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What I'm Giving | December 3, 2013 0 comments
In this special series, we asked writers we admire to share a book they're giving to their friends and family this holiday season. Check back daily... Continue »
The Carnie Awardsby Peter Fenton
The good news sorta is that new technologies now allow city dwellers to experience the guilty pleasure of cheap carnival thrills at work and home. Without the downside of mosquitoes, manure, bad food, and sunburn. Television and the internet have created an easily accessible "electronic midway," making carnie pleasures available 24 hours a day. For instance, what is reality TV, like Fear Factor, but an old-fashioned carnie geek show? On the midway, as a primitive form of mass entertainment, crazed geeks bit the heads off of chickens. On Fear Factor, ordinary folks eat worms and spiders for millions of gawkers. And they're not even crazy, although an inordinate number of them are bartenders.
Or if you're in the mood for a titillating girlie act the kind that carnivals staged after hours in a dimly-lit tent watch music videos. Back when cars had fins, grandpa would spend a day's pay for the privilege of observing seasoned pros bump-and-grind while grandma was contemplating Mason jars at the pickled wax bean exhibit. Now grandpa-friendly sex kicks are available for only fifty bucks a month with expanded basic. Thrill ride? Rent a DVD with lots of computer special effects. Crank up the home stereo and it's like riding the Octopus or Squirrel Cage sans the sprained neck, contusions, and projectile vomiting.
What about the midway-style barkers and baloney artists? Is the public too sophisticated to be conned by carnival come-ons? Not really, I'd contend. Americans are as gullible as ever. It's only the hucksters who have changed. Celebrities, it appears, are the new carnies. With a mix of sophisticated technology and old-fashioned ballyhoo, celebrities mesmerize the eager throng and make a good buck at it, too.
I believe it's time to honor those celebrities who know that there's still a sucker born every minute and have the bank statements to prove it. Therefore, ladies and germs, I present to you the first annual Carnie Awards.
Selected by a panel of distinguished grifters, the following celebrities realize that when it comes to drawing a crowd and emptying wallets, the sizzle is more important than the steak. In fact, many of the five honorees don't have any talent at all, except for pulling wool over the eyes of the media and public alike.
Let's all congratulate the Winners of the 2005 Carnie Awards:
Ozzie and Sharon Osbourne
Sponge Bob Squarepants