What does it say about our society - and about the social and economic trajectory of the Untied States - when the newest television reality show offers, as its final grand prize....a middle-class job?
It'll be on CBS, and I'll get to the irony of that in a moment. Maureen Callahan tells us about the newest version of Christians and lions at the Colosseum:
But for all of the exploitations reality TV has to offer — from on-camera sex to drunken hillbillies — “The Job” may be the most offensive in television history.
We live in a time when a having a middle-class job has mutated from the American Dream to a luxury, when even those lucky enough to still have one live in perpetual fear that they’ll be fired next.
“The Job” turns this massive human toll into spectacle, dangling the prospect of an unspecified mid-level position in front of desperate contestants, who degrade themselves by telling their most pathetic personal histories in the paradoxical quest to regain some dignity.
People on “The Job,” meanwhile, are competing to become paper pushers, wine slingers, bureaucrats. The first episode’s “prize” is an assistant-manager job at a restaurant.
A middle-class job has become a bone that plutocrats toss to the starving proletariat, and “The Job” is nothing more than a first-world version of “The Hunger Games.”
Callahan call this type of programming "a long con on the middle class", who are duped into feeling warmth for the big corporations who hand out their measly job, as opposed to the armies of the unemployed who walk away - every day - empty handed. And increasingly, empty-stomached.
How apt is it that this show is a creation of CBS? Last week, their flagship news show ("60 Minutes") had Barack Obama on the "hot" seat, but refused to ask him any questions about the massive long-term unemployment that has become a permanent feature of his administration. And then they bragged about not calling him out on it, or any other controversial issue of the day.
And everything CBS was trying to hide about the president, his policies, and his agenda will come into glaring focus. Most likely accompanied with more blowback and anger than a hard-hitting interview would have generated.
It'll be fun to watch. Unlike "The Job"...