I was disturbed to read that the filming of an Extreme Home Makeover segment in our area was voted the top newpaper story of 2007 in our local paper.
What rock are people living under if this was the most memorable story for them. We have serious issues to be dealt with in this world, and I find it difficult to understand why so many people can shut their eyes to the problems facing our society and instead live in a world of "TV reality." I'm sorry, folks, but as entertaining as TV's reality shows may be, they are not the news of consequence in our lives.
Contrary to popular opinion, I believe that Extreme Home Makeover is simply a Cinderella story which makes huge money for its actors (and, yes they ARE actors of a sort), its sponsors, its producers, and the network. If you read closely between the lines, most of the "contributions" for these projects are made by the local contractors, suppliers and volunteers who do the actual work and provide the materials. If this program was a truly philanthropic endeavor, the money expended on one of these lavish homes would be much better spent on two or three modest Habitat for Humanity type homes. But, then, that wouldn't sell commercial time, would it?
I have been involved in the construction industry for over thirty years, and feel that Extreme Home Makeover and similar popular home improvement programs have fostered a practice of extremely fast-paced construction schedules. People see a home built from start to finish in one week, or a room renovated in a day, and they believe that this is the norm. Our "need for speed" culture has also impacted commercial construction. We are noticing increasingly abbreviated construction schedules for commercial buildings. Often these schedules are unrealistic. Quality work takes time. There is no question in my mind that because of the current demand for speed in our industry, quality and safety are being sacrificed.
My hope for the New Year is that people spend a little less time watching reality TV and a little more time thoughtfully considering the important issues -- the election of a new President, the ever-widening gap between the rich and poor in this country, affordable energy and health care, and the urgent considerations of climate change.