A Cajun recipe to debunk TV - Greg Gelpi

The recipe for the perfect Cajun programming (sarcasm included):

Start with a roux of bayou waterways, jazz and zydeco music and uneducated Southern drawl.

Add a dash of voodoo, a sprinkling of Mardi Gras madness and a pinch of Dixie beer.

Bring to a boil, scrape any semblance of intelligence off the top and serve to the world.

I confess, regretfully, that I actually watched an episode of The "Simple Life," the reality television show about rich kids making fun of the rest of us folks all the while showing their own ignorance. I further regret that the show with Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie perpetuated the stereotypes of Louisiana and Louisianians.

The kids, not in physical, but mental age, partook of a crawfish boil, complete with Cajun music. The episode featured Hollywood's iconoclastic view of Louisiana. The only aspect lacking was a Pierre and a Boudreaux.

Traipsing about the murky bayous in ritzy attire straight from Rodeo Drive, Hilton and Richie duped, or attempted to do so in all of their blonde-ness, the locals. Continuing with their charades they ridiculed the culture, the people and the land.

Reducing Cajuns to nothing more than two-dimensional shells of people, the duo played with them as if dolls in their own super-sized doll house.

The occurrence is nothing new. Flashback to 007's movie set in Louisiana. The flick featured a voodoo funeral procession, New Orleans jazz music and a high speed chase in swamp boats.

The constant bombardment, like a incessant drumming of brainwashing through the decades, has taken a toll on the country and the country's view of life and the world around us.

In middle school, which wasn't so long ago, my teacher recounted a job interview she had in New York. Making small talk, the potential employer asked if my teacher commuted to work in a pirogue. The class laughed at first, but my teacher explained that the question was posed seriously and not as a joke.

A few years later, I experienced a similar instance during the first day of college orientation in little ole Natchitoches, La.

A newly met friend from Chicago and fellow classmate meandered backwoods Louisiana for the first time as we journeyed to grab some fast food for dinner.

His first question about the bayou state was do we have alligators in our backyards.

The television, or the idiot box as it is affectionately referred, zaps images and messages into the brains of countless zombies, myself included, daily.

Painting a picture, the television beast also establishes fact and truth.

I've never been to San Francisco, but I feel comfortable in saying that people do drive cars, rather than taking the trolley as a sole means of travel, and that they do eat food other than Rice-A-Roni.

How nonchalantly we reduce a vast existence to a mere image and catch phrase. Frighteningly, we even do that with people, places and things we know nothing of except through third party sources.

Greg Gelpi covers education for the News Daily. He can be reached at ggelpi@news-daily.com or (770) 478-5753 Ext. 247.