WWJQD, or What Would John Quiñones Do?
May 28, 2011 6:26 PM   Subscribe

At Norma's cafe in Farmers Branch Texas the results of the Primetime show "What would you do?" brings tears to the eyes of its actors

"Hello Friends,
I know it doesn’t mean much but I love you all, you have a beautiful family and I pray that one person's judgmental intolerance does not in any way put a damper on your hearts or minds. In the words of MLK Jr. 'In the end we [will] remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends'."

What Would You Do also addresses:

Scenes from the
experiment done in New York
Father rebukes gay son
Gay Father Comes Out To Son
Gay Bullying
Gay Bashing
Would You Help This Gay Couple
Gay Soldiers Being Harassed
Lesbian Soldiers Being Harassed

Man Lures Drunken Girl
Teen Abusing His Girlfriend
Teen Abusing His Girlfriend part 2
Boyfriend beats girlfriend.
Unwanted Flirtation
Help a Battered Woman?
Help a Battered Woman? part 2
Park Goers Reaction To Interracial Couples Fighting
FLDS 'Child Bride's' Tearful Plea
Flirtatious Waitress Sets Woman Off
Flirtatious Waitress Sets Woman Off part 2
Flirtatious Waitress Sets Woman Off part 3
Reaction To Women Abusing Men In Public
Drink Drugging: Part 1
Drink Drugging: Part 2
Cougar Tutor
A Young Girl in Danger
Man Demands Girlfriend Wear Less

Muslims In America
Latinos in America
Latinos in America part 2
Racism In An Upscale Store
Shopping While Black 2
Racist Realtor
Latino Hate Crime
Car Vandalism
Car Vandalism part 2
Anti-Semitism on the Rise?
Little-Person Harassment
Interracial Adoption
Interracial Adoption part 2
Interracial Couple Harassed
Job Discrimination for the Hearing Impaired
Investigates Ginger Abuse
Grocery Clerk With Special Needs
The Obscene and the Obese
Overweight Family Humiliated At Grocery Store

What would you do with a child shoplifter
Pretty Girl Stealing Bike
Man Stealing Bike In Park
Clerk Cheats Customer Out of Winning Lotto Ticket
Stealing from the blind
Will Kindness of Strangers Stop Theft?
Stealing from an open house
Would You Stop a Dog Thief?

Helping a Stranger Buy Medicine
Single Mother Can't Afford Groceries
Begging for Gas Part 1
Begging for Gas Part 2

Drunk Driver
Drunk Doctors Going To Perform Surgery
Drunken Pilots
Public Hazing Part 1
Public Hazing Part 2

Out-of-Control Soccer Coach
Harassment of the homeless
The 5 Millionth Customer
Cafe Manager Berates Breastfeeding Mom
Man Berates Waitress
Cell Phone Etiquette
Aiding the Fallen
A Momzilla Gone Mad
Would you hawk ProPelage Power? part 1
ProPelage Power part 2
Children on a Leash
Driving While Disoriented
Birth Control No Way
Discrimination Against HIV Positive
Unruly Kids Annoy Diners
Berating the Nanny
Berating the Nanny Part 2
Baby Locked in a Hot Car
Dog Left Inside a Hot Car

John Quiñones and his show must be doing something right with his program, Sheriff Joe Arpaio hates them
posted by Blasdelb (59 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
This brought tears to my eyes as well.
posted by pugh at 6:46 PM on May 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

mine too
posted by Blasdelb at 6:47 PM on May 28, 2011

for those of us on work computers, maybe a summary? I'm intrigued.
posted by kittensofthenight at 6:49 PM on May 28, 2011

The video above the fold is summarized here
posted by Blasdelb at 6:54 PM on May 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

kittensofthenight: it's a manipulative television show where actors put unsuspecting real people into situations in order to test their moral compass, or something.

I can't stand it, personally, but it seems to be a popular form of television which people find emotionally affective.
posted by hippybear at 6:57 PM on May 28, 2011 [17 favorites]

posted by StickyCarpet at 6:58 PM on May 28, 2011

This stuff makes me squirmy. Can't watch it.
posted by schoolgirl report at 6:59 PM on May 28, 2011

What I would do is put the topic above the break.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:00 PM on May 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

For what it's worth, the New York scene was filmed in Sheepshead Bay, which is not exactly one of the most liberal areas of the city.

