Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: Survivor

The Blogosphere is Like Orange County, 1969

oc2.jpg

I had been reading Sarcastic Fringehead for a few weeks. We even emailed each other with funny stories, but something was “off” about my visualization of her. There were details that didn’t fit. Finally, I asked her, “Are you a black woman?”

Yes, she was. She is. Was I wrong to ask her that?

One of the pleasures of blogging is that we can be invisible to each other and just focus on each others’ words and thoughts. We judge someone more on a clever line than how one looks or what “group” someone belongs to. Even we do include photos of ourselves, we don’t reveal many of the cultural or regional quirks that might separate us from each other.

While this lack of context can unite us, it can also make the blogosphere bland. I have no idea of the ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation of most of my fellow bloggers. Should it matter? Not really, but sometimes I wonder if my online life is LESS diverse than my real life. I thought of doing a demographic study, just for fun, but I was worried that someone would be upset. Even the hip New York city bloggers seem to live less in the real New York City, than in an all-white Orange County, circa 1969. I hope the blogosphere isn’t turning out to be like my high school cafeteria was, with everyone hanging out by ethnic and racial group.

I was actually excited to learn that Sarcastic Fringehead was black. Can someone please introduce me to a black mommyblogger?! I know it may not be fashionable to say so, but I like differences between people. I though it was funny when Rhea wrote in a comment that she would share my bed, even though she was a lesbian. I had no idea! How cool. Rather than separating us, I feel “closer” to her now, knowing this intimate fact (don’t worry, Rhea — I won’t get too close and ruin your lesbian credentials).

I love accents. I love Sophia’s accent. I love to hear the Southern accent of Laurie from Crazy Aunt Purl when she makes a video. After all, we all can’t speak proper Amercian English like we do in New Yawk.

Although I don’t consider myself a “Jewish blogger,” I haven’t been shy about babbling about Jewish stuff. In fact I do it so often, that Leesa from Montana is now fluent in Yiddish.

I think I’m even changing my mind about this year’s Survivor Maybe the race gimmick is a clever idea. By acknowledging our “differences,” maybe we can better see that at the core, there aren’t MAJOR differences — everyone who plays Survivor is as dumb and selfish as the next guy.

Last Friday, there was a special 20/20 on racial stereotypes. What struck me as the most interesting part of the program wasn’t that racism still exists, but how far we go to make believe there aren’t ANY differences at all.

In my post about colleges, I noticed that a few women are still upset about ex-Harvard Dean Lawrence Summers and his speech about women and science. Although he was quoted as saying “women thinkers were inferior to men thinkers,” he never actually said that. From Wikipedia:

In January 2005, Summers suggested at an economic conference that one reason there are fewer women than men in science and engineering professorships might be innate sex differences in the distribution of intelligence. The suggestion was that variation in intelligence (in particular with regard to science and math ability) is higher in males, resulting in a higher number of highly intelligent males, resulting in more men at the very high levels of “intrinsic aptitude” that scholarly jobs required. An attendee made his remarks public, and a firestorm followed in the national news media and on Harvard’s campus, which incorrectly implied that Summers argued that men are somewhat more intelligent than women on average.

20/20 brought up this issue, as well as the controversial subject of black athleticism. It was amusing to see coaches coming up with complicated reasons for why blacks predominate in sports — none of them having to do with genetics. Is it really racist to suggest that African bodies may be built differently? Or is it wrong to suggest that men might have a stronger instinct for spacial learning? How can anyone live with a woman for one day and say there aren’t fundamental differences?

Of course we are all individuals. I cry at movies more than Sophia, blowing that myth. I just think a total color blind attitude towards life — and the blogosphere — doesn’t really create the diverse society we are hoping for. Why shouldn’t there be differences among groups? Ignoring it doesn’t promote tolerance. If there are no cultural differences between us, than there is really nothing to tolerate. I’m all for making my part of the Blogosphere like Queens, NY rather than Newport Beach, CA.

So, yes, I will share a lesbian’s bed. As long as she doesn’t snore.

