Today ended up being a fun little break from my normal routine. I have mentioned before about my love for Survivor on this blog. Part of my enjoyment of that … Continue reading RHAP Con in SLC
I recently did a post on the current season of Survivor called Survivor 30 Being Annoyed and Abuse.In the post I talked about how mean spirited the season has ended up particularly centering around a woman named Shirin who was verbally assaulted by a fellow castmate named Will in a personal attack that hasn’t been seen on the show before. I was feeling pretty down but found something I could take away from all the conflict. I realized how I can rationalize doing hurtful things to people because their personality is annoying to me which really isn’t a good reason when you think about it.
So I took something away from it and I am curious to see how it all ends (hope for Mike!).
Luckily Survivor didn’t leave us all depressed with season 30 for long. They announced season 31 is going to be called Survivor Second Chances and they are doing something they’ve never done before. They have nominated 32 players, 16 women, 16 men who have all played the game once before. Some of these are old time players from seasons 1 and 2 and others are from the current season 31 including Shirin (hurray!). I’m so excited to see any of these 20 back again but it has been like Christmas for Survivor fans to hear the campaigning and try to decide what people to vote for.
My favorite podcaster over at RHAP has been working overtime to interview as many of the contestants as possible and these are thorough 45 to an hour long interviews which again is like a holiday for fans. We get to hear all about their original seasons plus what they would do differently. We can even provide ideas and suggestions for the upcoming season something that has always been impossible (we usually don’t know the cast until it has already filmed!). So if you are fan of the show it has been a real treat.
To listen to Rob’s interviews go to http://robhasawebsite.com/category/survivor/survivor-second-chance/
The graphic above shows the people I have decided to vote for. I looked at it as if I was a casting director and what mixture of personalities and types would I want on the show. That’s why I have some strong personalities like Troyzan and Abi, some thinkers like Spencer and Stephen, some challenge beasts like Terry and Tasha and some who will play with real heart like Kelly and Woo. The rest are just people that I like a lot and am curious to see what they do. Whoever gets picked it is going to be a ton of fun to see, as I don’t dislike any of them.
I tried to pick people that I think will be positive while still being competitive. Even if there are some feisty one’s I think the one’s I picked keep it to the game and know it is all in good fun. If it is mean like this season and misogynistic I will be very sad. Let’s play hard but have a good time while in the game guys and girls!
Feel free to follow my ballot and vote every day at http://www.cbs.com/shows/survivor/second-chance/
Are any of you voting? Who do you like? Please let me know!
On a side note today is my 7 year blogiversary! That’s 7 years writing my silly thoughts about life. I should do something more important but I’m saving that for post 1,000 which is 2 posts away. Wow!
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.
Quicker than it probably should have the final day of my trip came on Saturday and while I was sad to see it all come to an end I had the beginnings of a wicked virus, my feet hurt and I was tired. Ready to come home you might say.
But fortunately we still had Saturday to enjoy and it ended up being a rainy day in the city. We decided to do a bus tour because we figured that would be better than walking in the rain and I wanted to see the 9/11 memorial before I left.
The bus was fun but I wish it had been more of a tour. There really wasn’t much of one so it was kind of like a wet taxi ride and then to my great annoyance they dropped us off like 8 blocks from the 9/11 Memorial. It was the 9/11 stop and we had to walk forever and again nowhere in NYC has benches to rest. There is also construction at the site and it is very confusing where to enter and go but eventually we found it and I was able to stop for a moment and pay tribute to those who lost their lives on that horrible day.
We didn’t have time to go to the museum but at least we were ale to see the Memorial and then we made it back to the bus and finished the tour. After a quick lunch my shuttle picked me up and it was bye bye New York!
I was exhausted and have been sick all week but it was worth it. It was a great experience to take a risk, do something different and unexpected, a little bit unplanned which is hard for me. Everyone at the RHAP Survivor event couldn’t have been nicer and I’m so grateful to all of them.
I am also grateful to my sister for coming up and spending the time with me at my pace. It is rare I have anyone who is fine walking with me and waiting with me and occasionally listening to me moan and groan over my feet. She was there just to spend time with me and that was really touching. I’m someone who isn’t often doted upon and it meant a lot to me that she did that.
Overall it was a great trip. Highlights were the RHAP event, my trip to Soho Birchbox and video, American in Paris and the yummy food. Thanks New York! Hope I see you again soon!
