Wednesday, September 19, 2007

 
Anyone watching "Kid Nation?"

Comments:
Hell no.
 
No. I saw a clip and it made me want to throw things.

There is a reason why children don't have rights.
 
There was an article about that in the London Metro (a free paper you pick up at tube stations) yesterday. I'd heard a bit about it online before, and it all seems to stink...not just because those kids need looking after, but because it's purporting to be 'reality TV' when all the machinery of it - the cash prizes (which can't be shared or awarded to a team of kids), the (I can't think of a better way to put this) caste system the directors are putting them in - is artificial and fantastical. I probably shouldn't be judging it all from online gossip and a newspaper article, but argh argh argh.
 
I gotta wonder about their liability issues.

how did they get 40 families to sign that release?

what are some of the rules that, if violated, will get you kicked off the show? smoking? kissing? beating up younger kids?

are they kids watched via camera 24/7?

are the camera operators mandated reporters?

On the other hand, I found a few things of at least marginal interest -

1) many of these children seem remarkably optimistic, and their optimism seems genuine.

2) it's kind of refreshing to see non-"showbizified" children on TV.

3) the kids made a truly wise choice (outhouses vs. television) without adult guidance. of course, TV being what it is, I should say, without visible adult guidance.

Also, I have to admit - I would have been delighted to have the opportunity to be away from my parents for ANY length of time, even at the tender age of 8. I loved sleep-away camp, for example, where, come to think of it, most of my counselors were significantly under 18.

that said, knowing what I know now, I'd fear the whole Lord of the Flies potential.

But, it's got me thinking about some interesting questions. what is a "child"? what's an "adult"? how do you know which is which? what is the nature of childhood/adulthood?

Rootie - your kids, from what little I know about them, seem pretty self-sufficient and just packed full of life skills. if I were lost in the woods, even at my advanced age and level of sage wisdom, I'd still want your 12 year old with me, rather than be alone or with most adults I know. better chance of survival.
 
the (I can't think of a better way to put this) caste system the directors are putting them in - is artificial and fantastical.

I think it's that way by design.

I also think the caste system as established is not set in stone, but fluid according to several factors, some of which are already known (win the challenge and you're the upper class, lose the challenge and you're cleaning latrines) and some of which are yet to be revealed.

I just thought of something else.

have any of y'all read anything on that school in England called Summerhill?
 
To clarify -

Thene said: the (I can't think of a better way to put this) caste system the directors are putting them in - is artificial and fantastical.

then I said: I think it's that way by design.

I mean, the better to model the caste system of real life (at least, as practiced in the US), which is nothing if not artificial and fantastical.
 
So, wait, someone had the brilliant idea to do "Real World: Lord of the Flies"? (I have no TV and am seriously Out Of It)
 
my parents had the book written on Summerhill, by the y'know founders.

i tried reading it.

it was really boring.

i stopped.
 
So, wait, someone had the brilliant idea to do "Real World: Lord of the Flies"?

HAHAHAHAHA!

apparently, yeah.

even so, it would have sounded like a brilliant idea to me when I was a kid. if presented with the opportunity thirty years ago, I'd have had my bags packed in a nanosecond.
 
my parents had the book written on Summerhill, by the y'know founders.

I found that book in the school library when I was about sixteen. I found it fascinating, but it really wrecked my attitude about school.
 
"(I have no TV and am seriously Out Of It)"

You are so not missing anything. We have 200 channels and I still wind up listening to the radio.
 
" if I were lost in the woods, even at my advanced age and level of sage wisdom, I'd still want your 12 year old with me,"

Thank you! I'd want him with me as well, he's a better shot and can climb trees. (he's 16 now, and fixing to get his drivers licence.Shudder)
 
oh, yeah. how's that going, rootie?

say, rootie, you've played "olden days" rather extensively, yeah? how old was "old enough" 100-150 years ago? depending on circumstances, would being 15 years old have allowed/required you to be considered an "adult"?
 
