Last week, I wrote about the sorry state of reality television and invited readers to chime in with their opinions. Of the dozen or so phone calls and emails I received, none disagreed with my assessment that reality TV had become more sensationalistic to the point of disgusting.

Here are some of the comments (edited for length):

“Human society is suffering the pathetic disease of ‘RealityShow-itis.’ Your list of masochistic, sadistic and violent stuff being watched is astounding, and it reveals a voyeuristic lack of compassion. Children see so much of this carnage and garbage it is no wonder bullying is so prevalent (and seemingly accepted by adults in schools, churches and the electronic media). I never watch these shows; they make me sick (literally).” — Jackie Freitas, Friendship

“Reality television, truth be told, hosts as a lure for the gossip-and-drama obsessed. What better way to capture someone’s attention than delivering relentless scenes of bickering; violence; new-born babys (awww) bred from underage mothers that are in no position to take care of themselves (at least predictably, with their bleak display of character and intelligence), let alone a child; the happenings inside celebrity lives (Kim K., Paris H., even Ozzy); culinary dictators; and all the other nonsense that stupefies the populace.” — Garrick Hoffman, town not given

“I read your article today about reality shows, and I couldn’t agree with you more. They have gone way too far with these shows and I feel that they are insulting my intelligence that they think that I think that is entertainment. Are peoples’ lives that sad that they really enjoy this stuff? If so, then there’s a whole new support group that needs to form!” — Anita Soule, town not given

“Just read your article, and you’re right on the head there. I don’t think I could have said it better regarding the painful reality of reality TV. The word ‘vile’ comes to my mind. I think it’s gone way too far. … My customers probably range from 25 to 65, (it’s a) men-only barber shop, and they’re saying the same thing. I think we are all aware that it’s affecting our behavior; I use the word ‘anti-social’ that has become the normal behavior.” — Michael Parent, owner of Mike’s Barber Shack in South Portland

So, what do we do about it? Unfortunately, as long as reality shows are cheap to make and pull in viewers, TV channels will continue to air them, no matter how many people complain.

But targeting advertisers is another story. If enough people petition advertisers to let them know that they will no longer tolerate their support of low-brow reality TV, it could affect the shows’ bottom lines. And when you get down to it, improving the bottom line is the only reason these shows are on the air in the first place.

At the very least, we can all simply change the channel. It may not change the airwaves, but it will sure change our households for the better.

Deputy Managing Editor Rod Harmon may be contacted at 791-6450 or at:

[email protected]