Well, I’m back from New York and I’m afraid I’m sick as a dog but I will try to get up some posts about my recent trip to New York City! I had a blast cold, sore feet and all!
It started Tuesday night with a red eye flight starting at 11:30 western time and getting in at 6 am eastern time.
The flight was ok. I was able to get an upgrade and fly first class both ways which makes the world of difference (I don’t know how I’m going to go back to wedged in coach!). I also had my cool sky ready kit with all you need. I highly recommend getting one when you travel.
I slept a little bit on the plane but not much and certainly not deeply. But I did finish our book club book called Wonder which I thought was ok (I know other people love it but I thought it was kind of corny and didn’t love all the narrators but it was fine). Eventually we landed in New York and I was excited to get going…
Well, it started out kind of rough with me losing my wallet. I’m not sure what happened but my best guess is when I went through security they rearranged my stuff in different bins and I must have left it there. Luckily my ID and Amex were in my backpack or it would have been a disaster. So I called the 2 cards I had in the wallet and got them cancelled when I got to the airport. My phone was running out of juice so I had to buy a charger and find a corner to plug it in and call the companies and try to find out where the shuttle pick up was. It was extremely confusing because the signs said ‘airport shuttle’ take the air train to Fredrick Circle or something like that. I went all the way to the other side of the airport and it turned out it was the spot for the hotel shuttles not the type that I got. I was so tired with no sleep and frustrated at my wallet but finally I got to the shuttle.
Unfortunately the driver was a madman and was zooming through alleys and around town and I was so close to throwing up. I opened the window to get some air but it was big city air and I was beginning to feel like Homer in New York City vs Homer Simpson. The city was out to get me!
A very tired weary creature I made it to the hotel and it was a nice affordable place called The Row in the Theater District of Manhattan. My only regret is not getting a place with a pool/hot tub which would have been nice but it certainly filled the bill for my needs. Once I got there I crashed for a few hours before the festivities started in the afternoon.
I also got breakfast ordered in and that was delicious. Great thing about New York is you can have anything delivered. That would be so nice.
Then around 4 I met up with the other Rob Has a Podcast (RHAP) patrons that were attending the event. Here’s where it started to get fun. We went to a bbq place ( I know bbq is not what you think of in NYC but it worked out) and it was so great visiting with everyone.
It kind of warmed my heart to meet such great people in something as random as a podcast gathering. It can be easy to be cynical of the world and all the problems. All you have to do is watch the news and it can feel like we are all going to Hell in a hurry. But then you have moments like this where you see that there are lots of great people out there trying to live good lives and all it takes is something as silly as a podcast to bring you into a kinship with them. The truth is we aren’t as different as we sometimes think and it was a nice reminder- especially with what a rough day I had getting there.
We then went to Gotham Comedy Club and got ready for the big live Survivor Know It All’s event.
The club was different than I had imagined. I thought it would be like a theater but it was more tables and chairs and they had us jammed packed in. My only regret of the night is there wasn’t enough time to mingle and meet everyone. I have friends I’ve gotten to know through the patron group who I wasn’t able to meet which was a bummer. Next time it would be nice if it was more like a cultural hall kind of space where you could mix and mingle and get around to everyone but it was still really fun.
There was a 2 drink minimum so of course that means 2 shirley temples for me! (No alcohol in STs just in case you were wondering.
Then we all watched the episode together and during the commercials Rob Cesternino (the Rob of Rob Has a Podcast) made different announcements and we got to see his wife Nicole, last seasons winner Natalie (and Miss Survivor winner) and Mr Survivor winner Spencer from Survivor Cagayan get his belt.
Then Rob and Stephen did the podcast and some in the audience had a chance to ask questions. There were a whole bunch of former (and one current) Survivors in the audience and they particpated in the podcast as well.
Once the podcast was over we had to clear out pretty quickly which was a little bit of a bummer but I got the chance to get some photos with some Survivors.
It ended up being a really fun night. After the club wound down we went to another club but I was so tired at that point (I had been up for basically 48 hours!) and my new friend Karen helped get me an Uber ride (what a find that service was) and I went home.
So with all the junk in the 48 hours I had been through it was still worth it to have a unique experience, with some great people and I was glad I took the leap and went on the trip. Worth it!