Update:  Interesting case study about a website’s diversity.  (via Petrona and Cognitive Daily

 

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: Anonymous Sources

Battle of the Races

survivor2.jpg

For the first portion of the 13th edition of “Survivor,” which premieres Sept. 14, the contestants competing for the $1-million prize while stranded on the Cook Islands in the South Pacific will be divided into four teams — blacks, Asians, Latinos and whites.

It was announced today that General Motors has ended its sponsorship of CBS’s hit series “Survivor.” Some are wondering if this has anything to do with Survivor’s decision this year to divide the contestants by race and ethnicity, rather than the usual cheap gimmicks of gender and age.

Honestly, do these divisions even matter to the show, considering how the producers always seem to “keep around” the young girls in the bikinis for as long as possible, while kicking the old, demographically-wrong broads off as fast as the next promo break?

GM says the new gimmick has nothing to do with their decision to leave the show. Others continue speaking out about the show’s lack of good taste. For instance, a group of New York City officials has criticized the new format, saying it promotes divisiveness. They have asked CBS to reconsider its plans.

“How could anybody be so desperate for ratings?” City Councilman John Liu asked last week.

Show creator Mark Burnett pooh-poohs the criticism.

“By putting people in tribes, they clearly have to get rid of people of their own ethnicity,” Burnett, who also created NBC hit “The Apprentice”, told a group of reporters on Tuesday, Variety reports. “So it’s not racial at all.”

The big question is — will this be a fascinating sociological study or does this mean that Survivor, after 12 seasons on the air, has finally “jumped the shark.”

But excitement for the show runs big on the Vegas strip, as the professional gambling community debates the odds of which ethnic group will win.

“I put my money on the Asians” said Murray “The Greek” Solipikis. “They are smart and wise, like Mr. Miyagi.”

The following are the current odds, according to Las Vegas Reality Show Oddsmaker (LVRSO). (as always, remember to gamble responsibly!

African-Americans

Pros

  • Good in athletics
  • Have “street smarts”
  • Can use “rapping” as a secret code between tribe members
  • Tribal Camp will have the best music
  • Can bring out “race card” if too many tribal members are eliminated

Cons

  • Men cannot swim
  • Wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a “Survivor bandana”
  • Can’t understand why “crazy white folk” ENJOY camping outside
  • “Eat bugs — are you out of your motherf***ing mind?!”

THE ODDS 20-1

Asians

Pros

  • Others will be afraid that they might know “martial arts”
  • Math geeks will be good at solving “puzzle challenge”
  • Can make anything taste good by stir-frying it in a wok
  • Have actually eaten bugs as a delicacy
  • Japanese women thin enough to slide under obstacle courses
  • Asian cultural “group dynamics”

Cons

  • Too polite, let others go first
  • Mediocre at sports
  • Can build a microprocessor, but cannot set up a tent
  • Infighting between Japanese and Koreans
  • Sleepless nights as Japanese men rub against women while reading “Manga” pornographic comic books

THE ODDS 30-1

Latinos

Pros

  • Espanol has the best curses!
  • Women have nice big asses so fat deposits will help them survive longer
  • Men learned effective team management in Latin gangs such as 18th Street, MS13, and Pacatrece
  • When food gets low, have no problem sneaking into other camps as “illegal immigrant” tribesmembers
  • Women can distract men of other tribes by shaking “Shakira-style” during competitions

Cons

  • Have never actually watched this dumb show — Jeff who?
  • Churros not included in “food competition”
  • It is difficult to dance salsa in the dirt
  • No siestas allowed during the game
  • Can actually make MORE than a million dollars by selling vegetables on the freeway

THE ODDS 3-1

Caucasians

Pros

  • Stupid enough to enjoy camping and “proving” oneself by eating live bugs
  • The network wants them to win
  • Were the only competitors invited over to Jeff Probst’s home for dinner
  • Have actually watched all previous 12 seasons of Survivor because that is what “white people” do on Thursday night

Cons

  • Zero street smarts
  • Boring as hell
  • Women anorexic before the game even begins
  • They take the game WAY too seriously

THE ODDS 12-1

Which group are you rooting for?

(note:  thank you, Laurie, the phattest Southern belle knitting blogger in LA, for telling me that I was totally off-base with previously using the Crips and Bloods as Latino gangs. I am SO WHITE!)

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: Dude Thinks Like a Lady

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial