Double serving of media critique on the proliferation of "poverty porn" TV (in the UK) over at Sociological Imagination with "A Summer of Television Poverty Porn" and "Pride, Propaganda and Poverty Porn: On Benefits and Proud." Programs under discussion include We Pay All Your Benefits, How to Get a Council House, Benefits Britain 1949, On Benefits and Proud. [more inside]
Does the long-running reality TV program Survivor have a sexism problem? A few weeks back (Mefi's Own) Linda Holmes published "The Tribe Has Broken: How Sexism is Silently Killing 'Survivor'" in response to a controversial episode where a male contestant was soundly ridiculed by host Jeff Probst for following a suggestion made by his wife ("Does she tell you what to do all the time?"), while a female contestant who followed a much more direct command from her husband did not receive similar teasing. Over the weekend, Holmes joined former Survivor contestants Rob Cesternino and Stephen Fishbach on Cesternino's Robhasapodcast show for a lively discussion of this topic (runs just over an hour).
Kitchen Nightmares shows Gordon Ramsay helping restaurants make miraculous turnarounds. Ramsay helped relaunch Austin, Texas's El Greco, but the restaurant still ended up closing. Some people are saying that Ramsay's interference may have been the final nail in the coffin for the restaurant.
After appearing last month on the ABC reality television show 'Wife Swap,' "San Francisco resident Stephen Fowler was forced to resign from the boards of two nonprofits, allegedly received e-mailed death threats and stood on the sidelines as his wife, Renee Stephens, issued a public statement condemning his behavior and asking him to get 'professional help.'...Thanks to online TV and easy access to private information, Fowler's 15 minutes of fame have snowballed beyond his control." "What has generated such wrath is Fowler's condescending treatment of Gayla Long, a mother of four from rural Missouri....In wince-producing remarks, Fowler, who is British, wrote off middle America with such pronouncements as 'Your two languages seem to be bad English and redneck.'" Video highlights - 1, 2. [more inside]
The Near-Fame Experience: A fascinating interview with former contestants of Bravo reality television shows Project Runway and Top Chef, presenting the fickle nature of fame and how it can come at significant professional and personal cost, if at all.
Matt Taibbi checks in with 'Excerpt from The Rise and Fall of the United States (Putnam, 2037), William Shirer IV. From the chapter entitled, "The Anschluss Begins."' Typically clever stuff, especially the Franzen bit.
Survivor Sucks A nice little site which rips every reality show apart quite nicely, but my favorite is the "Off Topic" section where threads on any subject offer up some of the best trolling/flamebait and some very funny comments. More inside...