September 25th, 2008

krazy koati

So all I can do is rave on

Once again I'm brought to moral indignation by the trivial, this time, new game show Opportunity Knocks. The gimmick is the game show crew shows up by surprise at your house, sets up a temporary stage, and quizzes your knowledge about of family and your neighbors.

It's akin to The Newlywed Game, people answering trivia about themselves, and the fun for the audience coming when they reveal neither of them knows what the others' favorite room in the house is. The subgenre is, to me, navel-gazing, and the embarrassed reactions of loved ones bores me in short order. I'd have indifferently skipped it, but my father had the TV remote, and while he may have some horrible tastes he did similarly provoke me into watching The Big Bang Theory, which does get the joys of nerd sarcasm and putdowns right.

Where Opportunity Knocks jumped into my list of immoral programs was when the mother had to identify which of four paintings of a tiger was actually done by her son. Her guesses about the three fakes were to be shredded. By her. On stage. With her son watching. And the host reminding us how proud the son was of his painting. If she correctly shreds the counterfeits and doesn't lose the jackpot in the following questions, she could get $7,500. And if she's wrong, well, she just shredded her son's painting for free.

And she did it. (She did guess correctly, I suppose I should note.) I can't see this as anything but one of those psychological experiments about standing up to authority. But she shredded three pictures lest, I guess, she miss the chance to be on television. It's one, vapid yet tolerable, thing when the challenge is to find your bedspread in a pile of similar ones, but it's a much more horrible thing to deliberately destroy the personal creations of your children for trivial reasons.

Trivia: Rhode Island first issued paper currency backed by a land bank in 1715, in the amount of £40,000. Source: Rhode Island: A History, William G McLoughlin.

Currently Reading: The Pacific War 1931 - 1945, Saburo Ienaga.