Monday, May 31, 2004

Pig Anus

Staying on the subject of TV, and continuing the general theme of nitpicking, I have a minor beef with Fear Factor.

If you pitched Fear Factor to me, I'd be genuinely enthused and interested. Take a person who is afraid of spiders, make him go through a gauntlet of spiders, force him to face his fear. Ditto a person who is afraid of heights, or snakes, or open-spaces - this would all be great entertainment. So far I'm on board.

Now watch an average episode of this show, and you're likely to see someone being egged on to eat a plate of raw pig-anus, or jump across trucks on a highway, or lie in a tub of maggots. Who can conquer their fear!

But here's the problem. Not wanting to eat dog feces is not a "fear". It's a perfectly normal, healthy attitude to have about dog feces. No one should be encouraged to tackle their fear of eating pig shit. When early man wasn't repulsed by pig shit, he ate it and died, and didn't pass on his genes. Today we are all disgusted by pig shit and will live longer for it.

So someone doesn't want to jump between moving big-rigs on a highway. This is because that someone, I think quite naturally, DOESN'T WANT TO DIE. This is not a phobia. Claustrophobia is a phobia. Arachnophobia is a phobia. Not wanting to get crushed under a semi is NOT a phobia.

Now if you wanted to have a show where people would be offered ridiculous sums of money to do disgusting things, like "will you eat this pig shit for a $1 million?", then I'm all for it. But "Who will be the first to conquer their crybaby fear of eating pig anus?" is essentially putting forward the idea that "real men eat pig anus".

So my advice: stick with the irrational fears. There's plenty of them, you won't run out.

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