When I got back to the hotel I got a stramboli which was actually one of the only unhealthy things I had during the trip. Seriously it was one of my most healthy New York trips ever! It was delicious! Great way to end the day.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned on this blog I am going to be in New York next week! On Tuesday night I am taking the red eye to the Big Apple and going to be visiting until Saturday! I am so excited because I love New York, get some time off work, see a show, visit with my sister and meet up with a bunch of friends I’ve never met before in real life.
Let me explain that last one for a second. It’s an interesting situation. You guys know I like the show Survivor. I find it fascinating to look at the choices men and women make in the game and how every game is different with a different style of win (except for Sandra who won twice). It’s now going into Season 30 and we have a very promising season with a lot of super fans after season 29 was a super snoozefest.
I would say I was a big fan at the beginning of Survivor and then picked it up again in spurts when there was a Utahn on the show and then with Heroes vs Villains I started watching again regularly. I missed One World and Philippines but got the rest of the seasons but nobody I know is into the show, which is frustrating because it is the kind of show you want to talk about with others.
In fact, I miss the social aspect of movies and TV. In my 20s it was quite common for me to gather with friends and watch American Idol, Survivor, Lost or The Office. Now that never happens. Same thing for movies. Most movies I go to by myself these days.
But around Season 26: Survivor Caramoan I stumbled on a podcast where former Survivors Rob Cesternino and Stephen Fishbach were talking about the show each week and I loved it! A lot of people don’t care for Caramoan but I love Dawn and Cochran and it was my introduction to the podcast and the Rob Has a Podcast Planet.
I think someone could enjoy Rob’s podcast even if they didn’t watch any of his shows. Kind of like I enjoy Car Talk and I hate cars. Rob’s just so personal, funny and engaging. Plus, it was so much fun to get involved on the chatroom and talk about the episode. Again, it reminded me of those times in college when media was a group experience.
Well last year Rob made a proposal to his little planet that if we would support his podcast for .25 cents an episode he would give a monthly patroncast where we could ask questions and set up a patron group to further discuss the show. Wanting to support Rob I decided to become a patron and so I joined the facebook group at the same time. I believe I was in the first 100 patrons in the group. Now I don’t know how many hundreds of us there are but it is an active vibrant group with patrons from all around the world.
We even did a secret Santa last Christmas where I came up with a gift for a woman named Ana from Brazil and I received maple syrup and some bacon bowl makers from a patron named Rebekkah from Canada! Each week we talk about whatever reality show is on (Big Brother, Amazing Race and Survivor being the big 3) but also scripted shows, movies and occasionally other silly news. There have been a few cantankerous souls in the group and some people are too sensitive about spoilers IMO but for the most part its been great!
It sounds crazy but I really feel like it is a community of friends and it seems amazing to me something as silly as a podcast about reality TV could bring people together in a community. It shows it really doesn’t take much to gather people together, especially in the world of social media and the internet. But I think even in real interaction if you can find something you have in common with another person, it can be the silliest thing and yet that is enough to start a friendship and get people talking. I’ve seen it a 100 times that a shared love of dolls, books, Judy Garland, musicals, whatever it is, it’s all it takes to get the ball rolling and create a relationship. Get enough of those balls rolling and you have a community. Kind of amazing!
I’ve seen it with my open water swimming- how a love of the water and being outdoors brings people who have little to nothing else in common together and fast friendships are formed. It seems to me sometimes all it takes is finding that one thing you have in common with someone, no matter how stupid, and you can make it work.
Anyway, when Rob announced they were doing a live podcast in New York on March 11th I initially dismissed it. Who flies across the country after all to listen to a podcast? That’s crazy talk!
But then the rest of the community kept talking about it and it sounded like so much fun. A few weeks ago I decided to look at plane flights just out of curiosity and to my surprise they weren’t half bad, and then I found a hotel which was reasonable and in a safe neighborhood. The idea kept germinating and I finally said
“What the heck! Why not! I’m a super predictable person and for once I’m going to do something strange and fly across the country for a podcast!”
So I got my ticket and it turns out my sister is going to come down the day after the show and we are going to spend a couple days in New York together! It should be a ton of fun!
There is a side of me which still thinks I am nuts for going to a podcast and meeting strangers but another side is really excited (and nervous) to meet all these people I’ve interacted with over the last year. I’ve heard their voice when they call into the podcast. I’ve read their posts, sometimes surprisingly personal and I feel like they are friends. I really do.
