Social Question

Judi's avatar

Is this a new low or has humanity always been this depraved?

Asked by Judi (39784points) July 13th, 2012 from iPhone

I rarely watch TV but I was flipping channels and landed on Repo Games
I was so appalled! They take people in one of the most desperate times of their life, when the ugliest part of them is likely to come out, and then basically ask them to perform tricks on the outside chance that their life won’t totally be destroyed. (if they answer 3 of 5 questions correctly they will pay off their car loan.)
This seems so cruel to me! When answering questions they ask these desperate people to embarrass themselves doing impersonations in addition to broadcasting their desperate rage. It seems like a new low for humanity. Am I just kidding myself? Is this a new low or has humanity always been so depraved?

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33 Answers

6rant6's avatar

I watched it once. People on the show seemed surprisingly at ease.

Having your car repoed isn’t the end of the world. It’s bad but not all that bad. Seems the chance to forestall it is a good prize. In some ways giving people a chance to retain their car is a better prize than winning a new one – we hate to lose what we already have.

You do remember about the lions in the coliseum, don’t you?

SavoirFaire's avatar

The poor have always been forced to choose between dignity and property. It’s just easier to broadcast their decision process now.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I’ve seen that show, and the participants seem a little too relaxed to me. It makes me wonder if the whole thing is staged.

There was some recent thing about how the show “House Hunters” is staged.

Judi's avatar

This is just as depraved. Have you ever had a car repossessed? I haven’t, but I know how devistating it can be to lose a car when you need it to make a living. Of course they will perform tricks if it’s their only option. I would too, even if I had to endure public humiliation. To showcase the things people will do when they’re desperate and call it entertainment seems incredably cruel.

janbb's avatar

Incredibly cruel but I think not a new low. Think gladiators, stoning, video-taping a young man’s beheading…..

Judi's avatar

@willworkforchocolate, the guy wasn’t so relaxed when he was urinating on the repo office carpet. He seemed pretty desperate to me.

DominicX's avatar

Lots of reality shows are staged and people don’t know it. Although to me, it always seems pretty obvious which ones are and which ones aren’t (you can tell when someone who’s not an actor reads from a script), so I’ll have to check this one out :)

elbanditoroso's avatar

No worse than half of the other demeaning reality shows on TV. This kind of debasement has been going on for 50 years; remember how people acted on Let’s Make a Deal or Price is Right?

Same dynamic, different twist.

But who watches that crap anyway?

Blackberry's avatar

Always been that way. Taking advantage of stupid people that need money seems to be a booming market, though.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Judi Oh, it’s definitely cruel. People will defend it by saying that the contestants are willing participants; but as you say, they’re more desperate than willing. Might as well say people with guns to their heads are willing participants. This doesn’t apply to these specific people if the show is staged, of course, and maybe it is. But that wouldn’t change the fact that the poor have long been expected to make a commodity of their self-respect.

jca's avatar

Reality shows are not reality. I’m not surprised about House Hunters.

I have never had a car repo’d, but if I were desperate, and I had an opportunity to save my car without being physically harmed, I might go for it. It’s a quick buck, and if the people want to take that route, it’s their choice. What if, for the person in question, their only other choice to get the money were slaving for minimum wage, doing some demeaning job, for an awful boss? How would that be different?

Judi's avatar

@jca, their humiliation would not be broadcast for the entire world to mock and scoff.

jca's avatar

@Judi: I understand. They always have the choice of saying no, and choosing to do a regular job or going some other route.

Judi's avatar

At that moment, they really don’t have a lot of choices. I remember how ugly I got one time in a medical clinic once trying to get desperately needed medicine for my son. The security guards had to escort me out. If I was given a choice to jump through hoops in order to get my sons care I probably would have attempted a pole dance in the loby if it would get what I needed to care for my child. No one said these people weren’t working. One of the vehicles was a tow truck. It WAS the guys work.

phaedryx's avatar

It sounds like the real depravity is the people who watch the show, who make the show possible.

Coloma's avatar

The vast prairie of depravity has a wingspan rivaling that of an Albatross.
I dunno….compared to the extreme obscenity of ” 2 girls, 1 cup”...of which I have refused to watch, ever inspite of my daughter trying to trick me on several occasions,lol….uh, nothing surprises me anymore!

