Olympian Evictions by Harper Dimmerman
The other night was fairly typical at the old homestead. A frenetic family dinner, bedtime rituals with an inquisitive sugar-crashing toddler, the casual nighttime walk with the lethargic lab, a half dozen Caribbean flavored fruit bars. Invariably I also succumbed to my wife's wretched excuse for a relaxation technique - reality TV hell. Relegated to my 10% of the stain-proof stained microfiber sofa, the uncomfortable section to boot, I plummeted headlong into the mind numbing programming abyss. Poker-faced, I naturally did what I've learned to do far too well. I simply pretended to bond with my significant other over the wicked stratagems of the money-grubbing contestants on Big Brother 10. Wait. Now before you let your sympathy get the best of you, I must concede that I was presented with an alternative. All in the spirit of magnanimity of course. A red-hot DVR’d episode of Swingtown was the other selection du jour. Aha! My Morton's Fork! In the end, I abstained from indulging in that racier voyeuristic exhibition. For some odd reason, the concept seemed so unseemly.
Anyway, the blockbuster CBS hit in which the object is to withstand eviction, continued to unfold, the same exact way it did each of the nine times before. The HOH or Head of Household challenge involved the brainy contestants responding either "True" or "False" to a hodgepodge of current events. Remember. In an ironic twist, there is no actual contact with reality while they are in the Big Brother house. So one of the claims was a reference to Beijing, also known as summer Olympics central. Apparently, the Chinese government has been cracking down on rogue cabbies. Those drivers who violate certain regulations, newly enacted just for the Games mind you, just might find themselves detained for the balance of the summer.
At the time I didn't think much of it. I was too consumed with who would slither their way to an HOH victory. And who ever said I was shallow? Well in an effort to make a positive international impression, it seems that the Chinese government has been erring on the side of superficiality lately too. Toward that end, it has been scrutinizing the accepted practices of its citizenry, even instituting laws just for the Olympics. Some of these culturally shocking mandates have been easy fodder for the media. These include the "No Spitting" edict. Apparently the government distributed millions of brochures urging Beijing commuters to opt for the sanitary bags bearing the Chinese symbol for "mucus" the next time they decide to let one fly. These were provided gratis of course. Rumor has it that a newly instituted Code of Conduct prohibits the slurping of soup, public discontent (smiles required at all times) and disorderly queuing. And of course we can't forget about the “No Dog Eating” rule. Let's leave it at that, shall we?
Now here’s another one, a disturbing statistic certain to destabilize your lawyerly existence. In preparation for Beijing’s global coming-out party, the Chinese government decided to start evicting 13,000 people from their homes monthly. Think it of it as condemnation to the enth degree. It needed to make way for Olympic improvements, the kind would be certain to wow foreign attendees. By the time the Games commenced, it was estimated that 1.5 million people would have been displaced. Let me repeat that. 1.5 million. Can you say human rights violations? Although the Chinese government is apparently quite adept at spin doctoring, the tragic reality is that these evictions typically involve the complete demolition of low income homes, frequently without any notice or even compensation. This is all happening as we consume reality TV shows like Big Brother, where competitors are evicted from a Hollywood set by majority vote. And then they cry about it during the post-eviction Julie Chen interview. Something's certainly wrong with this picture.