I just hope it is a good experience and people aren’t too rowdy. I normally don’t go to places like bars or comedy clubs but it is 300 people and the girl I am sitting with doesn’t drink and there are other dry members of the group so it should be good.
I love being a part of this strange modern community so I hope it is a lot of fun. At the very least it will be something new and different and that is a good thing.
(Plus I get to meet a whole bunch of famous Survivor contestants which I am very excited about!!!).
Have you ever been a part of a community that was unusual or strange? Maybe played bunco with girlfriends for years or have a group of online chess players or something like that? I’d love to hear about your experience. Do you agree sometimes all it takes is finding the one thing you have in common with another person and a friendship can be built?
Well, I look forward to sharing the week with all of you. Take care!
I wanted to start this post off with a crazy title because I want to talk about our societies seemingly insatiable need to quantify and rank everything. Why do we do that? Why can’t we just enjoy something for what it is instead of wondering if it is better than something else?
If you don’t think it is a problem check out watchmojo.com. They have lists for everything and when I say everything I mean everything. Like here is their list of the Top 10 Ruthless Dictators (this is wrong on so many levels).
They also have a Top 10 Infamous Mass Shootings and a Top 10 Worst Humans of All Time. Why? Why does such a thing need to exist and what does it say about human nature that it does? I think we feel an innate need to make order out of chaos and somehow ranking everything makes us make sense of what we don’t understand. But I think just because it is a natural impulse does not necessarily mean it is good.
Why would we never rank the people we love? Why do most people refuse to admit they have a favorite kid? Well because we love them all in different ways. The things I love about my Dad are so different than my Mom that ranking one above another is completely impossible.
The more I’ve thought about it I think that is the case with almost all rankings (or hate them all equally depending on the list!). I always want to have about 10 ties because I like things the same or I appreciate different things in different ways.
I first thought about this when I was ranking the Disney Canon for my Disney blog. I’m happy with my list. It is fairly accurate of my feelings but I am also a little frustrated with it. A lot of people were upset with me having The Lion King at 13 and I was upset too because I love that movie. Same with Aladdin which got pushed down to 19!
My rationale was Lion King humor is a little annoying and a few of the songs are a little corny but it’s great. I love it. It has a fantastic villain, amazing artistry and a story that pulls at my heartstrings. Aladdin was 20 simply because I think the 18 other films are more artistically special but I love Aladdin so it’s very frustrating.
In a way it is kind of silly to compare the movies. I mean there isn’t much in common between Fantasia and Aladdin aside from being animated movies and yet there I was comparing them. Why? Because I felt I had to make a list after watching all 54 films. I felt my readers wanted it and I felt a need to do it myself as a conclusion of the project.
I’ve also seen this list making tendencies in my Survivor forum that I’m a part of. People are constantly wanting to rank Survivor winners, contestants, and seasons. The great thing about Survivor is no two winners are the same (except for Sandra who won twice!). Meaning each one has used a different strategy and won in a different way, so ranking them becomes kind of futile.
I guarantee you if I were to make a ranking of winners there would be people who would be upset with me for putting so and so too high, and so and so too low. People would debate it for hours and not the pleasant kind of debate (at least IMO). The kind of debate that is exhausting.
Just like I was left frustrated at Aladdin at 19 I am sure I would be frustrated with a winner I love not being high enough on my own list!
I prefer lists that are in no particular order and just a bunch of things I like but even those can be frustrating because I invariably forget to include something. Like the other day I made a list of my favorite Disney sidekicks and going into it was going to put Sgt Tibbs from 101 Dalmatians and I completely forgot about him!
What do you think about this tendency of our society to quantify, list and rank everything? Do you like it or are you sick of it like I am? I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments section. Thanks!
So you guys know I am a big Survivor nut. It’s such an entertaining show and a fascinating look at human nature and the way we interact with one another. What alienates people from one another, gives power, forms bonds, and why they make certain choices never gets old and they are now on season 30! I have seen most of the early seasons and later seasons and playing catch up on the middle (still got Fiji, Palau, Guatemala, Cook Islands and Pearl Islands and a few others to watch).
What’s amazing is given the similar rules of the game each winner has been different and used a different strategy. It makes it a fascinating show to watch. You just don’t know who is going to win.
My favorite season recently was season 28 Survivor Cagayan because of the fantastic casting and one of the most engaging winners the show has ever had- Tony Vlachos. He was building spy shacks, voting off his friends, running around the island and all the while remaining incredibly likable. It was so great to watch.
