everyone thinks differently and exhibits their own individuality. Thus, publicly, there is still a long way for people to mutually interact with each other without any mental or physical prejudice.