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Readers Say This Man Is an Island

August 28, 2000|HOWARD ROSENBERG

CBS is crowing about the estimated 72 million who watched at least some of Wednesday's two-hour finale of "Survivor." To put this in perspective, that means about 201 million Americans wanted no part of it.

But there I go again.

More e-mails than even George W. Bush can count poured in responding to my brilliant and flawless column pointing out imperfections in Wednesday's "Survivor" on CBS and shameless promotion of it by the network's own news minions.

Well, not entirely brilliant and flawless, it turns out. About half of those expressing opinions will not be nominating me for Mt. Rushmore any time soon. I welcome this constructive criticism, including advice to "get a new job. Your work is terrible."

Equally perceptive was the e-mailer who realized I was "just whining about the fact that people were watching TV instead of your rag." Seeing right through me, as well, was this man: "Bitter envy is so ugly."

Call me a softy, though, but the e-mail that just melted me came from a man who wrote from the bottom of his heart: "Rot in hell, you anti-American jerk!"

Rotting in hell is what I thought I was doing 8-10 p.m. last Wednesday.

The final word:


My, my, aren't we intellectually superior to the 44% of the public (at least in the Chicago area) who watched? I didn't realize there was a moral obligation of the press to limit their news coverage to their opinion of what is relevant without any regard to what viewers want. I also didn't realize I was such a buffoon for expecting something entertaining in my entertainment.

JIM MILAK, Chicago


The entire premise of the show was simply an indication of how self-absorbed and cynical everything in the "pop culture" world has become: "Let's put X number of people somewhere into a contrived environment and have them act through a series of contrived scenarios and then chuckle and/or cluck our tongues at how base or just plain silly it will all be watching them. And, of course, we can pass judgment at the same time as the soap-operatic drama is played out.

Whoever put this piece of crap together is no doubt cut from the same cloth as those who come up with the ethical questions: 10 men in a nine-man life boat--who gets tossed overboard? These things are supposed to make us "think" and examine our "belief system" and make us squirm as our comfy middle-class lifestyle is challenged by comfy Ivy class sociologists who would never moisten their docksiders to lower the boat into the water in the first place.



I found your article to be full of animosity. So CBS used its newspeople to promote the big "Survivor" finale--so what? For as long as I can remember, CBS has been viewed as the worst network out of the Big Three. They finally get a super hit and you chastise them for using their own resources to promote their hit show.

MARK HAMMEL, Reston, Va.


After about five minutes of it, I was ready to throw up, so it was turned off permanently. As for Bryant Gumbel, no reporter is he, but rather a mindless, opinionated ass. I'm a bit bewildered at the mental deterioration in the USA over the past eight years. I guess "Clintonization" has become more deeply embedded than one would have believed. Morals, integrity, truth no longer count so much, just what you can get for yourself and the end justifying the means. Kind of sad.


Charlton, Ma.


Your vituperative attacks on "Survivor" have left me disgusted, stunned and a lot of other unfavorable adjectives. Could you have survived what they did? Swim as well and as far, go without electricity and TV, be creative in finding some kind of food? Up to the challenges they were given? I'll bet you couldn't do a damn thing like that. Probably would have drowned on the way to the island.



I guess I am out of touch. After all, well over 50 million viewers tuned into the last half-hour of the final telecast. I can't help thinking of the old parable where a well in a kingdom has been poisoned to where anyone who drinks from it becomes insane. The entire population of the kingdom except for the king drinks from it and goes insane. They turn around and accuse him of being insane because he is not like them.



"Survivor" is and was rightly one of the best springboards to moral discussion that has come along since PBS' "Meeting of the Minds." Have you any idea of the amount of discussion generated by this show in the last 13 weeks? It is curious that someone who has followed so much TV cannot understand the impact and can only frame this show in terms of the quality of articulation by the contestants. Howard, no one cares about "The West Wing"; they care about "Survivor."

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