“Dancing With The Stars” Misplaces Its Values

Fini Goodman
October 30, 2011 Posted by Fini Goodman finigoodman@netscape.net

Chaz Bono

As you my loyal fans may know, I have really bad taste in television. I love to watch the worst, most brain dead stuff. Now that I’m pregnant, it’s gotten worse. I’m the only person in the world excited to see the new Adam Sandler movie, Jack and Jill. I have not gone so far as to savor the NBC show Whitney, but give me time because I am sure that it will grow on me. The fact that I keep trying scares me.

I love to watch ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.” I love the pomp, the circumstance the fact that the show is like a bunch of activists from GLAAD playing a practical joke on straight men. These straight male stars dress in poncy costumes and nance around the stage while gay men who are the judges tell them that they need to be “more masculine” “like a panther on the hunt” and “act more like a man” (wtf???) I mean, what other show would have Nancy Grace’s boob popping out of her costume on national television? Hilarious!
However, one thing about this show has stuck in my craw a little bit this year. The judges on Dancing with the Stars and I seem to have different definitions of what a hero is. They say it is heroic to have started gender reassignment surgery and appear on national television. I say it is brave to do that but it is heroic to have served as a soldier, had your face blown off in Iraq and then appear on national television.
Let me back up a bit: I love that Chaz Bono is on the show. In case you are really good at avoiding pop culture, Chaz Bono is Cher’s son. He used to be Chastity Bono who was Cher’s daughter until he underwent partial gender reassignment surgery and is in process of becoming a female to male transgender. He seems like a sweet man. He seems like anyone would seem if you grew up as Cher’s child: overwhelmed, a little depressed, very henpecked and very pessimistic. Anyone who goes out there on national television and does something they’re not good at is brave. Chaz not only has absolutely no talent for dancing and is incredibly unathletic but has an entirely new body and raging hormones that are making him go girl crazy. The combination has made for some very uncomfortable looking dances: to say that Chaz’s movements are a bit stiff is an understatement. Chaz’s movements remind the DWTS viewer of Frankenstein but only after the monster has been sitting on a plane for sixteen hours. In coach!

Military Hero - JR Martinez

The judges have been laying it on thick about how “heroic” Chaz is as a person, saying things like, “Chaz, you are my hero” and “When I see you dance, something inside of me is touched so deeply” to the standing ovations of the crowd. I’m glad that Chaz was getting all of those good strokes: as Cher’s child you know there were not many of those coming his way.  However, there is another contestant, JR Martinez, who has had his share of adversity to: he sort of challenges the DWTS judge’s definition of a hero. He was a soldier who served in Iraq. He drove a Humvee one day and it hit a landmine and he sustained smoke inhalation and burns over 40% of his body. I cannot imagine the incredible pain of that, but it gets worse: his face was blown off. He has to draw on his left eyebrow. One of his ears is missing and the burn scars on his face will never go away. That was seven years ago, so the accident happened when he was 21: imagine not having your face from the time you were 21. He is the pluckiest guy you’d ever see: he is happy and optimistic and energetic. He is such an amazingly optimistic person you forget about what he looks like within the first minute of seeing him. It even looks like his hot dancing partner, Karina Smirnoff is falling in love with him: usually she’s dead-fish cold with her partners, but she really is tender with him. Maybe I’m just projecting. Not only that, he has serious dancing talent and an infectious joy of life that makes him fun to watch. He is the very embodiment of a hero no matter how a person would define the term. Yet, the DWTS judges rarely make reference to JR being a hero or possessing the quality that they call bravery.

ABC's Hit Show

The point about all of this is that Dancing with the Stars, which is the number one show on television right now reflects our culture and our attitudes. It’s a good reflection of our society that someone such as Chaz is getting national acceptance. However, I find it a striking omission that JR is not getting the strokes that he should be getting for his heroism.
It reflects the modern American phenomenon of totally misplaced affection, gratitude and worship. In both of these circumstances, the use of the word hero is trivialized. A deeper problem is that ides of myth, legend and story hold a society’s culture together. The concept of the hero is central to these. By misapplying the hero label and refraining from using it when needed takes our culture in the wrong direction.
I hope we can recover the sense of propriety about who we call a hero and what they did to be considered brave before it’s too late. A society without real heroes can be lost really fast.

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3 Responses to “Dancing With The Stars” Misplaces Its Values

  1. Buzz on October 30, 2011 at 7:49 am

    Chaz Bono is NOT a hero by any stretch..he/she/it is a misguided genetic anomaly..he deserves NO accolades from anyone except, maybe, LGAT..It is a smear by the judges to even refer to him as a hero..has he defended the helpless and innocent from an attacker?? has he put his life in harm’s way to save another or stand up for an ideal?? How many children has he pulled from a burning house without regard to his own life? No? Then the DWTS judges need to re-evaluate their definition of “hero”…he is what he is, a creature of medicine and a slowly declining moral society..and “whatever floats his boat” is just another way of saying “I don’t wanna talk about it, it’s his life”. It is NOT going to make him alright, it will not make him a “correctly sexually oriented” person. He needs a psychiatrist, not a surgeon..and trust me, it’s not just ME..so don’t go jumping down my throat for being a homophobe or worse..it’s my opinion and there is no right or wrong to an opinion. I am expressing my first amendment rights. So there.

    • KK on October 31, 2011 at 8:20 am

      You are correct Buzz you are not alone. Morality in America is on a serious decline. Much worse than EVER before. The gay/lesbian agenda is a huge part of the decline of the US and is a big link in the chain of this decline. It is very difficult to have hope for a return to morality given what I have seen during my 54 years. I suppose it is always possible but I am a realist and as such see things as they are and not with rose colored glasses of hope and fantasy.

  2. celeste cain on October 30, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Excellent breakdown of the Hollywood scene and its inherent effect on how our society is conceptualized. Thank you for reminding us all the importance of true heros.

    Best regards,
    Celeste Cain

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