Friday, September 18, 2009

Survivor Samoa: Russell Is Evil

Note: spoilers ahead you have been warned

image This season survivor is in Samoa.  It did not take long for the antics to start.  Russell looks to be the man everyone is going to hate.  I predict he will give Johnny Fairplay a run for his money, in the most despised castaway category. He is the owner of an oil company and says that he not there for the money but to prove that survivor is an easy game to win.

Russell made alliances with women.  He told them all the same thing and then behind their back called them the “dumb ass girl alliance”.  At night when everyone was getting ready for bed, he engaged the tribe with a lie.  The man actually claimed to be a hurricane Katrina survivor.  He told them he watched his dog drown and that he lived on the roof of his house for two days, until he was rescued.  They all bought this story.  If I were there I probably would have to.  I would never imagine that someone would want to lie about an event in which so many people needlessly lost their lives.

Russell was just beginning his work.  He got up before everyone and proceeded to empty every single canteen of water and burned someone's socks.  The purpose behind this action was to cause dissention in his tribe.  Predictably Russell's team lost the immunity challenge.  As he wandered around trying to influence who got voted off he stopped to talk to Marissa.  When she told him that she did not trust him, he immediately tagged her as a threat and began to work on getting her eliminated.  Unfortunately for Marissa the rest of tribe has yet to clue into what an ass he is and they followed along and voted her off the island.

The last few survivors have been quite boring.  Though I do not like Russell as I believe him to be an arrogant misogynist, his antics will be interesting to watch until he is voted off of the show. 

In other news at the first challenge of this episode race played an interesting role. James was picked to do the swimming leg.  The person in charge of swimming, ignored the social construction of African Americans as non swimmers and made his decision based on his body build.  Mike was quick to point out how well James swam considering that African Americans supposedly can’t swim.

Elizabeth was chosen as the smartest person for her team.  In her opinion, she was chosen because she is Asian.  She commented that she did not mind if the positive social constructs of Asian people like smart, and studious were conflated with her but she worried about the negative attributes like sneaky and secretive.

Only Whiteness has the luxury of avoiding stereotypes.  The social constructions of supposedly racialized bodies exist to insure White supremacy.  Even in throw away show like survivor, we cannot escape the social hierarchy that we have woven.  As the survivors out wit, out play and out last each other, all of them will have to deal with the ways in which their bodies have been encoded. Survivor teaches us that no matter the context or circumstances, we are never outside of discourse.