14 July 2010

Statistically average

I took one of those quick online quizzes this morning that offered amazing insight into the mysteries of my psyche, and conveniently offered to sell me some cool home organizing-storage-d├ęcor items at the same time.

Isn’t it really thoughtful, the way the internet is designed to give you pseudo-useless information while simultaneously peddling goods? Yeah, I think so too.

Hmmm. Anyway.

The quiz was supposed to tell me if I’m more of a right-brain thinker or a left-brain thinker. Turns out, I’m in the middle. Not hyper-distracted big-picture clutter queen or detail-driven fastidiously organized label geek.

Isn’t that the way it always seems to be? In this big melting pot of America, most of us live somewhere near the center of the bell curve. I guess if we didn’t, we’d find ourselves on reality TV. One of those hoarder shows or the home-make-over programs that get people to throw out their smelly old stuff and humbly, tearfully, start over with a fresh coat of paint, a custom-built shelving unit and a basket of fresh flowers.

That’s living in the fringe, but apparently that is precisely the definition of entertainment for many of us in the middle of the bell curve. However macabre that might be.

How many tuned in to the Deadliest Catch broadcast yesterday evening? I’m guessing a lot, but having absolutely no knowledge of television viewership statistics, couldn’t even venture an estimate. This segment of society in no way resembles the middle of the bell curve. These fishermen absolutely live in the outer extremities. Everything about their lifestyle and avocation is foreign to most of us. But it is a curiosity. Maybe for that reason precisely, because it is foreign.

Are we a society of voyeurs? Glimpsing into the lives of those that live beyond two standard deviations from the mean? Or does the advent of reality television serve to bridge the gap by demonstrating the common bonds of humanity? Underscoring the things we have in common—pride, humility, courage, loss, love, faith, family.

Hmmm. Don’t know.


  1. I watch very little tv except occasionally a documentary or House, and I do watch Grey's Anatomy. The only reality show I've evr gotten into was Idol and then I even got over that. Am I not normal? I have taken a few of those left/right brain tests through the years...and now I can't even remember my scores! Maybe i should try again.

  2. My current fave is Friday Night Lights and last season's Modern Family episodes. Will definitely watch that again this fall. I like Idol too, but only if we view it from the DVR and zip through the ho-hum parts.

  3. FNL does rock... and of course, Top Chef! ILY

  4. Really interesting thoughts. On one hand, we all yearn to be different from everyone else--that special factor. And on the other, we crave similarities. Media does all it can to expose the outliers yet make us feel like we're part of the norm even in our dysfunctions! Knowledge combined with sales is driving the internet these days, huh?

  5. I'm like Suziecate, that I watch very little TV. Um....actually, no TV. However, I have recently been watching all the past seasons of "Project Runway" on DVD and LOVIN' it! I think you're right in saying that we as a society are natural born voyeurs, and that these reality shows allow us to peek into the various lives and lifestyles of others. However, what I can sense from reality shows is that they're only partly real; infused with a bit a drama. So, in a way...maybe they DO reflect the common bonds of humanity in that we all have a bit of Reality and Drama in our lives.

    GREAT post, Diane. Very thought-provoking.

    P.S. I also took a similar quiz once and I too was in the middle.