Screen Doors of Perception


Viikko 10



Motion: THB that modern reality TV does not teach people anything about life
Role: Chairman (opp.)
Date: Oct 14th, 2013

Recently, Celebrity Edition Big Brother ended in Finland in the victory of Jori A. Kopponen, known for his sorcery. It was the first time I watched the show in any capacity. In the past, I could not be bothered, a bit in the same way that I don’t care about the goings’ on on Twitter, especially if the tweets do not come from celebrities. Twitter, as well as Big Brother, is so much better if run by celebrities.

At this point, we could ask what Big Brother represents. It began about ten years ago and quickly established itself in the canon of reality TV. Reality TV, in turn, grew out of the necessity/need to cut costs on entertainment productions, provide contents for the expanding gamut of different channels and answer to the call of the specific zeitgeist of our time. What is the central message of Big Brother? How does Big Brother relate to time and humanity?

As I see it, Big Brother is an experiment. Most people agree upon this, saying that it is an experiment into the human psyche and how well it can bear isolation and exposure and subjugation and forced camaraderie. These things are not rare or new in human history. After all, if we think back, sailors and captains aboard 16th and 17th century trade and battleships lived like that for the most part. Aboard those ships, the captain was the Big Brother and his crew were the participants in the ”house” (=ship). There were also punishments of the sort that we do not see on Big Brother, such as keelhauling, flogging, isolation under the deck and desertion on an island. The worst that can happen to the modern Big Brother community is a bit of wanton violence and an eviction/expulsion. Losing one’s chance @ the prize money is the actual, real punishment.

One aspect of the Big Brother experience, I claim, at this point, on the record, is to mimic the Doomsday Scenario or what follows after the apocalypse. We can assume that the living conditions after a nuclear fallout would not be that much different from the conditions presented on the show. There would be a) cramped living, b) rationing of food, c) socialising with the same people time and again, d) slouching on the coach, e) smoking, f) consuming alcohol (to vent off steam), g) the occasional shag or h) jacuzzi dip. That’s what people do. They need that kind of s**t on a day-to-day basis to survive emotionally. What comes on top of that is called civilisation or cultivation. What has given rise to Doomsday thinking is shows like the Doomsday Preppers that tell earnestly about earnest people bracing for the imaginable worst in a decidedly anti-cyberpunk spirit; the collapse of infrastructure and prevalence of anarchy and an uncivil society. For all that, much greater numbers of people watch shows of the BB sort than shows of the DD sort. BB and DD are obverse (side)s of the same, queer coin.

My personal take on the Big Brother community is that it is not interesting who gets onto the top of the dungheap as the top dog, for we do know instinctively that it mirrors quite well what we have already learnt at school. Namely, we have learnt that one’s popularity has little to do with one’s overall performance and future. Those who do well inside of the Big Brother house do badly without it, and vice versa. However, Big Brother is, deep down, about a test in extroversion: How well do we do, when our mental faculties are stripped to the bare minimum, and all we have to chew on in terms of survival is the social and physical dimension and all their combinations?
I ask you to think about this point of view, while I leave the podium, and let my fellow speaker(s) walk you deeper into the world of reality TV and its different corners. Thank you.

Puheen kesto: 5 min 21 sek
Arvio: * * * * ½ tähteä. Tämä puhe oli jämäkkä ja asiaan menevä, kohdettaan puolustava mutta ei kuitenkaan tekopyhällä tavalla. Puhe vastaa haasteeseen, opettavatko R-TV-ohjelmat meille mitään. Se on luistava ja antaa 2 vastausta haasteeseen aihettaan kuitenkaan tyhjentämättä. Tästä on hyvä jatkaa.



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