That said, I do wish more people had spoken out, notwithstanding the local mores regarding privacy in public.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 7:05 PM on May 28, 2011

What does that 'RomanticViolence' tag refer to? The 'Battered Woman' clips? I hope not.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:15 PM on May 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

I think I would be pissed off if I had worked up the guts to stand up to someone publicly like that and it turned out to be a gag for a TV show.
posted by eugenen at 7:20 PM on May 28, 2011 [16 favorites]

This is a great post though.
posted by eugenen at 7:24 PM on May 28, 2011

"What does that 'RomanticViolence' tag refer to? The 'Battered Woman' clips? I hope not."

I'm sorry, I was unaware that apparently Romantic Violence is a white power band with interesting views about women, I have replaced the tag with what I am pretty sure is the preferred term. Whodathunkit.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:28 PM on May 28, 2011

A nice clip and all, but I think it's a little strange for the producers to teach us a lesson about judging others when that is exactly what we are invited to do to all of the non-willing participants in this program. We don't know why certain people don't stand up and say things, but in the editorial context of the shew, we "know" why.
posted by Think_Long at 7:38 PM on May 28, 2011 [3 favorites]

err, show.
posted by Think_Long at 7:38 PM on May 28, 2011

Good God! I had no idea about the band. I just noticed the tag and was trying to figure out where the romance was in any of these clips. But I think the replacement tag is better, too.

And of course I had to go find out about the band. I'm so glad Firefox has a 'forget the last 10 minutes worth of Internet history' feature.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:39 PM on May 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

It may or may not be a good thing that this show exists. I'm not saying it isn't.... but I can't watch it. Even fake, seeing a mother berate her gay kid or the like.. yeah, no.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 7:39 PM on May 28, 2011

I love all the guys helping the blonde steal the bike. We are such suckers.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:40 PM on May 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

There's a real ethical problem involved in putting these unsuspecting witnesses through an emotional wringer this way. They didn't ask to participate, but they're subjected to awful public spectacles. Their reasons for standing back and not getting involved may be their own and may be valid, but even if they do get involved it's a tough, unpleasant moment. And really — it's for entertainment.
posted by argybarg at 7:41 PM on May 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

There's a real ethical problem involved in putting these unsuspecting witnesses through an emotional wringer this way. They didn't ask to participate, but they're subjected to awful public spectacles. Their reasons for standing back and not getting involved may be their own and may be valid, but even if they do get involved it's a tough, unpleasant moment. And really — it's for entertainment.

This is what I initially thought, but you know what - the outcome of these videos are really inspiring. They really make me - and maybe a couple thousand people that watched them - want to stand up and speak out when something wrong is happening. I think it makes the "prank" aspect of it worth it. I hope more people see these.
posted by windbox at 7:48 PM on May 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

Nice--but then why is it still legal to refuse service to people in Texas on the basis of sexual orientation?
posted by availablelight at 7:49 PM on May 28, 2011 [3 favorites]

Well, see, the thing that I really don't like about it is that it's preposterous to begin with, and ignorant of how these things play out in real life.

When I've been the focus of gay hate, it's never been anything as overt as anything shown on the show. It's always the staring, the pointing and whispering, the quiet murmur from whomever is "in charge" that perhaps I would be More Comfortable Someplace Else.

Never once in my 20+ years of being an out queer in pretty much conservative places have I EVER seen the kind of antics which are depicted in this show.

The reason people react at all to the situations in this show is that the whole thing is just so over the top, even people who would engage in status quo enforcement of the usual type feel like they have to step forward and intervene. It's like, if you are in an elevator of a bunch of people and one of you farts, everyone will pretend not to notice it. But if someone pulls down their pants and shits on the floor, you bet someone will say something. This show sets up situations where the shit is landing on the floor, and so of course people speak up.

If they were to put together a hidden camera show which showed what it is REALLY like to be a gay couple out for dinner in a restaurant where the clientele is reacting badly or where the wait staff doesn't want you there, it would take a LOT of cameras focussing on people leaning in close to each other and whispering and laughing behind their hands, and pointing, and making little silent jokes toward each other -- a limp wrist gesture here and there, etc.

It would involve showing the wait staff not approaching the table for 15 or 20 minutes after the couple is seated, and then bringing water but forgetting to bring menus and making you wait another 15 minutes before they even come around to see whether you've ordered or not yet, and then once they drop off the menus making you wait even more. Or (and this has actually happened to me) it would involve the busboy coming by and taking the water glasses and silverware off the table while you wait for your food, like you've already finished eating and he's clearing up to get you to move out to turn the table over.

