D*ck Dynasty: Phil Robertson's Unenlightened Views and the Scourge of Reality TV

I care less about the predictably unenlightened comments of a reality television star -- and I use "reality" and "star" very charitably -- than I do about the fact we even know who he is and are discussing it.

Reality television: a medium that too often consecrates shattering mediocrities by marketing, monetizing, and exploiting them; a medium that, in many cases, is little more than a stifling den of pathological superficiality with no mirrors or windows and only one locked door.

It's easy to blame the networks that produce and peddle it. But they couldn't successfully do so without the complicity of an insatiable consumer culture that helped make stars out of countless obscurities, from Kim Kardashian and Perez Hilton to Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber, nearly all of whom did little or nothing meaningful to earn the honor.

We continue to give these manufactured celebrities national platforms in the form of radio, print, and television interviews used as mouthpieces to express their woefully unimportant opinions; and we, in turn, feign surprise and fabricate outrage and disgust when their ignorance manifests itself, as it inevitably always will.

Some of them may be do-littles, or noncontributing zeros altogether, but none of these pseudo-celebrities deserves another moment basking in and banking from the unwarranted effulgence of our gaze and conversation.

A&E suspended (note: not fired) Phil Robertson for his controversial comments. Bravo. They have as much of a constitutionally protected right to do so as he had to make them in the first place, despite the inaccurate shrills of the religious right and the cable network that enables them. But a genuinely helpful solution would be to program other avenues of for-profit entertainment that don't involve lionizing an anachronism that espouses played-out, antediluvian opinions most rational Americans readily dismiss anyway.