19 October, 2006

Neo-lib reality show: class war as spectacle

from the Independent:

Up to five million Colombians from the Caribbean coast to the outskirts of the Amazon have been tuning in every night to watch a gruelling contest between three teams: "the privileged", the "middle class" and the "down and outs". . . . loosely modelled on the US programme Survivor. Initially, contestants were treated in the style to which they were accustomed. The rich were assigned luxury air-conditioned lodges with chilled white wine and lobster; the middle class, a featureless beach with enough clothes for three days; while the poor were deposited in a cave with little food and told to fend for themselves. The "down and outs" could win the right to upgrade their quarters while the rich could be demoted and the in-betweens, rise or fall. Participants and viewers vote out individuals.
. . .
"Everyone can identify with one of the social groups and relate to what they go through," said Beatrice Martinez, a Desafio fan. "It's fascinating to see how the poor successfully fought to get better food and shelter while the rich got to experience what it's like to go to bed on an empty stomach."
yea, fascinating . . . (Webster's: [Latin fascinare, to bewitch, to charm; Greek baskainein, to bewitch]

Raul Garcia, continuity director of the reality show, said: "The show offers a rare opportunity to witness different classes forced to compete with each other to survive which is entertaining and illuminating. People know what social class they belong to and everyone wants to see whether different classes can really get on, understand and live with each other."

He added that in more developed countries where social divisions are less pronounced, groups based around gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity would be more relevant.
Bullshit. Class is a huge verbal taboo in the US. It's the great divide society goes to great pains to not acknowledge. Gender, orientation & race are the diversionary conflicts — the old, familiar tactics of divide & conquer used by the corporatocracy — and are most readily bridged within one's class, which in turn reinforces narratives that would have us believe these conflicts are largely matters of the past. Dramatizing its reality isn't going to happen anytime soon on US networks — but they did just try a reality show based on race. A class-based show is possible in a society like Columbia, where there's no denying the gulf between the rich minority & impoverished plurality. The US propaganda apparatus in full swing more or less successfully denies the reality in evidence that surrounds us everyday. A norm not so different from:

Juan Camacho, a wealthy stockbroker from Bogota admitted, "I've never been near people as poor as those I met on the programme."
"The trick of class war is not to let the victims know they're under attack. That's how, little by little, the owners of the planet take away what little we have." Greg Palast


Blogger Nanette said...

I think our national ignoring of the aunt in the attic is so odd... from the very beginnings of this country class has been an issue. Built into the system, so to speak. Yet generation after generation grows up being told not to believe what they see right in front of them.

No wonder we have so many psychotics in the US, lol.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Arcturus said...

something about a perceptual disconnect?

12:03 PM  

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