Read My Lips: We Hate Them Too, Christyby Peggy Keller -- 05/05/2003
Why did seeing Christy get the boot create such a strong reaction in so many people? Yes it was a shock and other well-liked players have been booted, but none have made me truly sad for the game of Survivor. In the past, when players like Hunter, Kathy, or Elizabeth were voted out, I felt disappointed by that loss but not saddened. Watching Christy's name come up last week that fourth time was a dose of reality I preferred not to experience.
Christy, Matt, and Butch were all at least 80% in popularity on the online polls, and Christy was chosen, by far, as the one most people thought could win. She was well liked by everyone on the outside, but why did those in the game shun her? Sure she had a couple moments of whining, but nothing like the diva behavior of Heidi or Jenna. She was not obnoxious like Roger, not lazy, did not take advantage of other's good graces, played the game in a strong, smart way, and she was right, Christy did not deserve to be booted. I think when Rob approached her about her vote, she was looking for reassurance, she was saying Rob, tell me how to vote, give me another reason to vote Heidi off. Rob could have very easily gone back to her after speaking with Heidi and said, “Guess what Heidi just told me?” Instead he tossed her away as disposable, much like everyone else has this season.
I think what bothers me the most about her boot is the overall treatment she received from the tribemates. With the exception of Butch and sometimes Matthew, Christy was treated with very little respect. Her opinions only seemed to matter to people when it was time to get an extra vote for a particular alliance. It has been said that Survivor is similar to a Darwinian experiment- survival of the fittest in whatever the tribe at the time deems to be "fit." Survivor is a microcosm of society in general, except Burnett tends to choose mostly type A personalities.
If those theories hold even a half a cup of water, then our society has not grown as much as it should have in the past 30 years when the government had to force us to accept those with disabilities as being of worth. Heidi can tell her mother she has been a good girl, but the rest of the world watched the truth as she took off her clothes (unnecessarily) for food, and as she made implications that she would have sex with Jenna if she was taken to the final two.
Jenna uses tears and manipulations to get what she wants, uses sex as a weapon, and gets on her moralistic high horse when everyone knows that she is a skanky ho. Rob thinks he is playing the game, but in reality he is only playing half the game. Brian played well last year by making it all about business and nothing personal. Rob is making it personal. Yes, everyone knows he is a liar and a back-stabber, but he continually makes promises he doesn't or has no intention of keeping. The jury is filling up with Rob's victims.
Christy, who worked hard, did her fair share, and was honest (and thus voted out), was not part of the cute girl clique. She didn't get asked to eat at the popular kids’ table, she had to sit with that weirdo from shop class and the teacher. I think what bothered me the most is the humiliation she must have felt. We see her telling her boyfriend that she is in the final four, she tells us she is in control, tells Probst she is in the driver’s seat – all of which were true at that point. And then she is derailed and made to look incredibly foolish. I could almost see the pig's blood bucket on top of her head ready to come crashing down.
The funny thing about life and karma and the balance of the world is this: Christy, even though she was voted out sixth, comes across as the most beautiful of the three women. Here is Christy, who works with children, who cannot hear the sounds of the Amazon night, who is not particularly model-like HOT, and she is the one person out of every Survivor contestant yet who I would most like to meet in person. She is going to get an amazing amount of appearance opportunities from the deaf and hearing community alike.
And she is real. Her pissed-off speech when she was voted out was the most real moment of any reality television show I think I have ever seen. Most of the time when someone gets booted, they give their speech as if they just missed the green light. No big deal, not a problem, I tried my best, etc. They are always so cool even though you can hear the voice cracking and see the tears wanting to form and know they are going back to punch a wall. Christy came out and said what we all know they all feel. She was pissed, she was hurt, she did not feel she deserved to go. Christy's speech, while painful to listen to, was the only thing I have ever seen in reality TV that I did not feel was part put on.
We hate Heidi, we hate Jenna, and we don't like Rob very much either. We loved Christy because all of us have been treated the way Jenna and Heidi treated her. The same reason Clay Aiken of American Idol has such a huge fan base is why we love Christy. She is one of us. We are not swimsuit models, we are not comedians, we are not a person other people drool over. When we cry, we are told to go to our rooms or asked what is it now? We don't get prizes. When we take off our clothes, we are not rewarded with peanut butter and chocolate but someone handing us a robe. The coolest thing about this year’s Survivor is the fact that there are a bunch of little Christys running around who may never have even thought it was possible to compete with the Jennas and the Heidis of the world. Now they know not only is it possible, but they can learn from Christy's mistake. One of these days, and soon, the revenge of the nerds will be real. I only hope when Clay Aiken has the chance to dance with Jenna or Christy, that he picks the real Survivor. If Jenna or Heidi wins the whole kit and caboodle and gets to wear the glass slipper, look very closely. You will see she cut off her foot to make it fit.
Peggy Keller is Mother and Behavior Therapist to her two autistic sons and teenage daughter. She can be reached at Projectrecover@aol.com.
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