Tuesday, November 29, 2005

TV the Great Educator

TV offers up many life lessons, but it doesn't spoon feed them to us. We must forage for the lessons as we watch. For example, Who wants to be a Millioniare chock full of philosophical guidance, not to mention all the great trivia.

I watched a fat guy on the early afternoon version of the show get a simple question wrong. (Maybe I don't have to mention he's fat, but you know...whatever.) I know the question was simple because the value of the question was below the $1000 mark. He was asked which verb in the four choices is a "passive" verb. Or maybe it was which one wasn't. But it definitely was about passive verbs. A passive verb is the conjugation of the verb "to be." As opposed to passive aggressive verbs which would be "to be like my mother." The man had an idea of the answer but was not sure. So he polled the audience. They majority of the audience gave him the correct answer. But that was not the answer he thought was correct. Next he wastes yet ANOTHER lifeline and takes a 50/50. The correct answer still remaining on the board. (Supposedly it has to otherwise he wouldn't know to choose it. Yeah, exactly. Seems ridiculous to me as well. I thought when does he have to eat the bugs?) He then calls a friend. The friend gives him the right answer. Instead of picking the correct answer he proclaims he has to go with gut. Turns out his gut failed English or was too busy daydreaming about eggplant parm sandwiches because he proceeds to choose the incorrect answer. Though, I concede that only my daydreams may have been filled with eggplant.

Lesson? At first you might think it's that fat people are stupid or at least bad at determining the parts of speech. But that hypothesis is disproved by my very large, yet bright high school English teacher. No! The life lesson is that people's instincts are very wrong. That inner voice we all have, as opposed to the multitude of voices only some of us have, should not be listened to. We should ignore it at all costs! The audience knows best. That gut feeling only knows when we're hungry, and even then it can be wrong like in the case of this contestant.

In the end we learn it's best to just follow the majority of the crowd, not the full crowd because some of them didn't know the answer either. Apparently anywhere up to 20% of the crowd is completely off their rockers. However, you must not think for yourself otherwise you'll be humiliated on national TV and not even win the minimum $1000 that Millioniare sets up for its contestants to win. And then your trip to NYC from some small midwestern town was all for naught.

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