Season 30 is coming up and this time they are dividing the contestants into 3 tribes of 6 just like in Cagayan (I believe this is the 4th 3 tribe seasons). Cagayan was also a 3 tribes and it was separated into Beauty, Braun and Brains, which at first I had an issue with because I felt they were objectifying everyone, putting a label on. However, it ended up being kind of a wash because there were people on all the tribes who fit all the descriptions so it didn’t end up meaning much.
What’s got me thinking is season 30 has taken a similar approach of labeling the 3 tribes but instead of appearance they are going with careers- white collar, blue collar, and no collar.
Kind of an interesting concept for the show don’t you think? What tribe would you be put on? Their definition of collars according to Jeff Probst is a little wonky with white collar “making the rules”, blue collar “following the rules”, and no collar “breaking the rules”. I don’t know anyone else who would describe it that way but it’s Jeff Probst and he can do whatever he wants when it comes to Survivor (especially after season 29 which was a royal snoozefest…).
So given that further definition what tribe would you be on? I would definitely be on white collar because I have a computer job and I am part of a religion with a lot of rules (although I don’t really make them?). That said, I also have little pieces of no collar in me. I work from home, don’t have a boss and the idea of working in a cubicle ever again makes me want to jump off a cliff.
I feel like most people these days are a mixture of all the collars. What do you think? Now with computers, social media and the internet doesn’t everyone have to be pretty savvy? The days of a large blue collar class of unskilled factory workers and farmers just doesn’t exist much anymore. Even if you are in the service sectors like working as a hairdresser you need a website and facebook page to promote your business or you will get slaughtered. Farmers have to be able to use complicated machinery, same with what factory workers are left in America. It is by no means simple, mindless work of yesteryear.
Do you think this has any effect on our culture as a whole the fact we are collarless? I could see some ways it is a good thing and other ways it might force people into a type of work that is outside their nature. In previous societies there may have been more choices for such people? Does that lead to a whole bunch of depressed blue collar and no collar types who are wedged into white collar? I know the worst time of my life was when I was stuck in cubicle hell every day, never seeing the outside, entering data all day- and I was probably considered one of the lucky one’s with a decent job.
On the other hand perhaps with careers becoming similar there is less class division amongst the 99%. After all, is it really a big deal these days to marry someone who has a different career path than you like it might have been the past? (At this point anyone would be glad for me to just get married!).. I don’t think so as long as you can support a family and have similar values. Perhaps we are becoming a little less judgmental based on jobs because they aren’t that different (or at least have more in common than they used too?).
I don’t know. I certainly don’t feel any smarter or better than those with technical skills because I have an MBA. It’s just a different set of skills but still using a lot of the same stuff I use everyday. In fact, they are probably better than me at more things than I am better than them (if that makes sense…).
Or perhaps the whole idea of self-identifying with your career isn’t as important as it used to be? Maybe our jobs are more of a fluid thing and we will all have periods wearing many collars? I have been hard core white collar in several jobs including as a missionary. Now I’m white with a little dusting of no collar. If I get married and stay home with my kids I guess that is blue collar? I don’t know what collar are stay at home Moms? I’ve worked in food service so that was my blue collar and I was a teaching assistant in college and I’m not sure what collar teachers are?
Now that I have a job I love I do self-identify with it more than my old job but for about a decade people would ask me to introduce myself and my career was one of the last things I would mention. Honestly I think I would say survivor fan before accounting clerk. It just wasn’t how I saw myself. I might have mentioned work from home. I still would be inclined to say ‘I’m collar I would rather be swimming”
Are you that way? Is your job a means to an end or something that is a big part of who you are? Would you see yourself as part of a larger working group, wearing a collar if you will?
Anyway, what do you think? Do you ever watch Survivor and do you think this sounds like a good twist? Would love to hear your thoughts.
As the new season is starting check out Rob Has a Podcast for great post show debate and commentary by former Survivor Rob Cesternino. I love it!
As you all know I’m a big Survivor fan and part of the reason I love the show is while it is fabricated and packaged as entertainment, it is also an interesting window into human nature. We see the way people behave when eating 100 calories a day, pushed to extremes and how they interact when forced to make choices that service themselves and the group. That is fascinating to me. The power structures, social customs, group theory and patterns that develop are interesting and the fact that every winner has been different is a testament to the show. There is no one way to guarantee a win because what is effective in a game amongst one group may not be in another.
