Tuesday, July 21, 2009
NPR's Monkey See blog brings us an account of a behind the scenes rant delivered by a participant on CBS' reality show Big Brother, Braden Bacha. CBS excised Mr. Bacha's comments from the broadcast version of the show, and Mr. Bacha was eventually sent home by the other members of Big Brother, so no one who watches only the show as aired would know about the slurs he directed at others participating in the program. But as Monkey See's Linda Holmes points out, CBS has preserved Mr. Bacha's comments for the web. So, what's the point? To heighten tension on the show? To create two versions? To make us question "reality"? Says Ms. Holmes,
This show is meant to get a good part of its attention from the difference between what you see online and what you see on the show. If it manages to cast a hard-charging racist whose work only appears online, it can seize all the attention of a scandal while claiming that it's tastefully trying to protect viewers from anything "offensive." It is a use of racism as a big tease -- conceal, reveal, play with what people think they know and exploit the eagerness of devoted fans to show off how much more plugged-in they are than everyone else.