shot of sass, served on (n)ice

Monday, December 21, 2009


I’m not sure whether any of the other girls watch “Survivor,” but I’m a big fan, with big thoughts on my mind after the finale. Although Dalton Ross of pretty much nailed all my feelings on why last night’s jury vote was the lamest in “Survivor” history, I have a few more generalized ideas about final Tribal Councils, culled over 19 seasons. The argument is perhaps a little dry, but it ultimately boils down to plain and simple logic, regarding who should win. With, in this season’s case, very frustrating results.

  • The game is called “Survivor,” with the goal to “Outwit. Outplay. Outlast.”
  • The game is not called “Nice on an Island,” with the goal win a million dollars by being everyone’s best friend.
  • You can and most likely will make a few friends during the game, and these friendships may carry over into the real world, after the game. I’m sure that’s nice.
  • You do not, of course, have to be gratuitously mean, dishonorable, etc., within the context of the game. Those actions serve no one.
  • “Survivor” is not the real world (nor an office, Jaison). It is, in fact, a game.
  • The goal of the game is to vote everyone else out so you can be the last man standing.
  • Means do not matter. Or rather, a vote-out is a vote-out: there is no honor or dishonor to it. It is what it is, and it must be done.
  • Transparency within the course of elimination strategy, i.e. letting the person know you are about vote them out, is not wise or conducive to your own goal of staying in the game: How do you know that person won’t stage a coup against you?
  • Therefore, secrets and lies, both defensive and offensive, are an integral part of the game. Everyone does it. It is part of the “outwit.” A necessary “evil.”
  • Considering the rules and goals of the game, however, outwitting (lying cleverly) can’t logically be classified as “evil.”
  • If and when you do vote another person out, he will likely be bitter because he did not vote you out, first, and therefore will not win the game himself.
  • Because of these sour grapes, he may consider the instigator(s) of his own downfall something like “dishonorable” or “lacking in integrity.”
  • He may also label tribe mates who played instrumental roles in his vote-off as “not as dishonorable” if those tribe mates have more desirable/less offensive personality traits. Or were less bold about taking credit for the vote.
  • However, if the “less dishonorable” tribe mates allowed, encouraged, and/or praised the primary vote-off instigator in his strategy, they are in fact no less culpable. They, too, technically are “dishonorable,” too. Perhaps dishonorable and weak, allowing another to field all the bullets of blame. Weakness, in this way, should not technically be valued by jury members, either, considering the goal of “outplay.”
  • If all final players up for a million dollars are, by nature of the game, “dishonorable” because they directly or indirectly outwitted the players voted out before them, the term “dishonorable” and similar should be canceled out entirely on this level playing field. And the point of the game is not to vote for the least dishonorable person—or maybe it is.
  • The money and final vote should go to the person who did outwit, outplay, and outlast most brilliantly. Moral standards of honor and integrity cannot and should not apply, as their place is moot within the context of this game, this world, this set of standards and rules.
  • Therefore, regardless of whether you loved or hated Russell (and I, for one, loved him by the end), he should have hands-down been awarded the money and title of Sole Survivor. Not Ratalie. Because as Sue Hawk once famously said, the laws of nature require that the snake eat the rat, and the jury should allow it.

The End. Interestingly, this question of so-called moral integrity and its place in the game will run front and center in the next edition of “Survivor,” which will pit “heroes” vs. villains. And I. Can’t. Wait!

4 tips left at the bar:

mendacious said...

something something.survivor. something something. good. evil. something something. but ;) really, the higher good must be called into question as to the weight of its power- the spirit- the so called pyschology of people who after all is said and done want good to win- rigging the game to do it... and throwing it. sometimes when i play poker i do that, i stack my hand, i bluff bad, just so that one person can get all his chips. i will ponder.

pen said...

and me, being an advocate of "nice" in so many things, agrees that it should be rewarded in real life. but i feel like, regardless of who appears nice and evil in the game, assigning the term "evil" to a conniving vote-off shouldn't apply--because all were complicit, even the nice guys. they just appear nice and somehow less evil on the surface. and you know how i hate surface niceties. at least russell was who he was, did what he did, and owned it. and should have been rewarded for that!

thank you for humoring me. :)

mendacious said...

its like a holiday festivus message.

Ruby said...

Wow, this is deep. If you're there to play, then play. Expecting others to play nicey nicey and getting mad when they don't is crazy.