For me season 29 was a disappointment. This is partly because I loved the previous season 28 so much. We had so many dynamic personalities in Cagayan that made it fascinating (and hilarious) to watch. This season San Juan Del Sur I never bonded with anyone (or hated anyone).
But it had its appeal and curiosity factor as every season does. And one of the interesting threads was a mother daughter pair named Missy and Baylor. Missy was announced on the show in her introduction that she had been married and divorced 3 times. I’m not sure why this was such a big deal? Surely there have been Survivor men who have been married that many times and it was never brought up?
From the beginning it seemed like the show was disdainful of Missy for her marriages even though I didn’t really see her doing much worthy of that disdain. Certainly in the world of Survivor villains she was very thin gruel (and if they had the footage we would have seen it!). She did protect her daughter (who I also didn’t ever see proof that she was that bad) but I didn’t think much more than any other person protected their loved one in the game.
She may have been a real jerk but this was not proven in the footage I saw, even the extended footage outside of the show. There was really only one spat Missy had with Reed where he called Baylor a brat and there was a brief exchange. But again in the world of Survivor it was nothing. I could probably think of about 100 players who have been more obnoxious and villainous in their seasons.
The reason I bring all this up is in the finale Reed, a Broadway actor, got up in his jury speech and obliterated Missy as not only a bad mother but ‘a wicked stepmother’. Here’s the speech:
So he defines the wicked stepmother as ‘the eccentric woman who comes in and makes demands on everyone for the things to which she feels so entitled”. Again, that may have been Missy but it was not shown in the edit of the show and I believe if it entitled behavior was there it would have been shown.
Missy was the one who made the rice and they had to barter to get more (a Survivor first) but Reed was a beneficiary of more rice so you think he would be grateful for that? So she didn’t like her daughter being called a brat on national tv? That makes her a wicked stepmother. Again, in the world of Survivor villains she was so not wicked. For instance, Kass from Cagayan was way more critical, entitled, condescending and judgmental.
It really bothered me to see a woman criticized for playing the exact same game that many men have played, especially after she refused to give up after an ankle injury. You think the show would have treated her as a hero (they don’t have control over jury speeches but still the tone the last 3 episodes was very Missy critical and yet I never was convinced she was doing anything that bad).
The reason why I mention all of this (because I know most of you don’t watch the show) is because I think it is emblematic of our societies strange view of maternal instinct, motherhood, femininity and womanhood.
This is not the first time a Survivor Mom has been raked over the coals. The worst time was Dawn Mehan in Survivor Carmoan who was forced to take out her dental implants and apologize to a fellow contestant (something men who have backstabbed people have never been asked to do). People were very tough on Dawn because they felt she had betrayed them. She was the Mother on the island and then had used that relationship to manipulate her own spot in the game.
Again if a Father figure had done the same thing like a Bob Crowley or Tom Westman it would be seen as great game play but not for a mother. We just expect mothers and ‘mother figures’ to behave in a particular way, which is decidedly unfair as all women are not the same and not all maternal instinct manifests itself in the same way.
Dawn was also very emotional which did not help her game but I kind of get that too.I would probably also be very emotional if I was hungry, tired and away from loved ones. I think her emotional state only made people hate her more. Missy showed that even if Dawn had not been a cry baby she would still have been looked at as a bad mother for simply playing the game as the ‘mother figure’. Dawn received incredible backlash after the season including death threats and the most vile of insults forcing her to take down her social media all together. Other people have played the game poorly and not received such backlash but other people were not a mother of 6 children. It’s just a different playing field.
Over at Entertainment Weekly Melissa Maerz has a great article called ‘Survivor’: Why that ‘wicked stepmother’ speech enraged me’.
” I have no beef with mothers defining themselves as mothers. I’m a mother, too, and proud of it. It’s the question of who is branding women that way, and why, that makes me uneasy”
And then she says
“the term is “rife with contradictions”: “On TV and in movies and in modern fiction, mothers are frequently portrayed as protective yet focused on the trivial, wise yet neurotic, sexy yet sexless, monumentally important but deeply silly,” she writes. Worse yet, we villainize mothers for failing to live up to the standards set by the latter-day Donna Reeds we see on screen, even though those contradictions make those standards impossible.
