The topic of the next Survivor season being divided across racial lines just came up on MSNBC a little over an hour and a half ago. I hit the mute button when the designated white guy (Lionel, a syndicated radio talk show host who apparently doesn't give out a last name) actually held up a finger and melodramatically said "a-HA!" when Jacques De Graff, on Lionel's prodding, restated that his organization was called 100 Black Men, as if this revealed something ominous and incriminating about the man's motivation. Nobody mentioned at any point what a blatant crock it was to have a white guy and a black guy play point-counterpoint with this "issue", attempting to segregate the debate over racial lines as if white people at this late date wouldn't resent the hell out of a whites vs. "minorities" gimmick, too. I suspect De Graff realized the ridiculousness of the whole exercise; he burst out laughing several times.
I'm calling shenanigans on this overinflated controversy. We'll get to that part in a moment, but first, a few paragraphs of me attempting to be a superior dick about why none of this should matter to me. Remember, I usually tell you up front.
I have little patience with fake news, and Survivor-related fake news would normally be a non-issue for me since I refuse to watch the bulk of so-called "reality" television. People question me about this decision, dismissing a genre out of hand like that. After all, there are several different types of reality show. They don't all have the dreaded game show element like Survivor does. But really, you could say the same thing about porn. Some people don't like the concept of porn, won't watch it, won't go near it, and on most days refuse to even think about it. If you walk up to these people, you could say, "Well, it's not all the same, man...if you like butt sex, you can find all-butt tapes, and if you like regular people who don't fake it, there are amateur tapes, and if you don't want to keep that erection...hey, there's always Ron Jeremy!"
The definitive answer, the one that stops the argument before it starts: "I don't like watching people screw." If they reject the basic concept, it doesn't matter what you decorate it with.
In a similar vein, I reject reality television as a rule because I'm distrustful of the unpleasant types of people who tend to be featured on those shows. There are always exceptions, of course, but that first hurdle is always the biggest one to get over. When I was coaxed into submitting myself to watching Unan1mous this spring, the most outstanding facet of the show was the universally repellent nature of the participants. Everybody turned out to be a punk and a manipulative jerk at one point or another, and really, how the hell can you care about something like that?
(Sidebar: the Blogger spellchecker wanted to replace Unan1mous with "inane". I enjoy small touches like that.)
In the interest of full disclosure, what helped me come to this decision was watching the first season of the Real World--first of the breed--in its entirety before deciding that life was too short to subject myself to that attention-whoring tripe year after year. That was 1992, and there's still no end in sight. This is a trend that's way overdue to run its course.
Having said all that, let's return to the fake issue at hand for a moment. The segregation situation is a calculatedly "edgy" angle to the new season, a cheap stunt designed solely to get people making all kinds of noise about Survivor again. And it's working! It was on every channel this morning! Hell, even I took the bait, and I don't get paid for this, so I can afford to be choosy...
My advice: this fall, watch The Office instead. You'll thank me for it.