the smell of my desperation has become a stench


There’s a relatively new reality show on MTV called FM Nation, and while I didn’t think there would ever be a show that could top The Bachelor or Temptation Island, the genius editors at MTV networks have somehow exalted unscripted TV to undeniable brilliance.

FM Nation follows 3 groups of young idiots as their stories unfold over the course of a Saturday night, and each week the show travels to a different city: one week Scottsdale, Arizona, the next week Boulder, Colorado, and so forth.

Jon and I have been watching this show every week with splendid abandon, laughing ourselves silly at a safe distance.

We loved the girl in Wichita who got doused with “scolding” hot water during a wet t-shirt contest. We cried at the four fake-titted blondes who “rocked Scottsdale” by stripping nude at a Carl’s Jr. drive-thru in order to get a free hamburger.

We thought life couldn’t get much better when a group of kids in a scooter club gathered on an overlook as one of the scooter members tearfully read a farewell to another scooter member, something along the lines of “I could only hope to be as loving and gentle and kind as you, other scooter member” just as the other scooter member angrily warned a random stranger to “Get the fuck away, motherfucker.”

This is Dooce TV if there ever was Dooce TV.

And everything was going along Doocily until MTV decided to hit a little too close to home. And when I say close to home I mean MTV decided to film an episode in Little Rock, Arkansas. Does MTV need to make it that easy for themselves?

I knew MTV would find the most inarticulate hee-hawing bubba-dink to represent Southern youth. Just like CNN will find that one person in Tennessee who can’t just say, “The tornado demolished my house,” but has to sort of clink-clank his words and explain, “The bitch done got flipped over.”

I don’t believe everyone in the South is stupid, I just know that everyone in the South sounds stupid, myself included, and last night’s episode of FM Nation did nothing to ameliorate that sad, sad reality.

Last night I was one of those roving Southern idiots looking for fun on a Saturday night. I was the girl with no boobs and a classic Southern frizz-fro trying to win a bikini contest. I was the sexually-ambiguous girl racing cars in the dirt, proving that “girls is bad ass too.”

And even though I’d seen the preview for the episode several times and knew that the drag queen’s wig was going to fall off mid-performance, I still hoped, hoped, hoped that maybe it would just stay on, please stay on, that the drag queen’s friends would figure out a way for the wig to stay put.

But the wig done got flipped over.

  • meredith

    2002/10/30 at 7:50 am

    woo, like the new look.

  • Curmudgeonly Yours

    2002/10/30 at 8:11 am

    I have seen this train wreck, and I decided not to watch again after those two blondes decided to parade whorishly around their college town as a last hurrah getting their short white skirts signed by friends and strangers. The kicker was that after a night of heavy drinking and annoying sorority girl type lines, they got in their car to drive. At least that is the way it appeared to me.

  • Curmudgeonly Yours

    2002/10/30 at 8:12 am

    Sorry, here is the complete thought. MTV should not indirectly support drunk driving on their shows.

  • Wayne

    2002/10/30 at 8:12 am

    Unfortunately, finding dumb Southerners to put on camera is easy. Making teens look dumb on camera is easy. Mix the two together–Boy Howdy! That’s easier than shootin’ puppies in a barrel.
    Here is one of my memorable experiences with a Good Ol’ Boy–who also happened to be a law enforcement officer–when he found out I was from California:
    “You know, in California, they think that beatin’ a fag’s the same as beatin’ a woman!”
    I try not to hold that against the South.

  • Bucci

    2002/10/30 at 8:17 am

    I get so em…bar…rassed for the poor folks on these shows that I often have to turn away. I guess I always see myself when I look at them? Why do we like to see other people’s boo-boos? Why do some of us laugh out loud when we see someone fall? Are we all meanies by default? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve watched every season of Survivor. I like to watch people live, but there is this line I can’t cross sometimes and I have to stop looking. By the way, I cut and pasted em…bar…rassed directly from to avoid the close eyes the lurk around these comments.

  • edmund b

    2002/10/30 at 8:20 am

    i think most of the people on the show look stupid. i don’t think its a southern thing. i watch the show too. come on, it’s after my favorite of all favorite shows, The Real World. My friends and i try to visualize what we’d be like on fm nation. wooo! a saturday night of drinking tecate on the sofa, making fun of Bill O’Reilly and passing out at 10 o’clock. now there’s a good episode….

  • Stephanie

    2002/10/30 at 8:22 am

    Just to correct you, the scalding water/wet t-shirt contest was not filmed in Witchita, it was filmed in Bakersfield, CA. I know because I was there!

  • The Inmate

    2002/10/30 at 8:45 am

    You see, I just wouldn¥t have the guts to own up to that. Bravo.

  • Fried Chicken

    2002/10/30 at 9:24 am

    everyone on MTV manages to look stupid at some point. i think it is a requirement.

