Debra Goldman's Consumer Republic

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It wasn’t supposed to be like this. In the wake of Sept. 11, two things were certain: Irony was dead and reality television passé. After suffering through so much real destruction, surely TV audiences would want no part of contrived competition and trumped-up hardship. Kinder, gentler viewers would seek comfort in the bosom of their families, gumming their Chee-tos while watching TV bloopers from a quarter century ago.

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