the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Battle of the Races


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!



  • 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


  • 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?!”




  • 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”


  • 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




  • 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


  • 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




  • 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


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


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


  1. Charming, but single

    I was amazed to hear that this show was still on the air …

  2. AWE

    Truthfully, I have never watched it.

  3. kapgar

    I’m of the opinion that Survivor jumped the shark with the All Stars round. Well, immediately after it, that is. I loved All Stars and was so happy to see so many of them back that I could not tune in to any new season since then and deal with new people entirely. If there is no Rupert, it’s just not worth it.

    I’m an Amazing Race guy now.

  4. Sarah

    You never fail to get me to laugh out loud when I read your posts. Thank you.

    (I don’t laugh when they are serious, though, I swear. Really).

  5. Alexandra

    Is that really true that the whiteys were the only ones invited over to his house? I really could care less what Survivor does but I’m sure your tried and true racists will find a way to exploit the show in some unique, silly new way.

  6. Jessica

    I am proud to say that I have never (NEVER, I repeat) followed a single season of this show. I’ve been kept appraised of previous winners and/or scandals via the media but the show has not claimed any of my time.

  7. fringes

    My initial reaction when I read about this last week was horror. My second reaction was that I may actually watch out of morbid curiosity. Then I realized that’s the whole manipulative point: to snare new viewers with this provocative probability of racial tension and chances of explosive whatnots.

    As much as I’d like to see set ablaze a 1989 Cutlass Ciera up on coconut blocks while the fleeing causasian team builds a gated community out of palm fronds, I’ll pass.

  8. Heather B.

    I’ve never watched an episode of Survivor before. Though based on your calculations, I’m a black lifeguard so some of the tribes may exceed your expectations.

  9. Lou P.

    GM made plans to drop the sponsorship months ago — because of the way the show is shot and product placement is handled, this wouldn’t be a sudden decision for this coming season. I found it curious that the media (and even Matt Drudge) tried to make it sound like there was some sort of a connection between the two things.

    As for the odds, I’ll put $100 down if anyone wants to give me the 30-1 odds for the Asians.

  10. Alison

    I’ve never watched Survivor either…

  11. Tara

    I’m amazed that people can still think of new ways to stir up drama for these shows. I’m sure The Survivor PR (not Puerto Ricans) people themselves were the ones spreading the rumor that GM pulled out because of race issues. It just might work to get more people interested in the show.

  12. Neil

    Heather, if you are a lifeguard, does that mean you have one of those Baywatch-type swimsuits? I don’t care if you are black or white. Those are hot!

  13. Neil

    Holy crap — I just saw that Las Vegas gamblers ARE making odds on the show!   (via laist)

  14. laurie

    I love Survivor! I Tivo it. I like to watch people get dirty and eat bugs and say stupid stuff and go schizo while I drink wine and feel awesome about my lack of interest in camping.

    Plus, Jeff Probst is hot.

  15. Viscountess of Funk

    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. I watched only the first Survivor, I’m proud to say, and I kind of got the jist of the show. However, I might have to tune into THIS season just to watch the ridiculous premise unfold.

  16. laurie

    Apparently I am your one lowbrow reader. Ah well. They don’t call me CrackerAss Cracker for nothing!

  17. Caitlinator

    FWIW, “Survivor’s” only been on for I think six years. 12 cycles, two cycles per year. And ad execs will do anything for money.

  18. Neil

    Laurie, I don’t get it either. They come and read this sophomoric blog, but they are too high and mighty to watch “Survivor.” I think they are all lying.

  19. Jody

    Laurie, you’re not the only Survivor viewer. I like the Amazing Race too! I even forced my family to watch it after some surgery I had and was delirious from the morphine. See my post

    I’m looking for to the new season but I think it’s going against Grey’s Anatomy so I will probably tape Survivor.

  20. rach

    Am intrigued and will certainly be watching, but then I am from the country that puts someone with teretts syndrome in the Big Brother house just for a laugh,

  21. Stefanie

    My money’s on the chinks! They’re crafty little fuckers.

  22. Jack

    I am done with this show.

  23. fringes

    Be nice, Neil. It has nothing to do with the height of one’s brow. But with 235 channels, a few shows can’t make the short list. Survivor just happens to be one of mine.

