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Or, maybe, "16 and Pregnant" is a way for the upper class to reinforce its own views of poor people. "Look at those dumb people", say the rich watchers, "doing dumb things that keep them poor."

And some of the rich people have the heartless response, "guess they deserve what they get, if only they didn't do those dumb things they wouldn't be poor", as though we were all playing Monopoly or something and started the game in the same place.

And some of the rich people have the paternalistic response, "oh that is so sad, we need to make it illegal for them to do the dumb things that made them poor", as though poor people were puppies that needed to be put in a box to keep their piddle contained in one place.

Lisa Schmeiser

Thanks for commenting. I'm not rejecting your suggestions out of hand by any means, but I am curious: Are your comments based on first-hand observation?

I'm asking just because, when I talk to friends about the show, we all tend to skew to the "Holy wow, there are a lot of factors combining to make that perfect storm" reaction. I also note that we draw a thick line between assigning responsibility for a decision and assigning moral values and blame to their character.

But maybe that's why my friends and I are merely middle class liberal types instead of rich people? I don't know.


To some extent, although it's mostly informed by a strong cynicism about the way people interpret messages, and the way the country in general views poor people. There's a reason Judge Judy gets paid so much, and I do not feel it is a good reason.

And I'm not discounting your and your friends' reactions or claiming that they aren't honest, it's just that I see people whose lives suck on TV and think, why are we seeing these particular people on our tv?

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