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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says there is much to learn from reality TV

April 23, 2013|By Eric Pincus
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is competing in the celebrity diving competition "Splash" on ABC.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is competing in the celebrity diving competition… (Chris Pizzello / Invision…)

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has expanded his reach beyond the basketball court, writing pop-culture essays on his blog at the Huffington Post.

The six-time NBA champion takes on reality television in a thoughtful, critical analysis of the genre.

"Those who refuse to watch, based on some misguided cultural snobbery, aren't just missing great entertainment, they are overlooking the best social insight into the American psyche since Huck Finn and Jim explored the soul of America on a raft of lost innocence," writes Abdul-Jabbar.

The Hall-of-Fame center is a fan of Bravo's "Real Housewives" franchise, calling creator Andy Cohen "the Andy Warhol of the 21st century."

Abdul-Jabbar isn't being sarcastic or ironic.  Instead he writes that there's a lot to learn about American culture from the often vain, shallow and petty antics of the various wives (and ex-wives) on the Bravo series.

He also mulls over the definition of reality, a backlash against feminism and the art of reality television.

"Daily life skews our perception, but art holds up a mirror of the behavior that allows us to see ourselves clearly and act on it," blogs Abdul-Jabbar.  "If we look at certain reality shows as art (like a novel) rather than a source of gossip or feeling superior to others, we can not only enjoy them, but learn from them as well."

Abdul-Jabbar happens to be appearing in a different reality genre, ABC's diving competition "Splash."


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