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Celebrity Slam - July 10, 2013

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Bigot Brother

The key to reality television success is controversy. These programs are built on a foundation of conflict; the more inflammatory you are, the more titillating you are. And titillation equals ratings. It has been that way since the beginning, and as more and more unscripted shows dot the TV landscape, the degradation of people's behavior increases exponentially.

However, we may have reached a tipping point.

The CBS reality show 'Big Brother' has proven quite popular over the years it is currently operating in its 15th season. However, the behavior of the erstwhile 'houseguests' has reached a distasteful crescendo of hateful (and vocal) bigotry.

There's GinaMarie Zimmerman, the beauty pageant coordinator. Wellshe was a beauty pageant coordinator until she got fired from her job while still on the show, mind you for hateful comments she made while in the house. While talking about the welfare system, Zimmerman used a particularly racist word the big one, the one that starts with the letter 'N.'

Then you've got Spencer Clawson, who as of now is still a railroad conductor for Union Pacific although they're clearly laying the groundwork to give him the boot. Clawson's comments included referring to one of his fellow housemates with a homophobic slur the three-letter 'F' one - and praising Adolph Hitler as a gifted speaker.

The biggest and brightest, however, is now-former model Aaryn Gries. She let fly with some of the most offensive commentary you're ever likely to find connected with a network television program. Let's run down the list, shall we? She referred to a homosexual housemate as 'queer.' She told an Asian-American housemate to 'shut up and go make some rice.' And, speaking of a black contestant, warned 'Be careful what you say in the dark, you might not be able to see that b---h.' She really covered all the ignorant racist bases.

Again this is a show airing on a broadcast network.

It's enough to make you wonder what century we're living in. Not only are these people utterly ignorant and woefully ill-informed about the state of the world around them, they're also stupid enough to say these kinds of things in front of cameras for all the world to see. It's bad enough that people with these sorts of Stone Age attitudes even exist, but for them to feel so comfortable in their bigotry that they think nothing of tossing off hateful remarks to an audience of millions is mind-boggling in the worst way. Not only are these people undeniably racists, but they're incredibly stupid racists (one could argue that all racists are stupid and I wouldn't disagree, but you have to admit that even among ignorant bigots, these three definitely land on the wrong side of the IQ bell curve).

We won't even go into the fact that the rest of the houseguests sat quietly by and offered no counterpoint to these assorted slurs and remarks. These are people playing a game for a lot of money; they're likely hesitant to do anything that might endanger their chances. Plus, they are still kind of trapped in a house with these morons who knows what might happen if one or more of them prove to be even more unstable than they've already shown? The silence of the others is a little sad and a little disappointing, but it's at least kind of understandable.

What kind of vetting process can CBS possibly have for this show if they've managed to land not one, not two, but three virulent racists at the same time? You have to wonder is this something that network executives were aware of? Were they counting on racially-charged conflict to help drive the narrative of the show? Now, I don't necessarily believe that they thought it would all bubble to the surface so blatantly, but were they perhaps counting on that undercurrent of racist tension to fuel the interactions between contestants? I certainly wouldn't put it past them.

I'm not so nave as to think that we're living in a post-racial society; there are plenty of problems still out there and plenty of bigots still causing them. But maybe putting those bigots on television to offer illustrative examples of those problems isn't the wisest idea? Just a thought.

Here's a nickel's worth of free advice, CBS filling a glass house with racist morons is never the right answer.


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