September 29, 2006

"We're back to America. We're a melting pot... I love it."

That's the line the "Survivor" editors chose to feature as the segregated teams were integrated in the third episode of the season. So much for the big publicity stunt that got me. It was like some gruesome oversized octopus that slithers its tentacles around your torso and attaches its suckers all over. Speaking of suckers...

Blah! Of course, the pro-integration message is a good one -- it's thoroughly well-scrubbed and wholesome -- but the occasion for saying it was manufactured and the quote itself was extracted from raw footage that no doubt included a lot of grousing and teasing and who knows what. Plus, it came from Parvati, who annoyed the hell out of me last night as she talked to the camera, confessing her scheme of manipulating all the guys on her team with her laughably unsubtle flirting... or as they say over on Television Without Pity, "swooning over the three slabs of hetero manmeat."

Indeed, the fuss about racial difference is over. It never amounted to much, and surely, if anything ugly happened, judicious editing would have kept it from us viewers. And now we can see that it's sex difference that really dominates, not just with Parvati's embarrassing flirting, but with the total capitulation of all the women in the physical challenge. The game consisted of walking in knee-deep water while carrying a 15-pound bag. You could drop out, but only by handing off your bag to one of your teammates. The women all caved right in and left the men holding the bags. Despite the entertainment value of roped-together slabs of hetero manmeat trudging through water, it was pretty disturbing to see the physical disparity depicted so obviously face-slammingly.

26 comments:

Dave said...

Unless I'm missing something, walking knee deep in water carrying a 15 lb bag doesn't sound that hard.

How did they have to carry it? Above their heads? Then, maybe, that's hard for a period of time.

Slung over the shoulder? Easy--the skeleton carries the weight.

Fenrisulven said...

It was part of the "strategery" - have the females deliberately fail so they could hand it off to the males for the win. Its not that the women couldn't compete in the challenge, its that they chose not to.

And whats with GM [or Ford?] pulling their advertising [maybe over the racial bit]? Similiar to 7-11 droppping CITGO. Both companies apparently dropped as a protest move, but then their public statements re it are mealy-mouthed non-statements.

Ann, is there some legal reason that would discourage a company from explaining that they pulled out because of racist overtones or Hugo Chavez? Or is it just business best practices not to burn any bridges with a negative public statement?

1918news said...

I'm not sure if you've ever tried walking as quick as you can while carrying 10-15% of your total body weight slung over your shoulder through knee-deep ocean water, but it's hard.

Certainly harder for a 100 pound woman then for a 200 pound guy, thus the hand offs.

I agree with Ann that sometimes real life can seem harsh, but that challenge was the "reality" part of this show.

Jim said...

Good thing they didn't highlight the disparity with a math or science contest!

altoids1306 said...

1918news:

I don't think it's that hard - never carried bags, but I've carried a 15 kg kid over my shoulders in knee-deep water, it's pretty easy.

Probably depends on the surf and sand conditions (didn't watch the show).

In any case, who really cares. No one with an iota of common sense would dispute that, on average, men are physically stronger than women.

Ann Althouse said...

Height matters a lot. It would be easier to walk in water that hit below the knew that that hit mid-thigh! I think part of the teamwork was figuring out whether having the taller, bigger members carry more weight was more efficient, and it really was, so everyone did it. Still that means the test was set up to favor the men. Presumably, there are challenges where being small helps. In a real survival situation, the smaller person needs less food to avoid starvation and can probably move faster, climb higher, and wriggle out of tight spots better.

amba said...

Ann's right -- height has as much to do with it as strength. The more of your leg is underwater, the more resistance the water offers. 15 pounds is not a lot of weight to carry. In many cultures women are the burden bearers.

VW: nipmify

Fenrisulven said...

And the males have 10% more hemoglobin.

Mortimer Brezny said...

In a real survival situation, the smaller person needs less food to avoid starvation and can probably move faster, climb higher, and wriggle out of tight spots better.

This is nonsense. In a "real survival situation," the women are likely pregnant most of the time, so they need more food, shouldn't be climbing, and shouldn't be doing any wriggling. There is no scientific evidence that women move faster than men, whatever that means.

The Drill SGT said...

