Jun Dishes

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Not Quite Orwell’s Big Brother

1984

Let’s just say for the sake of this blog we all agree that the reality show Big Brother is based around the novel by George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, there’s also a Kindle version, where there’s controlled chaos and:

“…tyranny is headed by Big Brother…Big Brother and the Party justify their rule in the name of a supposed greater good. The protagonist of the novel, Winston Smith…is a diligent and skillful worker, but he secretly hates the Party and dreams of rebellion against Big Brother.”

This is according to Wikipedia, but anyone who’s read Orwell’s work will confirm that this is the premise. In the story, there’s a rigid social structure where 2% of the population rule as elitists. 13% of the population lived pretty well, compared to the remaining 85% of the lowest class population. In modern times, “We are the 85%” might work, but in Orwell’s work it doesn’t. There’s one dictator called “Big Brother,” and he controls everyone and everything.

“Big Brother is watching you.”

That was Orwell’s before it was John de Mol’s or Arnold Shapiro’s or Allison Grodner’s. Don’t know John de Mol, of Endemol? John’s short for Johannes Hendrikus Hubert, and he’s essentially the creator of the reality television series Big Brother. He first brought the show to air in The Netherlands, 50 years after Orwell published Nineteen Eighty-Four in 1949, in 1999. He’s had much success in other endeavors, and Johannes is a much cooler name than John but I understand…

BB

In the novel, “Big Brother” was some probably made-up creepy dictator who ruled by brainwash and kept the 85% drowning in the social sewers.  In the movie, which was released in 1984 of course, Big Brother looked like a total creeper indeed. In the U.S. reality television show, “Big Brother” has the voice of Don Wollman we know that. Don’s voice has the perfect voice and understanding of the game for it. Big Brother’s body though I imagine is a combination of Allison Grodner and Rich Meehan and Les Moonves. I’d say the face of Moonves, the body and glasses of Meehan, and the curly hair of Grodner. Creepy.

In the novel, Big Brother ruled by using brainwashing propaganda and morbid oppression by mind control. In the reality show, Big Brother rules by taking away everything that defines each Houseguest, and putting them on watch 24 hours-a-day, for a chance at money.

One of the best parts of Nineteen Eighty-Four is that the ending is different for every reader. It can be argued whether it’s a happy ending or and ending of gloom. So where does the viewing audience of Big Brother come in? Even if we define which Houseguests are part of the elite and who else make up 13% and 85%, where does America factor in?

Who’s actually in charge here?

Always dishing,

Jun

Dear Julie Chen

ChenMoonves

Dear Julie Chen:

I know you remember me though you’ll never acknowledge me, but I do have some words for you. Woman-to-Woman. I never liked you, and I judged you before I even met you in 2003, because of your very public affair with the President and CEO of CBS Les Moonves before he was ever divorced. Your sleeping with a married man with children in the public eye was unacceptable to me then, and it’s unacceptable to me now.

Your multiple reconstructions to your facial structure to lose your naturally Chinese features sent a message to me and other Asian women at the time, that looking more “white” is how you got ahead in life. Your drastic plastic surgeries were unacceptable to me then, but now I understand more the pressures you must have been under at the time your career needed a boost. You must have faced worse racism than anything any of these Big Brother Houseguests could throw at you or me, because I know that in a white corporate conglomerate being Asian sets you apart. Racism is closeted and hidden to the highest degree, and I don’t want to judge you anymore for what you felt you had to do to fit in to be a cookie-cutter journalist…and apple of the Moonves eye.

I remember that you were sent to Kuwait and you bombed. You did. You went over there expecting your usual bottled water, and wearing pretty sweater sets like you were about to have brunch, and not expecting sand storms all up on your lip-glossed mouth. You were only there because of your relationship with Les Moonves, but I followed you, and researched you because there aren’t many Asian women in media with the kind of klout that you have…that you can have. In a field dominated by white women, you simply were one of the few Asian could-be trailblazers.

I’ve always been harsh on you from the beginning, and everybody in the Big Brother 4 house and production knew it the season I won. I was aware of my acts when I talked badly about you during live shows when we went to commercial. I was obnoxious and rude, and took advantage of the fact that you might be able to hear me from the studio on those days as I cracked jokes about you. I remember I was asked to “take it easy” but I wouldn’t. I had so much respect for everyone on the Big Brother 4 team but I had no respect for you. I am sorry that I was such a hostile bitch then. Our exchanges were awkward at best after I’d won, and I know it was because of me. Deliberately.

