The Molly

Writing / Podcast / Video

Full disclosure: I watch it

I read yesterday about how “Survivor” is planning to divide teams by race as it starts out the new season. And I really thought they must be joking–or just floating the idea to see how people would respond. (Responses in my house as well as my carpool have ranged from, “are you kidding me? How stupid!” to, “I feel vaguely offended, but I’m not sure why,” to, “Maybe the white team will manipulate the black team into working together to further oppress and defeat the Hispanic and Asian teams.” Because hey, what can I tell you, you play with stereotypes and you’re gonna get … more stereotypes.)

Now, though, it appears it’s not a float–it’s an honest-to-goodness plan. The thing is, it was pretty stupid last year when the divided the teams into older men, older women, younger men, younger women. But at least you could kind of get what they were going for–brains vs. brawn, in some form, because it’s such a physical game. But with a racial divide, what possible competitive advantages and disadvantages can you possibly even consider without embarrassing yourself with your totally uncool stereotyping (see above)? In sum, there’s no point whatsoever other than to get people talking about the show. Which, of course, they are.

New York City officials are asking CBS to reconsider its plans, with City Councilman John Liu earning my vote for “most awesome quote of the day” with this one:

“The idea of having a battle of the races is preposterous. How could anybody be so desperate for ratings?”

Exactly. Even better, though, is watching CBS try to stand by its plan as, like, brave and risky and daring and controversial and “part of our history.” Dudes. It’s Survivor. There is absolutely no point to this move in terms of the actual playing of the stupid game. If this is how far you’ve got to go to make people care about Season 173, or whatever you’re on, it’s really time to hang up the bush hat and cargo shorts. For real.

(This is pretty lame that I get this fired up about TV, eh? Well, hey, consider it brave, risky, daring, controversial, and part of my personal history. Yeah, see? Now it’s cool.)

3 Discussions on
“Full disclosure: I watch it”
  • What, me, be affected by subverted racial views that lead to vague sense of discomfort when the very topic of race is brought up, causing in us a collective, societal, knee-jerk response to elements or discussions of race that are, in no way, actually racist but are merely an acknowledgement of the existence of different races? No WAY. (Yeah, that’s absolutely it, and it frustrates me the MOST that we are utterly without the ability to discuss race in any sort of dispassionate way in our society — thus we make no real progress.)

  • I keyed on one particular thing that you said, “I feel vaguely offended, but I’m not sure why,”. I would honestly, in the interest of figuring out for myself if this is morally right or wrong, like to explore this sentiment further. Question: Could it be our own subverted racial views that are rattled when we hear something as openly race indentifying as this? Are we on some level uncomfortable even with the topic such that when confronted with it we step back in astonishment. “How dare they?! Such racism!”.

    Should we never think of ourselves as in terms of race? Well surely we can and do, that isn’t the issue. It’s that we are now, on prime time, pitting the races against one another in a form of contest. One interesting aspect is that the game is very much a mental and emotional game. It is cerebral (on some level) and these teams will need to come together as one. Could it be that race won’t even be a factor. That as it plays out instead we find that some racial in-specifc characteristics plays out within both teams.

    In the end, I think that it is the idea of racial competition and what it stirs in us that will have been the most interesting aspect of this nonsense. The actual Outlast, Ouwit, etc. will simply be typical TV drama without any racial conflict.

    Next it will be the Havard MBA’s versus the Stoners. If so, my money is on the latter. “Dude, let’s just relax have have some more Oreos . . .” :-)

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.