Ann said...
In a real survival situation, the smaller person needs less food to avoid starvation and can probably move faster, climb higher, and wriggle out of tight spots better.


I would argue that men would be favored in most of those alternative tests you proposed. You've conceded that men can carry more weight. If your test is "move faster" over distance carriying what you need to survive, then it's the same advantage to men. If it's climb higher by walking, then again the wieght carrying, combine with the lung and hemoglobin supply give men the advantage. If it is "climb trees higher" you have the longer reach and much better upper body strngth. Only it you define it as "climb out on smaller branches" do you get an advantage to women and that would not save you from any predator that can climb at all.

Mike said...

In a real survival situation, absolutely nothing trumps brains.

SteveR said...

This particular challenge, which has been on before, is not a very good one. The results are predictable and the details not very interesting. The team with the weakest (usually oldest) male loses.

Ann Althouse said...

I was just doing a small versus large comparison, leaving out sex difference. That is, take a small male compared to a large male. (Or a small female versus a large female.) Is height an advantage? We were talking about trudging through shallow water where height was definitely an advantage. There are some other advantages to height: you can see farther, reach higher, have a longer stride, etc. Don't add other factors like the degree of muscular strength. Just height. Who is better off? It would depend on the dangers, but if it was food and water shortage, it would be better to be small.

Jim said...

A big guy couldn't have done all that Houdini did. Gymnasts who are on the short side have every advantage when moving their own bodies, since strength goes as the square of height and weight as the cube.

knoxgirl said...

I thought I'd watch this season, but when I saw last week's show I was too disappointed that most of the time was spent on the annoying interpersonal relationships instead of the challenge. I'm used to Project Runway (and occasionally I'll get sucked into The Amazing Race), where more emphasis is on performance.

*Ann, I don't know if you cared for it or not, but "I Shouldn't Be Alive" is coming back in Nov.

HaloJonesFan said...

Ann, if you're interested in being grabbed by slithering, suckered tentacles, then I've got some Japanese cartoons that you might want to see.

Schaz said...

During last night's show, I finally figured out something nagging me in the back of my mind.

Play it again, if you have it on Tivo, and close your eyes when Jonathon's speaking. Slightly deeper in timbre, but otherwise...that's Alan Alda's voice.

Mortimer Brezny said...

In a real survival situation, absolutely nothing trumps brains.

That explains why sharks never kill dolphins and wolves never kill humans.

Mortimer Brezny said...

It would depend on the dangers, but if it was food and water shortage, it would be better to be small.

But your unrealistic subtraction of muscles makes no sense. People get muscles from exercise and food intake. If there were less food and less water, everyone would be smaller. Malnourished people are smaller. It is not better to be malnourished than well-fed.

Mike said...

Mortimer said: "That explains why sharks never kill dolphins and wolves never kill humans."

Just the dumb ones.

Anonymous said...

I thought it interesting that in the loser tribe (that would be the tribe that lost the sloshing through the water while bearing weights competition) the key dynamic emerging, as edited, was hippie v. non-hippie.

As it turned out, that was the usual editing fake-out and the two hippie-ish folks who they showed vacilating on joining the dominate alliance and complaining about all the 'game' playing, played along afterall.

And in past shows, lean muscular dudes have done poorly in stamina style contests, especially later in the game after low calorie diets for a few weeks. Large muscles require lots of calories, and without a good fat reserve, they fade faster than muscled and fat guys, or the truly skinny.

And halojonesfan, sure you can mention the stuff, but would you dare to actually provide a link to the Wiki page on the phenomena?

Also, that in a nutshell is what is fantastic and disturbing about Wikipedia. They have a tentacle rape page.

Ann Althouse said...

Knoxgirl: "I Shouldn't Be Alive" is one of my favorite shows! I'm always telling people about it.

Ann Althouse said...

HaloJones: Not really but it happened to a cute guy on the show last night.

Ann Althouse said...

"That explains why sharks never kill dolphins and wolves never kill humans."

Sharks and wolves have excellent, highly focused brains. We, by comparison, are distracted, all-over-the-place eggheads.

Al Maviva said...

In a real survival situation, absolutely nothing trumps brains.

I don't know about that. I've always found that a 12 gauge with a couple boxes of buckshot comes in pretty handy.

Dead thread and all, but maybe worth considering...

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