It would involve having the restaurant hostess seat 3 or 4 other tables before you even though you obviously showed up before those people did, and then offering a fake apology and saying that they're just so busy, maybe you won't get a table at all and by the way there's a burger joint down the road.

Real anti-gay actions are covert and insidious, almost NEVER involve the kind of public confrontation shown in this show, and always leave the object of the hate feeling confused and paranoid about what they've just been through.

For the record, one of my best friends has a good friend from College who eats at that restaurant in Farmers Branch all the time, and thus he's been there for meals more than a few times. We've discussed this clip. The people there are more "good ol' boy" then "redneck", if you know what I mean (it's a good thing), but if my friend were to go there with his partner of almost 20 years and they were to sit for a meal there as a couple... you'd bet there'd be a good demonstration of the REAL kind of anti-gay social control going on. The only reason the people react is because they can't believe what they're hearing. Not because they're full of love for teh gay.
posted by hippybear at 7:55 PM on May 28, 2011 [49 favorites]

Does that necessarily mean it's a bad show though? Maybe it will encourage people to be more aware of the entire spectrum of these abuses, and more willing to speak up when they do see them. And maybe not. But I could see someone seeing this show being glad someone spoke up, and be ever so slightly more likely to say something themselves if they overhear that quiet murmured "maybe you'd be more comfortable someplace else" said to the couple a table over.

As for "The only reason the people react is because they can't believe what they're hearing. Not because they're full of love for teh gay.", isn't that how it starts? First it's okay to hate openly, then okay to hate quietly, then not okay. We're in different places in that transition around the country, and the people pushing their peers down that line are still doing the right thing, even when not all the way along it themselves
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 8:12 PM on May 28, 2011 [3 favorites]

The first guy that escorted the waitress for a timeout? Kinda creepy in its own way.
posted by ian1977 at 8:13 PM on May 28, 2011

I live really close to the Norma's on Davis in Oak Cliff. Their food is outstanding, easily some of the best homestyle stuff I've ever had.

That's all. I haven't watched the videos.
posted by item at 8:14 PM on May 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Well, hippybear, these videos make me want to slide into a booth with whispering, starring shitheads and say "so just out of curiousity what the fuck are you guys laughing about?" I've confronted strangers giggling amongst themselves at the expense of someone else and I'd do it again. I hope other people would too. True, most forms of prejudice are far more covert than a waitress outright yelling at gay people, but I think the existence of these videos do more good than bad. They get you heated and riled up and maybe get people to consider them when they actually see something wrong happening.
posted by windbox at 8:15 PM on May 28, 2011 [4 favorites]

But yeah it is certainly cool to think these sorts of projects are lame/stupid/not worthy, so we could also go with that.
posted by windbox at 8:16 PM on May 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

No, actually, what makes it a bad show is the heavy-handed narrator who spells out every single moment for the viewer.

It's also why I hate the American version of Kitchen Nightmares, where the Narrator has to tell you exactly what you see happening on the screen while you watch it, as opposed to the UK version of Kitchen Nightmares, where there's a base assumption that the audience has a brain and can watch television without requiring audio captioning for every move made on camera.
posted by hippybear at 8:19 PM on May 28, 2011 [3 favorites]

I have a hard time believing they got releases for all of the people featured in the clips. What is it about cameras that says, "Oh, whee, I am going to be a complete intrusive ass"?
posted by adipocere at 8:19 PM on May 28, 2011

psst can you believe americans actually watch this tripe! *stifled guffaw* *sideways glance*
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 8:32 PM on May 28, 2011 [5 favorites]

It is just a matter of time before someone goes apeshit on that show or afterwards a la Jenny Jones.
posted by ian1977 at 8:33 PM on May 28, 2011

Hippybear, your experience is not necessarily universal. :/ I have absolutely had worse happen to me than is shown in the restaurant clips. I've never had the shit kicked out of me, but I've definitely had to leave places to keep that from happening. I've been threatened, had "disgusting faggot pig" screamed at me, I've been lectured about depravity, moral disease, etc.

I mean I'm not trying to sound like I'm punched by the iron fist of oppression on a daily basis or anything, but shit like this happens, even if you've mostly avoided it.

Maybe you don't like the show's format, that's fine. That's also different from "this never happens," because it does. Shit, especially when kids are involved, regular old straight women have strangers call them bad moms all the fucking time, much less gay parents.