    Why did I feel the need to defend myself when I know you were only kidding? Dang. See, this is how race riots start.

  24. momentary academic

    Oh CBS, why?

    Good call on all of this, Neil.

  25. Scarlet

    Haha, I love stereotypes.

  26. Rebecca

    This show is stupid anyway. They should just stick to MTV’s time-honored formula of combining equal parts hot people and booze, with the occasional obstacle course and/or race debate thrown in. Now that’s good television.

  27. ExpatJane

    I watch Survivor, and I’m abroad in Korea too. I bust out the unhealthy food stuffs, beverages and talk back to the screen when someone does something funny, stupid, embarrassing, gross or otherwise disturbing too. I’m sure my neighbors get a kick of the American who lives next door.

    I don’t watch each season religiously. If I don’t catch the start of a season, I’ll skip it. But this one I’m going to MAKE SURE I watch from the beginning.

    As a African-American woman, I’m really hoping nothing embarrassing happens in the black camp. We have enough negative energy coming our way. I’ll be attending church and praying quite a bit for no humiliation.

    However, we black women have ample padding too (sometimes way too much)! I’m shocked that wasn’t noted. So both the Latino camp and the black camp has that edge 😉

    Plus, shouldn’t we get credit for being able to talk shit like nobody’s business?

    Maybe they’ll have an ass shaking competition! That would be a tight contest between the Latinos and African-Americans.

  28. The Cynical Girl

    Next Survivor will host decendents from the 12 Tribes.

  29. V-Grrrl

    I wonder if Condi Rice watches Survivor? Dubya? Bill?

    Next season why don’t they divide by Jews, Muslims, Christians, and Buddhists and see what happens? They could torture each other by quoting extensively from their respective holy books until people beg to get off the island.

    Neil, are bugs kosher?

  30. Alissa

    I wonder if there will be interracial canoodling (yes, I just wrote that) – that would up the ratings!

  31. Jules

    “So it’s not racial at all.”

  32. Elisabeth

    13th edition? Is that a lucky number, or one that will curse the show for good? I watched only the first and second ones, I think. That was enough.

    Great post! I don’t gamble, so I won’t pick a winner (but I think the caucasians are going to get their ass kicked.)

  33. Jessica

    “They come and read this sophomoric blog, but they are too high and mighty to watch “Survivor.” I think they are all lying.” – I’m not lying…it’s just that Citizen of the Month is my one guilty pleasure.

  34. Karl

    I don’t see what the big deal is with this season. So they’re dividing people into races. It’s a game and they’re still going to eat each other alive at the end. Won’t matter what color they are. That’s human nature when $1,000,000 is on the line.

  35. kristen

    I laughed so hard I snorted. Personally it doesn’t bother me, the way they’ve divided the teams……it happens in everyday life, this just makes people feel uncomfortable because it’s called out now. As a Caucasian, I’m voting for another team because I think your stereo-typing is spot on. Of course to actually vote, I’d have to watch the show but I’ve got roller derby practice on Thursday nights.

  36. Rachel

    I have not watched it since after the first one. I think it jumped the shark long ago

    That said – I think this is a little TOO MUCH.

    Like who had this idea? and my only question for them would be WHY.

    If it is ratings and viewers maybe they will get it.

    And my fellow white man will probably suck LOL

  37. CrankMama

    I don’t watch tv, only porn.. Seriously, though, I long for the day when “Survivor” goes off the air

  38. Melissa

    I cannot WAIT to see this fucking train wreck. I love these shows because they show how your average person will get all back stabby and self righteous over nothing at all. Oh, and someone sent me a naked picture of Jeff Probst… good god almighty!

  39. laurie

    Melissa, I would not turn down a nekkid picture of Probst. Purely out of journalistic curiosity of course. Ahem.

  40. Dawn

    LOL! Our tribal camp WILL have the best music. Very funny! 🙂

  41. deannie

    I laughed and laughed. I don’t have to watch that show, your telling of it is going to be SOOOO much better!!!

    Seriousy though, city officials complaining about this show only draws more attention to it, doesn’t it? So their actions just had the opposite affect??? NYC, think twice this November…

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