Thank goodness for cable television. I can remember when I was growing up, and there were only the three networks. This meant that Ed Sullivan was the only avenue we had for learning about what people could do for a living. Just think about it: how many dog acts could survive without being on Ed’s show? And ventriloquists owed their careers to Ed. Thanks to Sullivan, it was possible to earn a living by making shadow puppets on the wall.
For those folks who couldn’t get on the Sullivan show, only traditional occupations were available, and people had to settle for being plumbers, bus drivers, and secretaries. There just wasn’t much of a market for people with unusual talent like painting murals while roller-skating, or playing the national anthem on the spoons.
Thank God that has all changed. We have hundreds of channels now available. In addition, there is an entire genre of television devoted to “reality.” I am still not sure whose reality we are talking about, but nevertheless, we have a smorgasbord of shows that have revealed career opportunities that Ed Sullivan would revel in.
I didn’t know, for instance, that if your house is really filthy, you can compete to get your own episode of a television show, plus get people to come over with a dumpster and an organizational expert to help you clean up and put things away. Hoarders and those whose houses are like pig sties can become television stars!
If your children are horrendous, and they say the “F” word and punch you, then you qualify to have some sort of professional Nanny come over and whip them into shape. In the process, your family gets to be on a reality show about ineffectual parenting, and you also have fifteen minutes of fame.
Not that being dirty or having beastly children is a career. But Ed Sullivan would just love the talent shows! We have B list celebrities dancing. There are shows for idols, both singing and immunity. Some talent programs involve everything from stand up comedy to rock climbing to music. Apparently, we have really suffered since Ed went off the air.
If you have no talent, it is not a problem. You can, thanks to reality television, now make a living by losing a lot of weight, buying stuff from storage lockers and selling it, living in a house with a bunch of mean strangers, or having an unusual medical condition. There are opportunities for big bucks in being a housewife in desperation, a person who loves eating chalk, or a person who is willing to tell Dr. Phil anything.
We all get fifteen minutes of fame, according to Andy Warhol. Now, people are making BIG BUCKS during those fifteen minutes. Ed Sullivan must be churning in his grave.