When I came back with Jack in 2006 to write on the “Revenge of the Houseguests” blog on the CBS website, I was being myself then just like I am now. It didn’t go over very well with many fans online, but it did with others and I found a sample of it on Jokers. My point in this is that I also poked fun at you too…the same things I still poke fun at you about now…your hair and clothes and makeup and superficial things. You were and still are a part of the show, and you are fair game.

So a few weeks into the blog your assistant called me. She asked me if I could stop mentioning you in the Revenge of the Houseguests blog posts and I told her no. There was nothing in the contract I’d signed saying you were off limits. I didn’t care. They were just jokes about you being Chenbot.

Fast forward many many years and you are a mother. I am a mother. You are a wife. I am a wife. You are an Asian voice. I am one too, but yours is bigger. You have a child of mixed heritage as do I. I admire how you protect your son and I strive to protect my Noah too. Actively. I know it’s not easy.

I am not watching anymore. You have to host it.

Talking about “hot” topics on “The Talk” to promote Big Brother 15 is one thing and I understand the need for ratings and Poppy sightings, but Julie…can you walk the walk in addition to the talkity-talk and do something more? Please? I know you’re “normal” off-camera but I don’t care if you do something on or off any camera.

I don’t like how you got to where you got, but I recognize the impact you could have if you didn’t just “sit by and watch like the rest of us.”  We’ve seen where that’s led in history. Have ratings trumped human damage?

Represent yourself and nobody else for a moment and draw the line somewhere? Les can’t because he doesn’t have to, but you still can. If he loves you and you love him there’s nothing you can’t do, right?

Just…something…unexpected.

Facetiously signed,

Jun Song

 

 

Transparency

NoMoreBB

In the 13 hours that yesterday’s blog Big Brother Hiatus was “live” on my site, where I basically break up with Big Brother 15, it was read 15,244 times.

 

Stats

 

That’s the most views I’ve had for one article on my site in one day, let alone 11 hours. Thank you all.

It’s nothing compared to the number of actual Big Brother 15 viewers. I’m just one person, and I wrote the blog because I can’t just stop watching the show mid-summer and not blog about it. I’d be asked about “why” countless times a day for days on end on Twitter and Facebook, and really I never pass up an opportunity for a dramatic farewell of any kind.

I don’t want Big Brother canceled or dropped like some fetus brains accuse me of, but I wish CBS wouldn’t be so transparent in their cowardice of “not condoning” but very much condoning half the sick behaviors this season.

Since posting my blog in dramatic farewell to Big Brother 15, I’ve heard from fans across the spectrum. I’ve heard it all, or just about, including demands that I return my Big Brother 4 winnings and that I’m pretentious and holier-than-ye. Ye is the plural of thou, right?

I’m not trying to rally others to boycott anything, and I’m not on any kind of witch hunt. I think it’s extreme that family and livelihoods of the current HGs have been threatened and compromised. Fans can be just as bad as any HG, and fans have the means and the freedom to do more damage while the show is going on. It’s a sign of the times good or bad.

Some fans have contacted me in asking for more action to be taken to get the attention of Les Moonves and CBS, however technically HGs are not “employees” of any kind as it is clearly stated in their contracts so there is no legal argument to be made there. It’s not like the “leaders” at CBS don’t know what’s going on, and they don’t have to care until they start losing money which hasn’t happened and won’t happen anytime soon.

My “Dear Big Brother 15” letter was read only 15,244 times yesterday and as the posting of this blog today 4,000 or so more times. So with approximately 20,000 views in the last 24 hours, and only 350 of those readers sharing the blog on various social media platforms… How likely is any of it to effect change?

As a realist I don’t know what a letter to “Mr. Chen” or CBS will do, especially when the numbers aren’t adding up. As I said in an earlier blog you either hit CBS where it hurts most or you stop watching, or keep watching. It’s everyone’s personal decision, and CBS isn’t shoving anything down our throats that the public isn’t asking for.

As we all have seen, CBS has put its disclaimer out and is protected. A letter or petition of a few thousand names will never get to anyone’s desk of worth at CBS, and the millions of television viewers who don’t follow the live feeds will never truly know “what the big deal is” about the big deal this summer. Big Brother isn’t going anywhere as CBS’s summer money-maker.

I’m okay with that, but only because I’ve turned my back to it. Sadly, but surely.

Always dishing,

Jun