For those of you who don’t remember Bud, he was the original host of To Tell The Truth, a 1960’s game show that kept America glued to the TV each Tuesday night. A celebrity panel was challenged to guess whether or not various contestants were telling the truth, or if they were spinning tall tales. We all guessed along with celebrities such as Orson Bean, Kitty Carlisle, Johnny Carson and Tom Poston while being entertained by their simple banter and enjoyable back stories. I suppose the success of such programs is to blame for the never-ending barrage of today’s strange reality shows where people dare each other to eat cockroaches in the middle of a studio jungle to emerge as the Survivor, injure themselves on dangerous obstacle courses to shouts of “big balls” on Wipe Out and court, marry and divorce strangers in record time on the Bachelorette/Bachelor phenomenon. And then there is the sing along venues where judges insult and/or cry over eager would be rock stars with a relentless display of cheesy, cloying mutual admiration.
But back to Bud. We need him. Or something like him. Desperately. Why? Two words. Presidential campaign. Yes, the scourge of reality TV has firmly entrenched itself into the political process. Candidates appear to fall in and out of love with their constituents, while claiming they have cornered the votes of women, minorities, unions, the Pope, Joe the plumber and the cast of Minions. They set off on dangerous courses by expounding on issues of female anatomy, scientific research and various forms of math, fuzzy and otherwise. And, of course, foreign affairs, including all the wars for whom no one is responsible. These types of questions usually get bounced into the waters below.
But to tell the truth? Well, for that we have the Donald. Polls claim to show that he’s loved because he says it like it is. And the number of people who seem to enjoy his hate spewed diatribe seems more scary than the man himself. When I see them gathered in front of his podiums I’m thinking “these are the same people who went to Woodstock – who protested the Viet Nam War – who applauded the resignation of Nixon!” and am instantly sad. And worried. What happened to these people?
To compete with the millionaire mogul, the other panelists are going to have to ramp up their display of dislike for women, minorities, veterans, the working poor, people who wear glasses, rape victims and each other. Perhaps they will even disavow any affection for the Minions. And while they are screaming out their tunes, they will have to make certain Putin actually loves them best while keeping their college records firmly out of reach.
With most of them spending their mostly inherited wealth, the main sponsor, Koch Industries and various PACs won’t need the seductive woman in the Viagra ads to get viewers to buy into all of this. All any of us have to do is check the Facebook posts that flash by every few minutes, claiming that Hillary is actually Amelia Earhart and that Huckabee is a Belgian born Jew. Who needs Charles Kuralt? We’ll soon have at least 9 new Fox News commentators once this circus ends to tell us what we should know and whose on the latest hate list.
Bud would be amazed, wouldn’t he? I just hope that America comes out as the Survivor here.