That’s why I censor my exposure to the perverse and perverted. I’ll just enjoy a happy brownie and watch the little tree frogs catching bugs under my porch light, thanks.

JLeslie's avatar

I hate anything like this. I hate shows that make people eat disgusting things, do something embarrassing, or endure being yelled at in a dehumanizing way. We watch Hell’s Kitchen and I am very upset when they are given punishments that risk their health including things like carrying things that are too heavy, staying up long hours when they need rest, I just don’t like any of it.

Buttonstc's avatar

Have we so readily forgotten the three ring circus that was presented by the Jerry Springer or Jenny Jones shows ? Or what about the one where people were dared to eat gross disgusting stuff?

I don’t know that this show is any worse. Just more of the same. TV producers will exploit anybody or anything for ratings. There is no decency in that arena.

And just for perspective, lets not forget that someone ended up being murdered as a result of the Jenny Jones shows delight in humiliation for the sake of ratings. Thats a pretty high price to extract just for a few ratings points.

Is this show any more depraved. I haven’t seen it but it sounds like just more of the same from an industry with no morality. Only the almighty dollar matters. And ratings are what bring in the dollars.

Judi's avatar

It all just makes me so sad. Even asking the question draws attention to it. That anyone would find this acceptable makes my heart ache.

elbanditoroso's avatar

As long as we’re talking depravity, this has to be considered….

Nullo's avatar

Basic humanity is base indeed. Religion and culture have suppressed it intermittently, and when they do it goes from festering sand-grain to a beautiful pearl. What you’re seeing is where the laquer is chipped off.

Judi's avatar

I just keep hoping that we are capable to learn from our past. :-(

mazingerz88's avatar

Just wait till the next low where they would give expensive prescription drugs as prizes to dying patients.

Linda_Owl's avatar

I do not watch what ‘passes’ as ‘reality’ shows on tv. I have seen the ads for this show & I find it appalling. The whole idea of pitting people against each other instead of encouraging them to work together for the good of all, I find distasteful & I refuse to watch them. People are capable of so much better than these so-called ‘reality shows’. The networks that produce these shows are catering to the lowest common denominator of intelligence.

YARNLADY's avatar

There used to be a show called Queen For A Day where poor women would get up on the stage and tell these very, very sad stories about their life or family and the one who got the most applause or votes, I forget which, would get some prizes like new washer and dryer or some such thing.

jca's avatar

Maybe the people on this show (the repo show) are grateful to not have to sell some of their belongings or resort to worse things in order to keep their cars. Nobody is forcing them to take part in the show. In a perfect world these things would not be necessary but it’s far from a perfect world.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@jca Of course they’re grateful—desperate people are almost always grateful to be rescued, even if they are not particularly thrilled about what they have to give up in return. There’s even a sort of dismal nobility in what some of these contestants do to take care of their families. But that’s not the point. The fact that they are not being physically forced does not mean that they are not still being coerced, and the fact that the shows are helping these people does not mean that the humiliation is justified.

Nor is the fact that it isn’t a perfect world an excuse for not making it better. These shows could continue to exist without being quite so humiliating. They could help people and let them keep their dignity by changing the nature of the challenges or by simply making participation sufficient for rescue (especially given that they have the budget for it). That the world contains a lot of shit is no reason to add more.

Buttonstc's avatar

And in light of that observation, there’s another summer show which does aspire to altruism instead of humiliation and vapid contests.

It’s called Secret Millionaire. Check your local listings.

Basically a wealthy person (usually self-made millionaires) volunteer to go to another location and live for a week on the amount allocated by welfare for one weeks expenses.

They then go around the area volunteering at whichever non profit groups they find there and familiarize themselves with the founders and other people involved.

At the end of the week, they decide how much of their money to give to which group and individuals.

It gives ssome of these small hardworking local groups exposure on a wider scale and highlights some truly inspiring remarkable people.

tinyfaery's avatar

As compared to the Inquisition and Chinese foot binding?

The show is so banal. I save the word depraved for kidnappers and torturers.

Nullo's avatar

@tinyfaery Decadent, perhaps?
I find that it saves time to scoot “depravity” right up against the line between good and evil.

augustlan's avatar

It’s pretty damn awful, but at least no one was dying for our amusement (like the gladiators.) I will not be surprised if we get to that point again, though. Expect to see a reality show that involves death if you lose at some point in the future. :(

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