Ghetto Porn aka The Maury Show

The things people can do with photoshop

“Ghetto porn” was an applicable term coined by one of my female colleagues one morning while we briefly discussed The Maury Show. The conversation started because I shared with a few co-workers a concept of White gaze on Black bodies and culture. The idea is that there is a mainstream, white,  fascination with black culture. History is littered with proof, most notably jazz and hip hop. More recently, the success of the novel, The Help, further exemplifies this concept; there is something that Whites enjoy about hearing about the troubled Black story. Consequently, there is a danger in Whites becoming obsessed with the stories that they lose their valuable impact and meaning, replaced with strictly entertainment currency.

Today I had the day off and decided to watch The Maury Show, watch a little porn in the morning. I have not seen the show since my collegiate days, and all I remember from those shows were the paternity tests and exaggerated celebratory dances or depressing breakdowns. Below are my notes from the hour show:

  • Title of today’s show: “Did my husband have a threesome and get a girl pregnant?”
  • The introduction of the villainous cheating boyfriend…wow, the “Boo” birds are loud.
  • Black couple–his girlfriend questions a stain on his boxer, and he says that it a jelly stain from a PB&J sandwich…which he microwaves *poverty antics on full blast* Another black male later says that a mark on his neck which his girlfriend thought was a hickey was a mosquito mark…and it looked like a hickey because he has sensitive skin. *drops dead*
  • Before the results, the woman and man are arguing loudly and aggressively. The security guards are constantly on stage to maintain the peace, an effort to prevent a Jerry Springer-esque fighting moment. Ironically, this ghetto porn was popularized by Jerry Springer and Richard Bey before him, yet Maury tries to maintain a slim difference, this perverted sense of dignity. *Yeah, I know…when was the last time you heard that name.*
  • The results are in…he is vindicated on the first question. “It’s only one,” she yells defiantly, but there is a twinkle of hope in her eyes. When she hears that he has been lying to and cheating on her, she runs with the speed of a Gayle Sayers up the stairs into the backstage area, crying uncontrollably. I remember this kind of behavior from previous years.
  • The next exploited victims couple is another less affluent couple. Oh, this couple is White…and I notice that their chairs are placed next to each other, unlike the Grand Canyon sized space between the previous black couple’s chair. The security guards have magically disappeared. White is right…or at least less violent, aggressive better than Black. Oh, and they were going to try to work it out, though her husband cheated and impregnated a woman, not named his wife.
  • This pattern of separating the chairs of the black guests and placing the chairs of the white guests next to each other continues throughout the show. All a part of the system…perpetuation of the stereotypes and systems.
  • “Do you think your spouse is cheating with your friend and you want them to take a lie detector test? Then call Maury.” Guess we all know what will be on a future, upcoming show.

I felt like I needed to take a shower after the show, but I could not stop watching. The Maury show is a social accident that millions of viewers rubber neck every single week. The popularity of the show will lead to more shows like this one and the ones I watched a few years ago.

After the show, another episode of Maury began. This show was showcasing exotic animals. Funny, I thought I just watched that show.

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