Friday, May 05, 2006

Unan1mous Ugliness

I’m not a fan of TV whose idea of “reality” programming is to throw people onto a deserted island or into a confined space and use the most diabolical tricks to poke and prod them into acting shockingly nasty to each other in order to win the big bucks. In fact, I find such programs appalling and the American public’s fascination with them disconcerting. And there’s no denying the American public’s fascination with them, given their consistently high showings in the Nielsen Ratings. What is it about human nature that takes such pleasure in watching people deceive, demean, manipulate, betray, and otherwise hurt one another for the winner-take-all pot at the end of the ordeal? I don’t understand, and I’m not sure I even want to.

But after watching snippets of Fox’s
Unan1mous, I know what I would like to see on these shows instead of what I do see. Unan1mous features a mixed-bag group of men and women confined in an underground fishbowl and instructed to vote for one person among them to win the $1,500,000 jackpot. Of course, they don’t unanimously vote for the same person the first time around, since they all want to win the money, and, of course, the jackpot total diminishes with each round of voting and with each passing second between votes. Everybody ends up trying to manipulate everyone else into either voting for them or voting against someone they despise. People end up lying and crying to each other, shouting insults at each other, and being reduced to the worst of their natures. It’s thoroughly ugly for them and for us.

What I would like to see on this show and those if its ilk is at least one person who exhibits outstanding character and decency to everyone and ends up winning the grand prize. I don’t want to see anyone rewarded for acting like a Machiavellian jerk. My ideal may not be the way of the world or the way of shows like Unan1mous, but I’m determined to do my best to act the way I’d like to see people act in my ideal world and to see if maybe, just maybe I can inspire others to do the same.

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