  • the propagandist

    2002/10/30 at 9:32 am

    my god – that show is so humiliating it makes me wince.

    since i sometimes – ahem – have to make very public – ahem – “comparisons” of people in print and on tv, it just beats the hell out of me to see it done for entertainment, mostly because i tend to use it to damage or undermine a person or issue. so those shows remind me of the “praise go i’m cured” scenes from clockwork orange, only without the googly holder openers. and the drugs. and the eyedropper. oh, and the strapped down in a chair with electrodes speared into your scalp.

    and “shooting puppies in a barrell”? is that a pastime in the south?

  • ismat

    2002/10/30 at 9:51 am

    The best part of FM Nation is the cheesy music and FM DJs playing in the car, while a couple of white teenagers are trying to look all badass singing along to some really “hard” rap.

  • ismat

    2002/10/30 at 9:51 am

    The best part of FM Nation is the cheesy music and FM DJs playing in the car, while a couple of white teenagers are trying to look all badass singing along to some really “hard” rap.

  • Katie

    2002/10/30 at 9:52 am

    MTV, for all the stupidity of this show, wasn’t condoning drunk driving with those two girls… the brother of one was the sober designated driver the whole night… poor guy.

  • ismat

    2002/10/30 at 9:53 am

    And that double comment just shows that people not from the south can do pretty well at looking stupid, too.

    Ismat: “I done clicked it twice, cuz the first time nothin’ don’t show up. Then, dang, there were two of ’em!”

  • julia

    2002/10/30 at 10:39 am

    ismat: i hate to bring this up, especially in light of the recent grammar and spelling debate surrounding the p. diddy post…but, i believe it should be “Then, dang, there was two of ’em!” or, “…wuz two of ’em!”

  • edmund b

    2002/10/30 at 10:45 am

    i’d just like to take a moment to say i love all ya’ll very mizuch. very funny-ass comments.

  • anna

    2002/10/30 at 11:15 am

    are you from little rock?

    i just moved to LR from atlanta, and i think there are fewer idiots here than there are in georgia. too bad that arkansaw has such a bad rap.

    there are far worse places on this earth.

  • dooce

    2002/10/30 at 11:21 am

    i’m from Memphis, actually, a couple hours east of Little Rock, but painfully close enough.

  • April

    2002/10/30 at 11:44 am

    Someone help me. I mis-read “the four fake-titted blondes” as “the fake four-titted blondes.”

  • dennis

    2002/10/30 at 11:50 am

    April — Me too. In fact, I didn’t realize it until I read your comment… *dumb* 😎

  • vibegrrl

    2002/10/30 at 12:16 pm

    I wonce knew a girl from Arkansas. She said that ass-backwards state makes people crazy. Like the guy who killed her cat and asked her out a week later…

  • vibegrrl

    2002/10/30 at 12:17 pm

    oops. once. 😉

  • russh

    2002/10/30 at 1:41 pm

    Being of the Southern persuasion myself, I get to hear good examples of the vernacular. A recent fave was a waitress talking about the biscuits her daughter-in-common law made:
    “We thowed dem biskits up again the brick wall, didn’t even no CRUMBS a-fault off.”

  • Chuck Cheeze

    2002/10/30 at 2:51 pm

    Having gone to high school in Memphis and just returned after 10 years for my reunion, I am happy to report that everyone looks and sounds the same. Yes this means that most of the school sounds just like everyone in this story’s comments. Luckily, the ladies mostly sound sexy to me.

  • Katie

    2002/10/30 at 3:30 pm

    “We rule Scottsdale!” Laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe. People like this actually exist and share my air; I can’t take it!

  • Red

    2002/10/30 at 4:21 pm

    People from NY/NJ can sound pretty dumb.
    Just axe them a question.

  • Anonymous

    2002/10/30 at 5:15 pm

    Bucci… Did you mean
    “the close eyes THAT lurk around these comments.” ??????

  • Ex-liontamer

    2002/10/31 at 3:06 am

    Luckily I’ve avoided that poop nugget from the “Empty-Vee” programming schedule. I suppose after yelling at foolish, sheltered 20-somethings sharing a big house and wanna-be wrasslers with self-esteem issues, I’ve reverted back to finding entertaining television which uses archaic devices like scripts and professional talent. In reference to embarrassing regionality, I wince and chuckle everytime I see “Chris-tufah” on The Sopranos. That could easily be a close relative, or, *gulp*, ME if I hadn’t moved elsewhere and lerned proper “American”. Eeep!

