Hey guys I thought I would share something I’ve been thinking about with the latest season of Survivor dubbed Survivor Worlds Apart. In most ways this has been my least favorite season I’ve ever watched. It’s just been so unpleasant with people behaving more like bitter real housewives or jilted love interests on The Bachelor than people playing a game. The one plus is it has gotten me thinking about human nature and the age old question- are we innately good or bad?
Most of the drama has centered around a woman named Shirin Oskool who I met in NYC (or her cousin…) and was a delight. She is a an executive over at Yahoo and was put on the white collar tribe (castmates were divided based on their jobs this season).
Well, evidently Shirin is a little bit annoying. It was never explained what exactly she did that was so annoying except she is a huge fangirl of the show and was always talking about it and she got naked at the beginning of the season so that her clothes could get cleaned.
I’m sure the cast would list off a bunch of things she did which are annoying. But I don’t think that actually matters. Being annoying is a human trait and is the fault of the person being annoyed. Yes we can reign it in but it’s not like lying or stealing. It’s being annoying. It’s not a human weakness or sin.
Think about the movie What About Bob. The whole point of that movie is that Bob is so annoying to the Richard Dryfus character but he is completely oblivious. He has no idea he is being annoying. Dryfus’ reaction is human but it is his problem not Bob’s that he is allowing another human being to get under his skin to such a degree.
Unfortunately human nature does not always exhibit self control. It is perhaps when we are around someone who we find annoying that the worst of human nature comes out just like it did with the Dr and Bob. I love how it is described by good old Joe Fox in one of my favorite movies You’ve Got Mail.
If you can’t read it here’s what he says ‘Have you ever become the worst version of yourself? That a Pandora’s box of all the secret, hateful parts- your arrogance, your spite, your condescension – has sprung open? Someone upsets you and instead of smiling and moving on you zing them. ‘ Hello, it’s Mr Nasty’…”
But the problem with this season’s Joe Fox characters is they used the fact they were annoyed to go beyond a zinger to a systematic belittlement of another human being. The Pandora’s Box was opened and it apparently was never closed as their apologies have been weak at best. They have and will claim villain edit but the scenes have been long and repeated so many times it is tough for me to feel they were overly manipulated. The show no matter the edit cannot actually put words in your mouth. They don’t change you saying another person has no soul or all women just want to be nodded too and some should be slapped.
Here’s some of the things that happened in the last few weeks. Shirin was told by Dan that she deserved to be slapped. That she was an idiot. Another time he was completely demeaning to another female on the tribe Sierra saying “there are 2 ways to listen in the world. You can listen like a guy or like a girl. When you listen like a girl you empathize. You just nod your head and agree..”
Yes because all women want to be treated like dogs who are nodded at without any thought or consideration.
But if only it ended there.
Dan continued to be an extremely judgmental and insufferable character. Like I said he said Shirin should be slapped hard, which in my book is never ok ever even if you are joking. Dont make that joke especially on national tv.
But then we get to Will and boy did the Pandora’s Box spring open for him. Evidently he had been concerned that Shirin is not religious and would frequently tell her she has ‘no soul’. This is said by enough of the exit interviews to make me believe it.
On the show we hadn’t heard that much from Will and then there was a moment where at the auction he did not get his letter from home but he did get a supply of food only he would know about. He stupidly decides to share the food with the camp. 3 of the tribe wonder if that’s all the food there was and Will starts out rightfully upset at people questioning his gift (even though it was a stupid move to make in the game).
But despite it being 3 people who questioned his gift he begins to rail on Shirin. He says she has no soul and that nobody will ever love her and that she’s a terrible human being.
Now there have been blowups on Survivor. Pandora’s Box has been opened many times you might say. After all the most iconic moment of the first season was a woman comparing another woman to a rat and saying she would not help her if she was dying on the side of the road.
But this was one of the longest tirades we’ve had since Brandon Hantz flipped out at Phillip but even Brandon was upset about things in the game not accusing Phillip of being a terrible human being outside the game.
He really crossed a line for me when he said that Shirin brought the abuse of her past on herself and that she played the victim. How do you play the victim when you are an actual victim? Her father is or was in jail for the domestic abuse. It was that bad. A victim of domestic abuse is usually manipulated into believing they are responsible for how they are being treated. That’s why they often stay with the abuser.
And what was the excuse behind this kind of belittlement? Well, the only thing I’ve heard is that she was annoying. Again, being annoying is not a character failing. If that was the case than we would all be terrible people. Every one of us is annoying to another person.
Just the other day I was with a new group of people and this woman rubbed me the wrong way. She wasn’t doing anything wrong but was just loud and fairly dominating in her opinions. The more I listened to her the more annoyed I got till I wanted to zing her but I didn’t. The thing is…
I WAS THE ONE WITH THE PROBLEM.
She was just talking the ways she talks and I found it annoying.
The especially disturbing part of Will’s behavior is evidently he justified his behavior because Shirin is agnostic and ‘has no soul’. That flies in the face of everything I know about Christianity. Jesus after all spent time with gentiles, sinners and tax collectors. People were shocked because ‘the whole have no need of a physician’.
The whole thing has been kind of upsetting but it has also caused me to think about my own life and when do I rationalize the poor treatment of others because I find them annoying. I know it happens more than I would like to admit. We all do it but hopefully we don’t lose control the way Will did.
I realize they are under extreme conditions on the show. I can only relate it to my mission where I was surrounded by strangers and couldn’t contact home except for weekly letters. I had one time where I was with a companion who I did not get along with. Instead of getting angry like Will or patronizing like Dan I cried a lot and was so emotionally wrung out by the end of transfers one of the sisters pulled me aside and said ‘you look like you need a hug’. I’m pretty sure I would be that way on Survivor. I would be a lot like Dawn Mehan in Survivor Caramoan who cried a lot but played the best game she could.
The good thing in all of this is there was one person who stepped in and came to her defense. Who didn’t let her being ‘annoying’ stand in the way of stopping bullying and attacks- Survivor Mike Holloway.
Shirin said “Shoutout to Jenn, Sierra, Hali — and Michael Anthony Loving Holloway, who showed me that real men and real human beings step in and help each other out when someone’s being attacked. Real people are loving and say, “Forget this game for a million dollars. I’m a human being. These people are human beings. We need to do the human thing in this situation.”
If you think back to What About Bob everyone else is completely charmed by Bob and I suppose that’s an important thing to remember. For every Pandora’s Box that is opened with all the “hate spite and greed’ that is unleashed there are those like Mike who will do the right thing even to a person they find annoying.
It’s really made me think about how I use the ‘she’s annoying’ excuse in my own life and how I can do a better job at focusing on my spirit instead of how iritiating another person may or may not be. I don’t know if that makes sense but it is just something I’ve been thinking about.
In the end
IT IS NOT OK TO BULLY AND ABUSE ANNOYING WOMEN (or men or children or anybody else).
So this is why I love Survivor because even in a season that I hate with 2 terrible people and some who did nothing there is still something about human nature and behavior I can take from it and we’ll see who comes out on top. It won’t be Shirin but crossing fingers for Mike.
Wouldn’t that be a happy ending.
Here’s Shirin’s thoughts on the game
And here she is talking about the blow up.