Saturday, September 01, 2007

Survivor: Cook Islands - Revisited

Or, This Fule Completely Misses the Point

I've come to decide that when Survivor announced the Racial Islands edition, the ensuing brouhaha didn't arise so much because of race, which was merely the match to the kindling on top of which American culture sits. Instead, Cook Islands illustrated cultural how alienated the sober world of righteousness -- which includes but is not limited to the various minority-rights organizations that warned against the impending race wars sure to transpire from Cook Islands -- is from the fallen cultural demimonde of mass entertainment. As I've said before, if any of the doomsayers had much familiarity with the reality genre and Survivor in particular, they'd have known that the initially segregated tribes would be integrated within a couple episodes, which is of course what happened.
(Really, the worst that happened was a bunch of twentysomthings who got diverted from Real World onto Survivor were thoroughly outclassed and outmaneuvered by Yul, which could be read as various institutions of domination (Stanford, Yale Law, his abbreviated enrollment in ROTC) manipulating a bunch of clueless kids more interested in instant gratification than the strategy required to win $1 million, but Yul was the coolest cat on the island, so no harm no foul.)

The only real fault in that old uproar -- aside from how disingenuous the Survivor poobahs were when they said Cook Islands was a social experiment -- was down to unfamiliarity with pop culture, and really, they only represent the segment of the population that fancies itself "above" mass (read: bad) entertainment like reality tv. I don't want to play armchair psychoanalyst... ok who am I kidding? Of course I do: They're like the petit bourgeois anxious to maintain their seat at the middle-class table and thus refusing the peasant dishes that offer deceptive beauty.

To put it another way, the whole issue points to how certain demographics have abandoned an interdisciplinary approach to cultural commentary and instead have let themselves be, frankly, ghettoized in the proverbial ivory tower.

Indie rating: Kinski – "Crybaby Blowout"

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