Mothers can be anything, we’re told, as long as they’re both that thing and its opposite, and as long they’re not any one thing too much”
Going back to the broader sociological discussion (again why I like Survivor) do we put Mothers and motherhood on too high a pedestal? Do we expect women to be perfect and to never be self-serving or make mistakes? I kind of think we might. Most of us would have a much harder time forgiving an insult from a mother than a father. Why? I guess because our fathers typically don’t raise us and teach us what is right and wrong (even in extreme patriarchal societies Mothers do most of the teaching and caring of children).
Perhaps because Mothers are our consolation and sanctuary from the world they are put on the pedestal, almost more a saintly role intervening in our behalf against the evils that surround us than a real person? I guess in some ways that is a good thing but it seems part of growing up is seeing your parents as flawed creatures who did their best but made mistakes too. I think that’s why Reed’s speech felt so off-putting and immature to some of us. She was doing the best she could under tough circumstances but clearly she was not the motherly figure he expected her to be.
It was interesting in exit interviews yesterday Baylor said she felt her Mom was bullied. She said normally she was the one going to her Mom for comfort from the meanness of the world but this time it was her Mother receiving it and her doing the comforting. In that respect perhaps it was a healthy experience for her. Again helping her see her Mom as a real person and not just her role as a mother.
I guess I get annoyed when anyone tries to put me in a mold and I feel that is what happened here. Missy did not fit the mold of what Reed and others see as a ‘mother’ so that made her wicked despite showing little to no actual villainous behavior.
If I have children or participate in child rearing activities I do not want to be pressured to behave in some socially acceptable way. I want to be me and the best mother I can be for me. Luckily I do not have people voting on my mothering like Missy did but it makes me sad we are so closeminded in 2014 in what behaviors are befitting a woman and womanhood.
Wasn’t the whole point of feminism to allow women to be themselves, to be whatever they wanted to be? Why does that not include a wide spectrum of mothering styles and personalities? Why must we have one way and if you are different you are wicked and wrong? I guess that’s what bothered me the most about Reed’s speech it said to me ‘there is only one way for a mother to behave and you did not act as you should’.
Melissa Maerz ends her article with a challenge to Survivor and to all of us to throw off the Motherly stereotypes and see people for who they are not an idealized vision of who the perfect mother should be:
“Maybe it’s not Survivor‘s fault that Reed has such a twisted view of motherhood. Even so, it’s time for the show to stop devoting so much airtime—including a big chunk of the reunion—to rehashing unfair stereotypes. And it’s time for Survivor‘s host, Jeff Probst, to stop defending them…
Just because she has a daughter doesn’t mean that Missy has to be a great role model in the game—though, in my mind, she is one.”
I couldn’t agree more. In a boring season she was a fighter and certainly deserved better than to be attacked and lambasted as a villain for her best efforts to win a game. It just shows how much more work we have to do to break down gender stereotypes and accept people as people not classifications. It will never go away completely but we can do better. We must do better.
(At least it is good to see many in the cast come to Missy’s defense. Reed was trying to perform to the TV audience and was probably purposefully dramatic and over-the-top but it certainly didn’t win him any points in my book but I am not a reality tv producer looking for drama…)
Spoiler alert- if you don’t know the winner of big brother do not read this blog!!!
So if you guys didn’t know I really love strategic game shows like Survivor (well especially Survivor and watched Big Brother for the first time this year). I find it fascinating to see how people work together and what rationale they use for different moves. It’s a gimmicky social experiment but still a social experiment and I find it very entertaining and occasionally enlightening.
Well Big Brother just ended last night and Derrick had been dominant the entire game. He had aligned himself closely with Victoria who was sweet but had done little strategically, and with Cody who had been more cutthroat throughout the game.
In the final HOH Cody had the choice whether to take Victoria who had almost no chance to win or Derrick who hadn’t been nominated once out of 55 times for the block and had been allied with almost everyone. And he chose Derrick?
Why? Cody could have won the 500k almost certainly but he chose his ally, his best friend in the game over a sure win. Many in my RHAP patron group couldn’t believe it. What a stupid move we all said!
The interesting thing is earlier this year in the fantastic Survivor Cagayan season we had almost the same situation unfold. Kass had been an angry version of Victoria. She had burned bridges with everyone and just been very unpleasant all season (I would go nuts with someone like her!). Then there was Woo who was a taikwondo instructor and his ally Tony who had played like a maniac all season building spy shacks, cutting alliance members and speaking in llama (probably my personal favorite survivor player ever).
