Amid a flurry of media criticism, and with corporate sponsors dropping like so many swatted tsetse flies, reality TV wunderkind producer Mark Burnett finds himself forced to justify his decision to pit race against race on the new season of Survivor. Burnett has finally spoken up in defense of his humanitarian vision, through the unlikely (and mostly unread outside of the TV business) forum of the letters section of Cynthia Turner's Cynopsis. An excerpt:
Whereas on a desert island where economics and social class count for nothing, it's simply your ability to build a fire and catch fish that becomes of paramount importance. Add to this, the political nature of Survivor which is overlaid on the survivalist themes and you need to add in the criteria of "Do I like this person?" or "Can I convince this person to vote with me?" [...]
Were we correct?? Time will tell. All I can say is that the series will pull no punches and will at the very least show that behaving like an asshole isn't the exclusive right of any particular race. It will also show that it's impossible to stereotype people once you meet them and (even vicariously) live with them as they struggle to build a world.
If you find yourself lost in the sea of his gasbag rhetoric, you're not alone: We've read the paragraphs several times now, to no decipherable avail, and our consultation of the unabridged source material has only resulted in a further tumble down the rabbit hole of Realityland's nonsensical, ratings-justifying logic.