Wednesday, February 14, 2007
What Are the Odds?
I have done a lot of confessing over the last couple of years; however, I have yet one more confession to make. I love quiz shows. I like the challenge of trying to answer correctly questions from a variety of categories. Besides, it gives me something to do with the useless and trivial knowledge I hold onto in my head(despite my ability to maintain much else in there). I was watching the newest quiz show 1 vs. 100. For those of you who have not had the pleasure, it is a show where the contestant is asked a question along with a "mob" of 100 people. The goal is for the contestant to continue answering questions correctly while eliminating members of the mob who answer incorrectly. Of course what kind of quiz show would not include money, drama, and suspense; however, the questions do not register a high level of difficulty and are based more on pop culture. Interestingly enough, some of the mob may be of a specific trade, or may be models from a specific product line, or there may be celebrities, etc. A little something thrown in to make it interesting I suppose.

I enjoyed this show until I noticed on two occasions the way in which attention was brought to the expected probability of whether or not a person of a given trade would or should answer correctly. For example, a large number of mob members were teachers (K-12). The expectation was for the teachers to hang in there the longest providing correct answer after correct answer, because, as we know, teachers know everything, right? Not so. In fact, the group of janitors lasted longer. Imagine the shock and the shame of those teachers to be beaten by janitors. Of all people! For the record I teach only part-time and at the college level and by trade I am a government professional, but isn't that an oxymoron (did someone say moron?).

I can still hear the applause for the avid reader who made it to the final four. What a shock to see such success since he was a room service waiter. How could a room service waiter possibly know if Lindsay Lohan has had a DUI? Or if Larry King has been married more times than King Henry VIII? Really? Aren't you still finding it hard to believe that a room service waiter is an avid reader? Ugh . . .

Sure, it is kind of fun to know if a teacher can pass a quiz, right? But isn't it a sad comment on society that we are a surprised when a waiter can succeed on a game show? We are full of stereotypes whether it be gender or class or race or appearance or anything else. We tend to categorize people into boxes and make assumptions about their abilities or whether or not we will like themlong before we truly meet them. Not only does this show encourage stereotypes, it promotes stereotyping as acceptable behavior. Oh, but not completely. It wouldn't be so brash as to have a Middle Eastern mob expecting them to answer questions about making IED's or having a mob of homsexual males answer grooming questions. In fact it picks on the less broad issues, yet still the the issues that further drive communities apart and encourage classism. You know, the things that drive the ratings right up and increase revenue from commercial sponsors.

The only thing that would make me dislike this show more is to see the mob filled with breast cancer survivors in October. Or worse yet, a mob with various groups of cancer survivors. Because you know that breast cancer survivors would easily take those pesky testicular cancer survivors.



In case you were wondering, no, Lindsay Lohan surprisingly has not had a DUI and it is Larry King (7) who had more wives , though he didn't behead them like King Henry VIII (6) - at least not yet anyway.

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Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
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Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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