Fox’s crackpot psychiatrist, Dr. Keith Ablow, visited the O’Reilly Factor to explain the big ratings for Nik Wallenda’s high-wire crossing of the Grand Canyon. “Is it the rubbernecking syndrome?” guest host Laura Ingraham asked, likening it to drivers’ fascination for accidents they pass on a road. Not surprisingly, Ablow came up with an, er, unusual theory and he used the occasion to take a gratuitous slap at our social safety nets.
Ablow: Well, look. I think there’s the rubbernecking syndrome but it’s more than that. Because now people are looking for an antidote to not being human. They want real risk. That’s why Xtreme fighting is crushing boxing as a sport. Why? Because people want to see real courage, real possible peril. Why? Because we’re all addicted to Facebook and the internet and entitlements that make you less human, less alive, less grounded in your own sense of self. This guy crossed the Grand Canyon for real and there was no faking it.
And then, there’s football, and baseball, and basketball, and hockey, and soccer. Oh, and “professional” wrestling. And then, there’s the hardcore groups devoted to platform diving and weightlifting and speed skating and all the rest of the Olympic sports that clutter up the TV schedule for weeks at a time.
Oh, and golf. PLEASE, I wish Mister Allblow would explain why people waste their time watching this “sport” which is only moderately below pro bowling in terms of America’s bizarre fascination with the truly boring.
Hell, movies have been living on the idea of visual style over substance for at least 20 years now. So have franchises like the WWE. So the trend predates mainstream internet.
Not that this fact would stop Ablow.
“just like that ‘Gangnam Style’ video that had so many hits on youtube — if it’s more popular than Fox News, it CAN’T be any good! WAAAHH!”