I haven't watched all the videos in the FPP, or even more than 1, because holy shit that's a lot of videos. But I don't think you can just dismiss the entire project out of hand just because you don't like the sort of didactic narrator.
posted by kavasa at 8:41 PM on May 28, 2011 [6 favorites]

kavasa: well, I stand corrected then. I've never had real overt hate thrown at me in a restaurant, but if you have, I feel terrible for your experience and give you a hug for being around to share what happened.

(I have had bottles thrown at me from moving vehicles and people chase me through parking lots with baseball bats... but I don't really see this particular hidden camera show doing anything ever to depict that kind of gay bashing.)
posted by hippybear at 8:47 PM on May 28, 2011

From what I can tell, most people who engage in anti-gay behavior, of both subtle and non-subtle varieties, got started on it by way of peer pressure. Their peers all seemed to think it was the thing to do, so they went along without thinking of it.

If these shows can convince a few of them that their peers no longer think any degree of gay-bashing or discrimination is acceptable, maybe they'll change their behavior. The vehement homophobes will remain vehement to the end, of course, but they'd be much less effective if you remove the support of their more easily-swayed cohorts.

And whether it works like that or not, I just can't object to portraying folks who stand up for the rights of gay people as heroes.
posted by MrVisible at 8:56 PM on May 28, 2011 [4 favorites]

The first guy that escorted the waitress for a timeout? Kinda creepy in its own way.

You know, someone on another site explained this as a vestige of southern manners and gentility. Rather than get up in everyone's face, you take the person who has broken with the warm buttery southern hospitality conventions to the side and encourage them to correct their behavior. In addition, you separate the two parties, and hopefully spare the people who have already been singled out for harassment the embarrassment of getting defended in front of everyone by a total stranger.

I've lived in Texas and California, and I have to say, I have seen this maneuver more here than I did in California but that may just be because more people in Texas need to be put in time out.

But honestly? My first thought wasn't, "Oh, Southern manners!", it was "Oh, look--that one works somewhere as a manager!"
posted by zylocomotion at 9:23 PM on May 28, 2011 [9 favorites]

We had a link to this show once before, and if I remember correctly one of the shows explained that it's easiest for people to stand up against a wrong action when others do, and that is one of the things the show is exploring. In that context, I think it's a good show, because maybe after watching it, it gives the viewers courage to act in their own day-to-day lives.

There are worse ways to sell commercials.
posted by Houstonian at 9:43 PM on May 28, 2011 [8 favorites]

If they were to put together a hidden camera show which showed what it is REALLY like...

It'd never be aired, certainly not on ABC.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:36 PM on May 28, 2011

It's like, if you are in an elevator of a bunch of people and one of you farts, everyone will pretend not to notice it.

Oh, I won't pretend anything. In situations like that I'll typically emit a dramatic groan and lift my shirt over my nose. Does that make me a hero?
posted by jeremy b at 10:52 PM on May 28, 2011 [3 favorites]

I don't care for the emotional wringer aspect of it but if people are encouraged to take a stand by watching one of these shows, then maybe it's worth it. There's some good social science out there that people will hang back waiting for someone else to take the first step until it's pointed out that SOMEONE has to step up.
Several years ago, I watched a guy emotionally abuse his son, about 10, at a grocery store. In a very low key way, he took apart every move the kid made, from picking up the wrong bag of chips to saying "But I thought..." to his father. Everythiing the kid did, the father made a sarcastic or insulting comment about the boy's intent or ability to do make good choices. To this day, I'm ashamed that I didn't speak up directly to the father; the best I could do at the time was to say "hang in there" to the boy when while his father was farther down the aisle. Now, as a parent, I think I'd feel more confident that what I was seeing had to be addressed. At the time, I was not. If these kinds of scenes help someone to do the right thing, then maybe they're worth watching.
posted by etaoin at 11:02 PM on May 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have been refused service in bars, resturants, and hotels for being gay. Once in Billings, I had a couple of rednecks pretty explicitly pull me out of a service station, and once in Vancouver a group of middle aged women complained to the manager in a really nice hotel, and I had to leave.

I have also been told not to hold hands, warned "friendly" like that kissing my partner on the cheek, or walking too close was going to be a problem, in a mall in Calgary,

This has also happened with men who people assume that I am fucking, but are close friends.

But the daily stuff hippy bear talks about is much more ocmmon.
posted by PinkMoose at 11:12 PM on May 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

I can't stand prank shows, especially when they pretend to be moralistic.
posted by pguertin at 11:28 PM on May 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

You people will never be hopeful.

