Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Survivor of the Fittest

You know, I don’t watch so-called “reality” shows. Never have. Frankly, I just have too much “reality” in my life already. Give me some good ole Star Trek or Mel Brooks anytime. But, I couldn’t help noticing that the reality series, “Survivor” is kicking off its new season with just a little too much reality.

This season will feature the usual four teams competing against each other for a piece of day old bread crust or some such. The hook, however, is that the four teams will be based on race. That’s right. We’ll have an “African-American” team, an “Asian-American” team, a “Hispanic” team, and of course, a “White” team (if they want to use the idea of race, then they should either be using the proper names of each race, or if they want to use skin color for the teams, then use it everybody—black, yellow, brown, and white. Bear in mind too that “Hispanic” refers more to a culture and language. Hispanics can be racially classified as Caucasians or Negroid, depending on their origin. African-American and Asian-American describes whether you or your ancestors came from Africa or Asia and isn’t necessarily race specific). So, despite the latter referring to skin color and the first three to origin, the idea of races competing for prices is, well, really dumb.

Do we really need a TV show, however mediocre it’s content, promoting racial conflict to boost some sponsor’s profits? What kind of message does this send to the viewing audience, especially to the youth who are already under pressure from race oriented gangs? That, somehow, it’s ok that races should be competing rather finding ways of working together is a good thing? There’s also the real possibility this season’s episodes will do nothing more than encourage racial tensions, and, perhaps inadvertently, reinforce racial stereotypes. And this is what they call “entertainment” at the networks these days?

If a ratings booster is what they’re really after, how about four teams comprised of one individual from each race competing to build a house for Habitat for Humanity the fastest in some third world country? Personally, I’d like to show CBS how to play survivor by switching channels. Better yet, if they really want to play “survivor”, and boost ratings at the same time, then how about bringing the top four winners from the series and pit them again four men teams from the Navy's SEALs, the Army’s Green Berets, and the Marine's Recon. I bet each Special Forces team would be dining on “Survivor alum alfresco” before the first week was out. Now, that’s a Survivor season I’d like to see! Hooyah, go Navy!

A Labor of Love

Well, we’re coming up to the last three day weekend of the summer, Labor Day. It’s a day set aside for working stiffs like you and me. It s a day when many of us go camping, fishing, boating, picnicking, or just kick back and enjoy time off from work (oh yeah, let’s not forget the all the sales). But while we’re enjoying our extended weekend, let’s not forget the sacrifices unions have made on our behalf. Thanks to organized labor, most of us have health benefits, tuition reimbursement, regular breaks and time off for lunch. Let’s also not forget about child labor laws, minimum wage, overtime and holiday pay, anti-discrimination and work safety laws, not to mention OSHA, Wage and Hour, Labor Relation Boards, Federal Mediation Agency, the EPA, and “whistle blower” laws that have come about because of unions. Heck, if it wasn’t for unions, we wouldn’t have 40 hour work weeks, vacation time or retirement! So, while you and yours spend some quality time together, take a moment and thank the working men and women of Labor for all they’ve done for us.

A Question of Degree

In my last issue, I proudly announced that Campaigns and Elections has included this blog on their national blog site. Well, that prompted some several comments and emails from folks, both pro and con, about this blog’s listing under the “Liberal” category. So, I’d like to do a little informal poll. Take a look at some of our past postings. You may even want to check out the Archives if you have time. Then, send me your opinion as to whether this blog is more accurately described as:

1. Far Right
2. Conservative
3. Center Right/Progressive
4. Centrist/Moderate/ Progressive
5. Center Left/Progressive
6. Liberal
7. Far Left

I’ll post the results in my next issue, and if there’s a change from the current listing, I’ll ask the people at C&E to make the change. After all, the readers have spoken! Feel free to vote direct using my email rather than the comment section.

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