Monday, February 08, 2016

From "Mirror, or a Flash in the Pan" in #specialcharacters



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Today, Ritar watches television; soon there will be no cable, so she must watch and watch and watch, drinking the gin she buys instead of meat and vegetables.

She sees that the reality shows have created a Malthusian generation. You’re eliminated. Fired. Out. Go home.

The reality shows train people in servitude as the 21st century wants it.

Despite humiliating, impossible challenges, despite verbal and physical abuse, no one wants to go home.

Perhaps there is no home to go to.

And despite the horror of going home, as though all contestants were ACAs born into hellholes, no one cares when someone goes home.

Contestants grovel before the judges and snipe at other contestants.

Fired. Out. Go home.

Snipe willingly, enthusiastically and eagerly.

Go home.

“At least it wasn’t me.” They not only think, they say.

Do it to Julia.

Competitors detract from one another, the performances of other competitors. Their characters. Their looks. Meanly.

It is, Ritar sees, class war: The judges are from the upper classes; contestants are usually poor. The shows deign to allow one working class hopeful entrée to their world, at least temporarily. Fame, if short-lived. The promise, if not the substance, of wealth. Temporarily, for a lottery time.

Do it to Julia.

As in the Project Runway episode with Team Luxe. In which the team, losing, made a pact not to “throw any of their members under the bus,” not to scapegoat anyone to go home. Solidarity, temporarily. And the persistent attempts, ultimately successful, of the judges to make them––the team, not the judges––choose someone to be sent home.
“Someone’s goin’ down,” snarled Michael Kors, later characterizing the group’s attempts at loyalty and cooperation as stupid, explaining “You have to be more self-sufficient.”

Betrayal and treachery, now termed selfsufficiency.

“Who is the weakest?”

“We don’t want to…”

“WHO is the weakest?”

“We…”

“WHO…”

“…Michael…”

“Michael…”

“Michael.”

“Michael!”

 MICHAEL!!!!!!!!!”

Do it to Julia.

And the winner of Season 7 tells the world that he is inspired by Russian and German military fashion, walking with his lead model, who is wrapped in a swastika.

Do it to Julia.

And the lexicon of all these shows, television staples in a time of unemployment, is:
STEP IT UP!

Step it up.

Work harder (for less money.)
.
Because you are inadequate.

Because your performance (painting, cooking, comedy routine, dance, enterprise, design, sewing, attitude) was not good enough. Was lousy, in fact. Should never have seen the light of day. Sucked.

Ditto: your face, pores, hair, legs, teeth, butt, breath, facial expression, feet.

Sucked.

Your too-happy, too-sensitive, too-creative, too-too-too-too self.

Sucked. Sucks.

And it wasn’t because we asked too much. Gave humiliating tasks. Judged unfairly.

IT WAS BECAUSE YOU WERE NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

DIDN’T MEASURE UP.

SUCKED.

Ciao. Auf wiedersehn. Toodles.

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