It's not enough that there were genuine stick-out-your-neck people willing to stand up for what is right in situation, the simple fact that there exist racists, homophobes, sociopaths overshadows and nullifies the impact of these genuine moments of social improvement. Guess what people that is exactly how it starts. It doesn't start with congress or some lobby group or whatever - social change precedes legal change - so start doing it and ignore those who are going to be left behind in the dustbin of history.

It is exactly the kind of "yea that's nice but people are actually bad even if they aren't hurling rocks" thinking that makes others stand to the side when injustice is happening shrugging because "it's just insidious, inborn and won't ever change."

I've been cynical - guess what? You have to push through it. Cynical people don't make a change in the world.
posted by AndrewKemendo at 4:34 AM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

These are too fucking many links.
posted by joeclark at 6:37 AM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Well, I definitely expected this thread to be about getting pied, not gay rights.
posted by that's how you get ants at 7:06 AM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hippybear's description of real world discrimination rings true to me. When I've been at the receiving end -- out with gay friends, or as one half of an interracial couple -- it's been exactly what he describes. Never open and nasty enough to have someone yelling, but lots of small nastiness that leaves you unsettled and unwelcome. It's tricky, because a lot of perfectly welcoming places have moments of bad service, so you are trying to figure out if you are being ignored because of who you are, or because the new manager doesn't know how to make sure people are seated. By the time enough small details have accreted into a pattern you can see, you have probably already ordered, and just getting up and leaving gets that much more awkward.

At the moment, though, I live in a happy little bubble. Almost every place I eat and drink at is either gay-owned, has openly gay staff, or is decently accepting, which is great. And while my patience with people having a problem with the interracial thing has gotten much shorter, the funny outcome has been that at the same time as I get quicker to get in people's faces, it's becoming less of an issue every year. I genuinely think that this is fading as an issue that anyone under the age of 60 gives a shit about; I'm hoping that a few decades from now we can say the same thing about gayness.
posted by Forktine at 7:26 AM on May 29, 2011

I'm not sure I'm too concerned about putting people in these kinds of situations as being wrong. Generally in real experimental terms you stick to something that's no more risk than what a person might actually encounter in their day to day lives. I think this would fit the bill. I also am not sure that most people who actually do the "good" thing in these scenarios will feel cheated after they find out it's not real. Their behavior gets to serve as the proper way to behave and a teaching moment, one for which they would agree. Even if it's just b/c of cognitive dissonance, they'll probably be fine with it. Actually, if they didn't agree, it's not making it on the show. Those who behave "badly" either can opt to feel ashamed of that behavior, but I'm guessing most will just not care about the whole program or will feel proud of their own behavior.

I've used many of the clips in a social psychology course, and they're great primarily because they follow some of the basic expectations we have for why people act or don't. You can see differences between something being ambiguous or not, or there being more people around to help or not. Some are definitely better than others, but overall I like having some kind of resource that provides a visual that people aren't always as nice to each other in ways that my sheltered students would like to believe.
posted by bizzyb at 7:27 AM on May 29, 2011

But is it really that these people are taking a moral stand, or is it yet another example of the American obsession with preserving the appearance of calm and order at all costs? Does it matter? Should it matter?
posted by dantsea at 8:25 AM on May 29, 2011

It's like, if you are in an elevator of a bunch of people and one of you farts, everyone will pretend not to notice it.

Oh, I won't pretend anything. In situations like that I'll typically emit a dramatic groan and lift my shirt over my nose. Does that make me a hero?

I've always thought that the person who raises the biggest stink about an actual raised stink IS the culprit.
posted by Renoroc at 8:32 AM on May 29, 2011

That would be the classic "he who smelled it dealt it" rule.
posted by hippybear at 8:33 AM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

"Smelt it" is grammatical and pleasingly parallel.
posted by ryanrs at 9:17 AM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I typed it that way and then back and forth with "smelled" like four times... couldn't get "smelter" and pouring ingots out of my head with that other form.
posted by hippybear at 9:24 AM on May 29, 2011

I have a pretty good idea for an episode, where you see how many people intervene when they encounter an exploitative reality show engineering a cruel social experiment on innocent people just out minding their business.

I do like what I think are the earlier episodes, where they illustrate racist double standards on the aggregate, but some of these seem to focus too much on eavesdropping on strangers and intervening in their personal business to instruct them on your personal moral code.

