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.