It was about three years ago that I opened a blog account here, with a recognition that it served as much vanity as it did any purpose to improve the human condition. Life, work, kids, and exhaustion all conspire in their various ways to keep such projects subdued, but once again the muse has struck and this blog finds itself being revived.
I can't honestly say it was coincidence that the notion to restart this blog was in the same week as Jon and Kate Gosselin renewed their trek into willful voyeurism on TLC. I find myself curiously compelled to The Gosselin Zone in the same cruel way drivers slow down near a car wreck, yet avert their eyes to avoid seeing anything too gruesome.
After last night's season premiere, the whole thing is hard not to see as gruesome, and in so many ways.
Although I have watched arguably more than half its episodes, I won't call myself a "fan" of their show. Being a "fan" necessarily implies some sort of enthusiasm for what's being conveyed, and I rarely find myself in that position. I have found myself astonished to see Kate toss more harsh, cutting words at her husband in 30 minutes of carefully edited television than my own wife has tossed my way in nearly 15 years of marriage, and I won't pretend to understand how a constant tone of belittling (at one extreme) to conscious humiliation (at the other) finds itself anywhere in the spectrum of an appropriate way to treat one's spouse. Yet Kate is fine with it. Sadder still is that Jon has so little self respect that he, at least until recent events, tolerated it.
Sadly, though, the weekly travails of the Gosselin's unusual brood have gone beyond the basics of how spouses should treat each other. The living Brady Bunch that has become the spectacle of cable television has now turned into a bizarre mutation of gladhanding, self-aggrandizement, and vulgar self-promotion, with accusations of mutual martial infidelity hitting the tabloids just weeks before their season premiere. For TLC, its a free publicity dream. "This started six months ago," now claims Kate, losing sight of the fact that it really started five years ago, when the presumed subject of their lives - their sextuplets - were born. Now, these poor kids are nothing but a sideshow to what is rapidly become a freakshow of televised excess.
Wth the premiere now comes Kate and Jon's mutual disdain for the media, and Kate's particular dislike for "the paparazzi" which she now claims have started following her everywhere. Their marital issues aside, its impossible to escape the reality that the couple exhibits either ludicrous naivete or astonishng disingenuity at their sudden "discovery" of the photohounds, oblivious to the notion that those hounds have been following them with open checkbooks in hand from the good folks at TLC for the better part of their kids' lives. For Kate, now, a "paparazzi" is anyone with a camera in one hand that doesn't hold out a trip, gift, or speaking gig in the other.
What do we know about the Goseelin's marriage problems? Honestly, nothing. We know only rumor, rumor mixed with the speed and hyperbole of the Internet. where barely every fifth byte is credible information. We do know that, whatever their issues, Kate enjoyed the role of Solomonesque monarchy over her domain in the season premiere, giggling like a schoolgirl over issues she would easily have found to be Jon's fault in any other season.
Lost in all the shuffle and commotion amid the speculation about the Gosselins' future are the lives of eight little children who asked for exactly none of this fishbowl world, who seem in some way still blissfully unaware of the lives of notoriety their parents have chosen for them.
Sadly, for them, only time will tell how that side of the story unfolds. And I wonder if anyone will be paying attention.