Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Rubbernecking at the Societal Freak Show

Have you ever seen "The Moment of Truth"? If you haven't, it's a game show on Fox that puts contestants on a polygraph, ask them questions ranging from benign to highly personal, and then ask them some of the questions they've answered previously to see if they're telling the truth on camera for a chance to win $500,000. And the toughest questions are saved for later on, as you might expect.

And let me tell you, it's uncomfortable to watch.

I'm not the type to force people to do my bidding (because if I did, Jessica Alba would be here and the blog would not matter), but I seriously want people not to watch this show. I'm sure there are people who would appreciate digging deeply into the psyche of the contestants, but some things should not be seen on television. This is way too real, even for reality TV.

Of course, Fox will say that they're only giving the people what they want. If they're right, we're much further along in our social disintegration than I thought. Where have we put our compassion for our fellow human beings? Seriously, this is the kind of stuff that would fall way into the TMI section if people volunteered this stuff on their own.

Perhaps more disturbing than the invasion of privacy that "The Moment of Truth" is the fact that these people are willing to destroy their lives and the lives of loved ones for money. I'm a capitalist, but even I have limits. When people's lives get destroyed in a pursuit of money, it becomes that much more important that we don't give our consent, silent or overt. Have we become so corrupted as a society that we take a perverse joy at watching the pain of others?

In a way, we've always been like that. As wonderful and moral as we think we are, we all have darker influences that creep into our minds and hearts from time to time. It's a part of human nature, but that doesn't justify our actions. We can and should strive to be better than our baser natures. "The Moment of Truth" should only be on the air for one more moment before being filed away like the bad show it is.

Of course, that would mean we'd have to stop rubbernecking long enough to make that notion a reality.

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