150 years ago kids were adults as 12 or 13, remember they married at 14-15 for girls, 16 or so for boys, and were expected to fend for themselves. Children also started doing chores as soon as physically able- like 3. At 15 you would have been expected to hold your own physically against people twice your age, and you'd have been required to prove yourself in order to be treated as an equal. I think our culture today expects people to be children until they're 25 or 30.

The driving thing is a trial. He's been driving since he was 13(don't ask), but Georgia requires documents out the wazoo, and he's not a patient person.
 
2) it's kind of refreshing to see non-"showbizified" children on TV.

If the parents were willing to sign that agreement and let their 8 year olds be on that show, then they are a worlds away from "non-showbizified."
 
"But, it's got me thinking about some interesting questions. what is a "child"? what's an "adult"? how do you know which is which?"

That is a good question. At what point does your mind and the way you think change from saying that you need a television instead of out houses(in this case). And does that mean if you were a 40-something year old and chose television you are a child?
 
"And does that mean if you were a 40-something year old and chose television you are a child?"

It would be so easy to go into a long and authoritative-sounding psychological lecture about this.

I think, actually, there's a bit of child in all of us, and a bit of sense in even the youngest child.
 
I agree that it would be easy but the show kinda makes me think that way.

"I think, actually, there's a bit of child in all of us, and a bit of sense in even the youngest child."

I love how that was stated! That should be on a Hallmark card. I would like to think that there is a bit of sense in the youngest, but as I am in high school I see a lot of people doing amazingly stupid shit.

So the question is begging to be asked...as we get older do we become "stupider"(in a sense) or is it just the normal teen discourse?
 
2) it's kind of refreshing to see non-"showbizified" children on TV.

If the parents were willing to sign that agreement and let their 8 year olds be on that show, then they are a worlds away from "non-showbizified."


hm. I'd have to see a copy of what they signed, to be perfectly sure - but I'm glad you brought that up and I'm (obviously) ashamed to say I hadn't thought of that before.

what I didn't see were those ingratiating smiles, grown-up-ish gestures and expressions, smartass remarks. they seemed to be relatively normal kids.

then again, TV is all illusion anyway.
 
rootie is as wise as your mom, FS201.
 
"So the question is begging to be asked...as we get older do we become "stupider"(in a sense) or is it just the normal teen discourse?"

Ok, I have 3 teenage sons- 16,17,19. They've all gone through a Stupid Spell, generally around 15 (the 16 yr old is just starting to show some sense). I think it's normal, a combination of that lack of a sense of mortality (it won't happen to me!), a desire to make up their own minds (I'll show them!) and an intellect that is at it's peak. By that I mean that developmentally around 17 or 18, the mind is at it's most efficient for processing new information- the peak of the learning curve. The only thing lacking is experience. That's what makes 40 yr olds generally more effective at their jobs than 18 yr olds. It's why 40 yr olds bring in $75,000/ yr, and 18 yr olds make $6.50/hr.

So no- teens aren't stupid, they're just trying on their new psychological clothes. Those really cautious kids who never step outside the bounds, they worry me. It's either a nuclear mid-life crisis in the making, or a life of rank mediocrity.
 
when did we (Americans) first get a concept of "teenager"?
 
um...the 20's I'd say, when Victorian sensibilities gasped their last and girls quit wearing bras and boys started souping up cars. That is pure speculation. I would say that teens have always been around to some degree, just like there have always been people who were adults from the day they were born. (that would be me, no sense of fun a-tall). I do have trouble picturing Abe Lincoln back-talking his mom, tho.
 
There are several good resources touching on the ongoing evolution of American notions of family and kids' "place" in terms of family. Off the top of my head, you might enjoy-

"The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap" by Stephanie Coontz
 
"The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap" by Stephanie Coontz

Loved it.
 
oh, hey - the contract in its entirety (and it's a doozy!) is available at The Smoking Gun:

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2007/0823071kidnation1.html

again, I have to wonder how the HELL the network or production company convinced parents to sign that thing.
 
"again, I have to wonder how the HELL the network or production company convinced parents to sign that thing."

That's easy. The parents wanted their kids on TV so they could be famous and stars and stuff.
 
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Syb4ck Wonderful blog.
 
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Good job!
 
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