We may not live in an era with a snazzy moniker like "Enlightenment" or "Rennaissance" or even "Industrial Revolution," but at least we can say we were around for the decline of Western civilization.
There is no clearer harbinger of the end times than the avalanche of reality shows jockeying for our scant TV viewing attention -- from "Extreme Makeover's" Frankensteinish reinvention of average Joes and Jills to the intimate peeks inside soon-to-fail celebrity marriages to unapologetic teens squandering their parents' disposable income on Sweet 16 parties to adults who will eat bugs or face extreme danger for the opportunity to one day evade taxes -- our society reached its acme sometime in the mid-70s. We are Caligula at this point.
Me, I'm tempted to crawl into a fetal position with my Betamax and watch the glory days of TV -- you know, "Alice," "Falcon Crest," "The Brady Bunch" (that cousin Oliver was such a sweet boy). Alas, decorum, self-respect and my job keep me from doing so. For now. I officially take my hat off to Post TV critic Lisa de Moraes, who gets big props for not yet gouging out her eyes.
The latest evidence of our imminent collapse is the no-they-didn't decision by the creators of "Survivor" to divide next season's teams by race. Specifically: white, black, Latino and Asian.
This decision was apparently made in response to charges of a lack of diversity on the show. Somehow, "segregation" was mistaken as the right solution for that problem. Let's hope they don't further step in it by issuing white capes and Fu Manchu mustaches.
Yes, at some point during the season the tribes will merge, forcing integration. Maybe 40 years ago, it would've made for ground-breaking TV. In 2006, it's embarassing.