Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

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Big Brother

I really don't like Big Brother. It stems, I suppose, from the first season, when I watched an episode with C, and we spent half an hour watching the contestants paint a room. I was literally watching paint dry. After that, you couldn't convince me of its worth.

Some of my friends like it: it's the combination of cultural train wreck, shallowness, and voyeurism, or at least that's how it sounds when it's explained to me. I suppose I can see the attraction, but it's just not wild enough for me. It just doesn't fuck with them enough. See, every time Big Brother starts up, I think, that given the real world deprivation of the house, they could, when they drop new people in there, drop them in with the specific goal to tell everyone that the Prime Minister has died. Just ordinarily. A blood clot in his brain. Prime Ministers are not young men (and one day in Australia, women) and so the thought that one--say John Howard--might just die one night, quietly, without any dramatic sense of place within the grand narrative of life, is a possibility. Inside the house, with no way to be sure, the contestants will have to take it as truth, and react the way that they would normally. But the real trick is in what follows. See, a week or so after that, you could hire military jets and fly the planes two or three times a day over the Big Brother house and employ explosive experts to begin setting off explosions in the distance. Just a day. Maybe a night. Let the suggestion of a violent conflict exist, then take it away. Then, you explain it to the contestants, and send them phony newspapers, and news clips, and you build up, over how many weeks the show goes for, this belief that the world outside has fallen into a violent, civil war which culminates, in the final days, of the house going silent. No announcements. No lights. Nothing. Just an eerie, eerie silence, to see which of the final contestants will break and leave the house. Perhaps if you were incredibly lucky, the contestants would start drawing straws in a suicide pact.

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