  • Edsmonkey

    2002/10/31 at 5:50 am

    I lurve the “reality/slice of life” tv shows.
    They appeal to my inner “nosey old lady from next door” tendencies.
    Who needs to listen through walls or use binoculars to watch people anymore, we have TV.
    I also find that after watching a few of these shows I walk away with a smug feeling of superiority knowing that I don’t have to act like a drunken backyard wrestler or a tit flashing bimbo on camera to feel good about myself.
    It’s also nice to have an outlet to vent my spleen at stoopid insensitive people (especially some of them on the “Real Whirled”. Damn, some of those self absorbed little prats need a good ass kickin’!

  • Kevin from Seattle

    2002/10/31 at 6:24 am

    Being of Souther’n descent myself (Missouri/Abalama), I’d like to note that two of the comments above shoulda read “they was two uh’m (that’s two syllables, ‘uh’ slurred into ‘mm’)” and “up agin the brick wall.” I think it’s crucial, in the classic Henry Higgins spirit that seems to be present here, that we get these eensy-weensy orthographic distinctions straight.

  • nita

    2002/10/31 at 6:33 am

    The city of my childhood always finds such special ways to distinguish itself in the public sphere.

  • nita

    2002/10/31 at 6:34 am

    Also note that MTV says Litle Rock, AK. Kids, that’s the abbreviation for Alaska. Hah.

  • helenjane

    2002/10/31 at 7:02 am

    the scooter club rocked.

    how can you have a name like tuesday and be boring?

  • anna

    2002/10/31 at 7:38 am

    i just HAD to share this with you:

    chuckles NEEDS to be there.

  • cicada

    2002/10/31 at 7:43 am

    I used to live in Boston, and oddly enough, encountered more rednecks there than I have while living in Texas. The only difference between those Southey rednecks and the ones we’re talking about here was the accent. Otherwise, they were still spectacularly insular, uneducated (or just plain stupid), and trashy. Not that I’m a snob or anything. *ahem*

  • Beerzie Boy

    2002/10/31 at 7:49 am

    Cicada’s got it right. The same is true here in California. People call this the “left coast”, but outside of a few liberal enclaves such as the SF Bay Area, most people here are right-wing dipshits. I know, because I’ve grew up in several small towns here during the ’70s, and you could get your ass kick by hicks just for wearing an earring or a Clash t-shirt.

  • Beerzie Boy

    2002/10/31 at 7:50 am

    (Whoops, not done…)

    Very little has changed since, except the things you can get your ass kicked for…

  • Deuce

    2002/10/31 at 10:11 am

    i’m bothered by all this pointless talk of mtv on the day after the death of one of rap’s true pioneers. sorry if i’m a bit emotional today. i now know how my mom felt when john lennon was shot. needless to say, i’m wearing my adidas half-laced today.

  • Wayne

    2002/10/31 at 12:26 pm

    Deuce, Are you wearing your pants at half staff as well?

  • Dirty-Mind

    2002/10/31 at 12:58 pm

    Hehehe…. Staff.

  • arnold

    2002/10/31 at 3:17 pm

    I can hang with the Southern and NY/NJ accents. It’s people that say “expresso” or “supposably” that done flip me over.

  • g0ldfi5h

    2002/10/31 at 7:32 pm

    Hi, glad to see yr website’s back. Love your writing and wicked sense of humour.

  • What's Your Name, Dirty?

    2002/10/31 at 8:29 pm

    I like cheese.

  • deuce

    2002/10/31 at 10:06 pm

    silly, wayne. what kind of half-cocked response was that?

  • Her Highnessness

    2002/11/01 at 6:10 am

    Sadly, the US south doesn’t have an exclusive lease on dumb folk. Being from the southern Ottawa valley (just near where Avril Lavinge is from) you’d think I’d be free from rednecks and the like, but we’ve got lots of charming “county boys” who like their export “A” green cigarettes (evil smokes) and a case of warm 50 (evil beer) for the weekend. Of course natural section is taking care of some of them for us through ice fishing accidents and road run-ins with deer.

  • Beerzie Boy

    2002/11/01 at 6:26 am

    May I add to my previous babblings that, as Vonnegut quoted H.L. Mencken (how’s that for name-dropping) “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the vulgarity of the American people.”

    To which I would add two 21st century truisms:

    > There’s no such thing as a sleazy buck, and

    > There’s no such thing as bad publicity.

  • Heather #2

    2002/11/01 at 6:49 am

    I think if you want to impersonate “deuce” you gotta spell her name right, eh? I mean, how in the hell did you get to this site and not notice the spelling??? (It all comes back to a spelling thing, really.)

  • Ashley

    2002/11/01 at 10:24 am

    Oh my gosh! That show is so awesome. I watch it weekly.. I’ve never commented on here before, and I must say, you are real damn funny.

  • XWG

    2002/11/02 at 9:01 am

    What? Some of you ppl actually mean to tell me southerners make less sense than all those rappin’ fools on MTV? Gimme a break!!!

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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