You Want Reality TV? I’ll Give You Your Reality TV.Posted: January 3, 2009
How’s this for reality? Dick Clark is a severely impaired stroke victim — yet he’s on TV on New Year’s Eve!
I think it’s fantastic.
For just a couple hours every year, on just one channel, TV allows just one person who is not perfect onto its bright and shiny airwaves. A person who didn’t recover from his illness to become “good as new.” A person who has a severe speech impediment and looks kind of funny, and whose brain maybe isn’t 100% functional. A person who, by the standards of TV, is, yes, cringe-worthy.
The unspoken message: “I’m here, I’m impaired, get used to it.”
According to the American Heart Association, stroke is our country’s leading cause of serious long-term disability. Every year, 600,000 new victims and 200,000 more who are having a second or third stroke — almost a million Americans in all — get added to the statistic.
So, hurrah, Dick Clark, for insisting you go on, and hurrah, ABC, for letting it happen, so that television can show us what diversity really looks like. Even if it is for only two hours on one network on the last night of the year, it’s a start.