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It’s no secret that reality television has spiraled out of control in the time that it has been en vogue. Networks are leapfrogging over each other with lower and lower concepts, from pretty people starving in far off locations, to pretty people eating disgusting animal parts for money, to the newest low, pretty people getting married because stupid people say they should.

Married By America is one of the sickest ideas to come down the pipe in a while. The basic premise is that America vote and pair up people who are successful in every aspect of their lives save finding a mate. I’d say they’re lacking some success in the self-respect aspect of their lives, in addition to the inability to find a spouse. Maybe the reason they’re not successful in finding a mate is because they’re willing to do stuff like this. Once paired, the man and woman are engaged moments before first laying eyes on each other. That sounds like some sort of third-world nightmare scenario.

The show’s Web site on says, “Marriage is a sacred union between two people who have grown together over time. Fox says #@*% that.” For the record, I actually transcribed their covered-up dirty word verbatim. So, basically, the title page of the Web site concedes a certain amount of contempt for the accepted process of marriage. I’m not saying I have a problem with nontraditional methods of doing things, but you can be nontraditional without being stupid. I’m skeptical that one will find a partner for life in the context of a television show. Especially a show on Fox. Who the #@*% does Fox think they are to scorn marriage this way?

This program’s Web site sums up the show thusly: “This groundbreaking series follows five singles who put their trust in the American viewing public to play matchmaker.” Shovels are groundbreaking. Also, like this show, shovels are blunt and devoid of thought. Would you let the American viewing public decide with whom you are going to spend the rest of your life? I would not let the American viewing public decide what I’m going to have for dinner. I guess I’m traditional in the sense that I would want to meet and fall in love with someone. I hope I’m not the only one.

The site further states, “With the help of relationship experts, five potential mates will be handpicked for each of these men and women, but they won’t meet before their engagement.” What kind of relationship experts are they consulting that would think this method of meeting someone is conducive to long-term success? Their very participation calls their credentials into question.

I really don’t know what kind of people would submit themselves to this process. Are these people looking for a spouse or fame? I doubt they will meet someone they will spend the rest of their lives with, and I hope they do not end up getting famous because of it.

There are actually people out there who get married and spend their lives together without the benefit of television audiences deciding for them. Can you imagine having to explain to your kids how you met? “Daddy and I were introduced on a television show and got married after a national audience decided we should.” Not that I think any of these “relationships” will last that long.

There was a time when marriage was taken seriously, but the institution is seemingly under attack. The last thing we need is an idiotic mockery of love and marriage. I hope that Fox realizes the folly of this program and decides not to bring it back.

Chris Ricketts is a junior majoring in