Like many Americans, I am a big fan of the CBS TV Show Survivor. The show’s 30 season premiered last Wednesday, and the general premise has remained virtually unchanged. I think everyone is pretty familiar with the concept of Survivor, where tribes of people from different walks of life join together to compete in challenges. The team that loses the challenge is sent to tribal council, where they vote one tribe member off. The last person left standing at the end of 39 days wins the title of Survivor, and the million dollar prize.
I think it says a lot about our culture that we take people and put them into challenging conditions with limited food, no shelter and only the clothes on their back. We watch it for entertainment value, while these people endure about a month of hardship. People watching don’t really consider a large portion of the world’s population actually lives like this. Not everyone has a nice home with electricity and running water, large closets with tons of clothes, fridges stocked with food and a comfortable bed to sleep in every night. People in third world countries live their whole lives like contestants in Survivor, yet they aren’t playing for a million dollar prize, they are actually trying to survive. It is somewhat sad Americans created a show where they take people from a cushy, safe lifestyle and “force” them to live and adapt to difficult circumstances. We should be more aware of how other people around the world are living, and do more to help them. CBS could make a statement and donate money for each season of Survivor that airs to a tribe of people living in poverty to improve their quality of life. Contestants on Survivor always talk about how brutal and difficult their experience was, but people live every day like that. What we view as a game and entertainment is actually reality for people, and we should do more to help them.