Monday, June 28, 2010

ABC's New Show Downfall

(please read to end, or this will be misleading!) I feel like this show is an act against humanity. There are people in my community who can't get a job because they can't afford a car to get them back and forth from work. There are children who would be amazing musicians, but their families can't afford musical instruments or lessons. There are literally people living and dying on the street. But still, it seems okay to throw all of these things off a side of a building instead of donating them to someone who really needs them.

How horrible is it to have in your possession something that someone else needs, and then destroy it instead of giving it to this person?

What is your reaction?

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EDIT:
One of my friends (who actually watched the show instead of just the commercials like me) just pointed out that the prizes that actually crash are fake. So my biff with the whole tv show is rendered moot.

What would be an appropriate way for a Christian to respond if this tv show was actually destorying real cars, etc.?

5 comments:

  1. OOOoo. From the moment I saw the first preview for this show it got my blood boiling. In my line of work, I know first hand how people are struggling now.

    Folks who considered themselves comfortable middle class, or even upper middle class previously, have put their pride aside and are coming into welfare offices. I am more than happy to help, and glad they've come to seek help instead of ending up on the streets. But them a show like this comes out, and who benefits?

    The attitude of destruction and disposal that ABC is promoting and purpetuating in this show seems almost more harmful to our society than the actual destruction of the items.

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  2. My initial reaction to the show's ads has been covered by Kent and Amanda. At first my disgust of the premise was directed toward the show and its creators, the network, etc., believing it is engendering an attitude of dispensability as a cultural norm. Given time to reflect, I think the best way I could interpret this show would be to see it not as a rarity but as an abbreviated tale of modern-Western wastefulness.
    I know many people, myself included, that shop discount and garage/yard sales who express dismay at what they find people selling, giving or throwing away. Following cultural trends, the average American buys more than she/he can use. A staggering amount of it heads for the landfill entirely unused or used rarely. In a retail-oriented culture, in which 70-73% of our economy is based upon the sale of commercial goods, materialism, waste and clutter are going to be our three primary natural by-products. As I see it, all three form the basis of this show.
    'Downfall' is then a short story of what goes on millions of times over in slow-motion inside far too many households in America. The show places two of these by-products (materialism, waste, & clutter) side-by-side in a very linear progression. Its progression is meaningful metaphorically. Materialistic desires lead almost directly to waste and clutter. This progression is realized literally, by means of the conveyer belt, drop and ground level. It happens in a matter of moments when in reality, the progression may take years by the time the desire for a product is realized, the purchase has been made, the products usefulness has been exhausted, and the varying steps take place; resale, donation, secondary use, and ultimately, waste in the landfill. The effect is shocking when we see the steps take place in quick succession. This gives us cause to talk about the truth the situation presents while difficult for us to acknowledge is no less true.

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  3. Thanks to Nathan who much more eloquently explained what my brain was thinking (has it really been 2 years since graduation?!).

    Keith, even if the objects they crash over the side of the building aren't the real thing, they still cost money-maybe not quite as much, and maybe aren't really functioning in and of themselves, but really, it's still appauling.

    Even the title of the show is ironic, "Downfall". Do they mean objects are falling down off a building, or that our society/culture has fallen down so low that this is considered prime entertainment and enjoyment. The show still wants you to think the objects are real, and therefore perpetuate the "attitude of dispensability as a cultural norm", as Nathan stated it. Our society may already have this attitude, but for the tv networks to run with those attitudes, and perpetuate them is disheartening (but not surprising). (Also, interesting to note that not only are objects hurled over the edge of the sky scraper, but also people--with a safety harness to soften the descent. Does this, then, perpetuate the thought that people and relationships are also as immediately dispensible as objects?)

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  4. i really think the title of the show means downfall....what r u willing to lose to make a million dollars. in the show the money is at the end...they have a panic button..u hit the panic button...u then forfeit all prizes and have to put one of ur prize possesions before the money....it's pretty much what r u will to lose to get that cash. i think it's all a metaphor for life....what r u willin to lose to get to the top. like amanda said alot of people who 5 years ago had it made are now at the bottom of the food chain. But in the end money is the root of all evil..but the world doesn't run without money or people workin to make that money.
    personally what i get from this...DO NOT take for granted what you have. NOTHING is worth losing to get to the top.

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  5. Amanda, I had to laugh, though bitterly, at your comment: "Does this, then, perpetuate the thought that people and relationships are also as immediately dispensible as objects?" I suppose within the frame-work we're constructing, this isn't too outlandish of an accusation as well as the (unintended, I'm sure) ironic title. Good thoughts.

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What do you think?