I thought that reading forty best essays of all time would bring me closer to my goal. Now I want to share the whole list with you with the addition of my notes about writing.
In the s, a scourge swept across the world of entertainment.
It threatened the livelihoods of those in the creative industry and presented a world where the average person, dwelling in obscurity, could be plucked from the masses and made a star.
It was equal parts thrilling and horrifying. Reality TV was supposed to devour television.
It was going to make writers and actors irrelevant, and single-handedly lower the national reading level by two full grades. Reality television became shorthand for stupidity and quickly found a place as a scapegoat for one side or another of the culture war. These shows, with their cameras hidden and seen, were Orwellian nightmares come to life, Jean Beaudrillard essays in pixelated form.
They were the beginning of the end of the world. And yet, though their overall presence on the airwaves is a fraction what it was at their peak, their influence remains enormous. We can say this now, from our perch in the shiny new decade. Paris Hilton has moved on to Twitter.
It was a time before Lostbefore The Wirebefore the end. It was the glory days of reality television, and it all started on a cable network that had hours to fill, and little money with which to fill them.
MTV wanted to make a soap opera. Like all the new cable networks, they had to fill the hours. America, it turned out, had an insatiable appetite for television, and the new cable networks were struggling to keep up. Some of them turned to re-runs of programs that had been modest hits in their original network incarnations -- the My Two Dads and Eight Is Enoughs of the world -- while others made cut-rate game shows and aired Just One of the Guys four times a day.
The result was The Real World, whose premise was neatly summed up in its introductory statement: At first glance, the first season of The Real World appears to be a collection of random, diverse twenty-somethings thrown together in Manhattan.
The casting logic of the show was fairly simple: For some it did; for others, not so much. The first season of The Real World relied heavily on the pressures of their various careers for dramatic tension. We saw the characters balancing the time commitments of practice, rehearsal and performance with their newfound quasi-family unit back at the loft, a situation the young audience for the show could begin to appreciate.
This balancing act -- with help from some racial tension -- blew up infamously when Kevin missed a group dinner meeting and was threatened with expulsion from the loft and the show.
In the end, Kevin remained, but one could see that this episode, easily the most dramatic of the season, would not be an isolated incident in future iterations of the show. Season two of The Real World is, arguably, the single most important season of any TV show of the last twenty years.
It is one of those watershed moments that happens once or twice a generation. The first season of The Sopranos was such a moment. The third season of Mad Menone could argue, was another.
It provided, in a way, the template for all of the major reality TV shows to follow, though one could be forgiven for not realizing it at the time.
The second season took roughly the same premise as the first and moved it to Los Angeles, where it played up the aspirational angle a little bit more. Again we saw characters who desired fame and success -- singer Tami, comedian David, country singer Jon -- and again there was a healthy dollop of racial and sexual tension.The essays are not listed in any particular order.
Just browse through them, read the summary, writing tips, and if you think it’s good for you, go ahead and read it.
What was Charles Dickens’s best novel? It depends whom you ask of course. Searching for clarity, I decided to pose the question to a handful of leading Victorianists. I sent out emails to select scholars asking them if they’d be interested in choosing a novel and making their case.
Just about everyone I reached out to was game. An examination of Dickens's narrative technique in Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, and David Copperfield.
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