Watch Aaron in the film Holy Wars

Friday, March 23, 2007

I am Anthony

I feel that it is now time to reveal another of my deepest, darkest secrets. Besides watching the Today Show every morning and American Idol every week, my wife and are dedicated Survivor fans. I started watching the show during the first season and have been hooked ever since. I justify this by saying that for me, the show is a fascinating sociological experiment. The truth is that I know I am just one of millions of Americans that, instead of getting out and socializing with my neighbors (like people used to do in the "good ole days"), I prefer to sit in front of the tube to enjoy mindless entertainment.

If you did not catch Survivor this last Wednesday (recorded on my DVR, no, I did not skip church for this...I am not that sacrilegious) let me tell you that I have never been more upset about a "reality" T.V. episode than I was after I watched this last episode.

The episode revolved around two characters, Anthony and Rocky. Anthony is a skinny and sensitive African American male who lacks social skills. Rocky is one of those macho men who enjoys cutting people down and making people feel inferior. For several episodes, Rocky had been shown teasing and taunting Anthony and making him feel whimpy and inferior. Anthony, although he could have retaliated, for the most part, held his peace.

During this last episode, things really came to a head when a tribal trade-off occurred and poor Anthony found himself in a tribe with all men. While the men were off fishing, they asked Anthony to stay back and boil water. Knowing that Anthony was the weakest tribe member, and thus unfit to help in the immunity and reward challenges, the rest of the men knew that Anthony needed to be voted off the island, but were not particularly mean or cruel to him.

During the tribal council the real showdown began. As Rocky went on a rant calling Anthony all kinds of names (like girly, effeminate), he asked Anthony, "Why don't you stand up for yourself?" Anthony's reply was that he didn't want to become a jerk like him. By this time, even the other guys were hanging their heads in shame at Rocky's treatment of Anthony. It probably didn't occur to Rocky at the time that while he was spewing hatred and insults at the supposedly inferior Anthony, he was baring his wicked soul to the exposure of millions of viewers.

In the end, Anthony was voted out and Rocky stayed. Typical. Yes, we really do live in a world of the survival of the fittest. This being said, it is not the Anthonys of the world that I fear for. I fear for the Rockies. I fear for those who feel they have to trample on others to make themselves look strong and powerful. History shows that men such as this will always come to a tragic end if they do not amend their ways.

Perhaps the reason why I was so upset watching the episode is because I remember being the last one picked for sports. I remember being told that I was whimpy and girly. I was the brainy kid compared to Screech on Saved by the Bell. Although I don't recall coming across people as belligerent as Rocky, I know that there are millions of young people across this nation who have. Rocky was constrained by a camera. Most of the Rockies in this world are not. They use their fist to intimidate.

Anthony left the show with tears in his eyes, but his head held high. He defeated Rocky without becoming like him. Although there are probably many viewers who despised Anthony for his failure to stand up for himself. Let me say to those who feel this way that I am proud to say to the world that I am Anthony.

5 comments:

Pete said...

Aaron,
While I understand what you are saying and don't wish to dispute it, let me speak for the other side of the coin briefly.
I was certainly no stud, but I was usually one of the first to be picked. In the defense of people who are doing the picking, it's not a personal thing most of the time. If you weren't good at sports than it is logical ( sorry ) for you to be picked last. It may seem cruel, but it is justified.
It's strange to me that one of the most common complaints is the whole, "I was picked on" or "picked last" and yet the same crowd has made American Idol the biggest show in America. Let me remind you that two of the biggest factors in this show are to see who didn't get picked and how Simon picks on people.
People justify that, but when a kid is picked last it's just wrong and it's unfair. Sorry but athletes like to pick other athletes and singers like to pick other singers.
I know that's not the point of your post. I do think that it is more honorable to keep from stooping to a lower level. I just wanted to post my thoughts on the above because I feel that "jocks" have wrongly been villainized in our society. They have their bad apples just like every other group, but they also have just as many decent people.
Pete

marhaban said...

Aaron,

(I didn't see the program, so this is based entirely on your post.)

I think we should be careful not to enable abusers by being afraid. Most people that I have encountered who are constantly putting others down, have some major self-esteem issues. Many times they will stop if others calmly and kindly point out that their behavior is not acceptable and really annoying.

I think you can stand up for yourself without stooping to a lower level. What would have made me angry, is all the other people who just stood back and let the belittling and namecalling take place.

Aaron D. Taylor said...

Pete,

Your comment on American Idol is very well taken. My post was about verbal abuse, not about putting down athletes. I fully agree that many, if not most, athletes are honorable. I mentioned the part about being the last one picked not to shame athletes, but to show how I could identify with Anthony. It's the name-calling that particularly disturbed me, and I can relate to that as well. Of course I know that it is not a sin to not pick someone because of their lack of athletic skills. I don't mean to be harsh here. I just think you need to read my posts more carefully before disputing me on things I am not saying. Of course...I could be reading too much into what you are saying. You did say that you realized that was not the point of my post.

Marhaban. I agree with you that there is a way to stick up for yourself without stooping to the level of the antagonist. I think the other guys should have stood up for Anthony rather than just let him sit there and take the insults. This is a valid lesson for all of us. There is a time to speak up on behalf of others.

toby said...

at what point does the responsibility to stand up for yourself get transferred to those around you?

and does this post have anything at all to do with Jesus' words regarding turning the other cheek?

Aaron D. Taylor said...

I think it is always an individual's responsibility to stand up for those who are being being bullied.

I do think this has something to do with Jesus's words, "Turn the other cheek." I'm not sure what Jesus would say about the idea of "standing up for yourself." The New Testament definitely teaches the idea of not returning evil for evil.

Can anyone think of any Scripture regarding the idea of standing up for yourself? Perhaps an example of someone who did and did it right? I'd like to hear some thoughts on this matter.