I haven't seen any of those (and I didn't watch them all) that weren't actually OK in themselves, where I'd think the interveners were really overstepping. My concern, though, is that the show, which is apparently very popular, is giving audiences the message that being a busybody is desirable, and that overriding message is just going to encourage more people to be going all Mary Worth on everyone in earshot who has a disagreement or says something they don't agree with. The scenarios they engineer are usually fairly clear-cut, but my concern is that it's perpetuating an attitude that's going to start encroaching in other personal matters that are more subtle and more prone to interpretation.
posted by ernielundquist at 9:51 AM on May 29, 2011

To those with negative feedback about the content of the post:
A national network (don't even need cable to get it!) runs a show in primetime that examines how random Americans would respond to obvious discrimination against gay couples with families in a public setting. In doing so, they seem to dispel the notion pushed by the religious right that a vast majority of Americans abso-fucking-lutely abhor all things homosexual. Tell me how/why this is a bad thing?

Heavy-handed narration or not, if this episode serves as a vehicle for more discussion about the topic and sheds light on the slack-jawed bigotry that still exists in this country, it seems like a worthy cause to me. As John Kenneth Fisher stated so well in an earlier comment, "First it's okay to hate openly, then okay to hate quietly, then not okay. We're in different places in that transition around the country, and the people pushing their peers down that line are still doing the right thing, even when not all the way along it themselves."
posted by thatweirdguy2 at 11:09 AM on May 29, 2011 [3 favorites]

I don't believe I ever said that there is a bad thing going on. I said that I don't like it because to me the situations it sets up are unrealistic.

Now, I suppose that I could make the case that, because the actors in its segments are doing such extreme things, it could be training people to not see the smaller things as actually being bigotry... Sort of declaring and moving the overton window of what really is a prejudicial attitude to the place where the snickering behind the hands and the degraded restaurant service and such doesn't even appear on the radar of people because they know what REAL discrimination looks like thanks to this television show.

But I really don't believe that.

I just think the show itself is heavy-handed and unrealistic and those are the reasons I don't like it. If people are learning things from it, then great. I don't know if there's any evidence for that actually happening or not. Ultimately it's just a form of Candid Camera or Punk'd, only instead of talking mail boxes or deeply elaborate ruses they're using ethical and moral situations played by actors to get the reactions.

I suppose learning can take many forms, and would be happy if there really is some kind of lesson being taught through this show. Mostly it isn't to my taste, for the reasons I've outlined already in this thread, and while I have strong personal feelings about it I don't really spend any time thinking about the existence of the show outside of when there's a mention of it on MetaFilter.

(Yes, I said Candid Camera. Lordy, I'm old enough to remember Alan Funt. How do these things happen?)
posted by hippybear at 11:37 AM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


While the show is certainly heavy handed, I disagree that it most of it is really that unrealistic. I don't think that the quality of good reactions they are able to get is from the extremeness of the situations, because really they are not all that extreme, but from the fact that they are willing to run them until they do get a reaction. You can add me to the list of people in this thread who have experienced and witnessed bigotry on the scale portrayed in these videos, its just that generally bigots realize they are alone and stop before shit goes down or realize they arn't and shit goes down quietly. The only difference here is that there are cameras catching co-bigots, and the actors don't stop when the crowd develops the ques that they are turning against them. Really where I saw value in this show is in the challenge to silence. This experience changed me in a way I don't think I can properly describe, people you don't know seem different when you do know that they are likely to walk right on by to work even if you are in desperate need of help.

I know there are quite a few links, but if I were to defend the show, really, it would be with these three.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:23 PM on May 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

"(Yes, I said Candid Camera. Lordy, I'm old enough to remember Alan Funt. How do these things happen?)"

Candid Camera had a profound effect on the development of social science, I learned so in a history class.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:28 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Wow, Zimbardo (who I've followed for ages after learning about the Stanford Prison Experiment) sounds like he's carrying on the kind of philosophical/sociological work which Leo Buscaglia was doing 30+ years ago. That's excellent. His TED Talks are also quite interesting.

Thanks for that, Blasdelb. I enjoyed hearing that interview quite a bit.
posted by hippybear at 3:05 PM on May 29, 2011

In many of the videos, the narrator explains that they escalate the abuse (or whatever it is they are depicting) because nobody steps in when the abuse takes a more subtle form.
posted by prefpara at 6:51 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

It should also be noted that a few miles southeast of Farmers Branch is the Oak Lawn area of Dallas, which is a sizable gay community.
posted by drstein at 8:08 AM on June 1, 2011

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