Just like with Big Brother Woo, the calm, team player, won the final immunity challenge and had the chance to take Kass to the end and win a million dollars, and he chose Tony out of loyalty and respect.
Both Cody and Woo said they felt their partners had ‘earned his spot in the finale’ and they’d rather lose to their friend than win to a nothing person. Seeing these two scenarios play out so close together had me thinking.
Is this just random or is there some kind of cultural reason that we value loyalty and friendship so much, even over money. Or we value them when we are young and unmarried even over money. Is there a connection?I could be overthinking it but here’s a thought. I love the book Urban Tribes by Ethan Watters. Watters wrote an article for the New York Times that he then turned into a book about an experience he had at Burning Man. He was there with his closest friends and as he headed towards the fireside he saw his friends and realized they were his whole life:
“It looked like home, that little encampment in the dust-home because these particular people were there waiting for me. And then I could see the scene in a different way- as an anthropologist might who was studying a group of great apes . It was almost dark now and I stopped 20 years away…
Certainly each of these people had a relationship with me, but they all had distinct relationships with each others. There was a web of love affairs, friendships, rivalries, work partnerships, and shared homes. Connect any 2 of these 25 people and you would find a history of hundreds of hours of conversation, secrets, gossip and all manner of insights into the world”
He goes on:”Maybe I had not been delaying growing up, my real life, but had been living it fully- sailing through my 20s and early 30s as a member of a functional urban tribe”
Now you might be thinking how can an urban tribe exist in a game show where people are voting people off the tribe? Isn’t that counter-intuitive? Yes, and no.
First of all, not everyone playing the game is used to living in an urban tribe environment but the young single (especially men) are, so they are perhaps most vulnerable to this type of attachment. But aside from the votes, which some like Woo and Cody are basically kept safe from, the dynamics of alliances and a tribe/house are near-perfect urban tribes. They satisfy family roles, traditions, gossip, work (challenges), insight etc.
So if you are a young person who is used to living in an urban tribe environment like frat boy Cody or martial arts instructor Woo perhaps their choices at final 3 aren’t that surprising? Both Tony and Derrick were very confident they would be picked so it didn’t seem to be a tough decision. It was that much a part of who they are to make the choice easy.
I am less an urban tribe dweller now I am 33 but there was a time when I fit the description and I ate up Watters book. I felt like someone was finally telling me my life wasn’t a total waste of time because I was unmarried. You should see my copy it is underlined and highlighted. So, there is a time when I would have absolutely made the same choices as Cody and Woo. In fact, I’m still a very loyal and friend-oriented single person so I might still do it today.
And people say ‘it’s only 39 days or 3 months’? How can you get that kind of urban tribe bond in such a short period of time. I actually find that completely believable. On my mission I was isolated from my family and friends and there were people I would have cut off my arm for if they had asked me. I would have done anything for them. And most of the time I had only known them for a few weeks. My companions I had for 6-12 weeks and I was incredibly loyal to them (some I wanted to rip their head off but most I liked!).
In fact, when you are in that kind of intense experience the bonds form even faster, and I know if I was on an island somewhere you can bet I would form an urban tribe real quick that would be tough to severe for money.
I realize it is a game but I just think the culture of urban tribes has created a loyalty-over-all-else culture and I’m actually glad to see it. It’s kind of refreshing in a way. Especially as a single girl, it is nice to know there are guys out there who put loyalty and friendship over money and success. As a married woman I might want it differently but I don’t know?
Watters quotes a woman named Leah and she pretty much describes my life “I’ve grown a lot through my tribe. I’ve found out more about myself, developed in areas I would not have if I weren’t involved with these people. I now know what I want out of life or at least what I don’t want. I know I will not settle for the wrong man or the wrong job. I have a strong source of support…I guess you could say I have found myself”
Now that I am in my 30s, some friends are gone and this type of close-knit bond is harder to find for daily support. But fortunately I have my roommate and great friends who are there when I need them. They are honestly more important to me than family as far as this type of support goes.
I could be completely wrong and an urban tribe mentality may have nothing to do with Cody or Woo’s choices but it seems probable. I can at least imagine it influencing them.
What do you think of urban tribes? Do you watch Survivor or Big Brother? Did you watch these seasons? What do you think?
In the end, friendship is everything to some of us (and seriously Urban Tribes by Ethan Watters is a great book!).