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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Game of Death: The Power of Television

Al Jazeera

From Time

Would they allow themselves to be cajoled into delivering near-lethal electrical charges to fellow players, or rather follow their better instincts and refuse?

In Game of Death, 81% of contestants went all the way by administering more than 20 shocks up to a maximum of 460 volts.

One cent:

The effect television has on people alone is not enough for us to draw conclusions on why we humans will submit ourselves to authority. And more often than not, be led down a precipice. We all know we are under the spell of a gigantic manipulative power that keeps us glued to the latest drop of dirty gossip oozing out of TV screens.

Surely in Academia, scholars have devoted countless hours of their time to study the phenomenon. If you are one of those highbrow readers who are already in the know and condescendingly allow a certain measure of Reality TV to waft into your living-room, as here in Brazil, with our yearly dose of the Big Brother Reality Show, you would be hard pressed to spot anything new in the Game of Death.

It is just what the media critic at the end of the Time article says, it is a confluence of factors that are to blame. As the Reality Show in French TV has just aired, we do not know yet its ill or good effects on what is considered one of best read cultures in Europe.

Now, scary as it seems, if the results in the article indicate that upwards of 80% of the contestants in the shows were "trigger-happy" to administer electric shocks when the subjects answered questions incorrectly, there is very little I can add.

I'd much better turn to Poe for entertainment. I will be in the right hands.


  1. I did not get out of the article that it was TV that was the culprit but human nature. This was just a way to showcase how it happens...very Poe like. Can you imagine how it felt to be in the audience watching? Or the contestant pushing the button? There is a horror story in there somewhere.

  2. Yes, Poe-like! Nicely put, Happy. We seem to have that dark side...

  3. Happy Hour is right Mauro, this is seems to be pulled right from a mind like Poe's. It's insane what we will do to each other.

  4. Heaven's forbid, Kyle! But history...