Well, it looks like an extension of unemployment benefits will not be a part of the new budget deal.  Meanwhile, the long-term structural problem with employment in this country–that of jobs getting outsourced overseas–continues.  What are the unemployed to do?

There’s an obvious solution which would warm the cockles of even Paul Ryan’s bleak, Ayn Rand-infused heart.  It’s about time we had a real hunger games.  Except this one would involve only unemployed people.  They’re takers and moochers, so their lives are not worth as much anyway.  And there’s no way that any of the wealthy job creators should be risking their well-being in a competition like this.  We could have a contestant from each sector of employment which has been losing jobs to other countries:  manufacturing, high tech, call centers etc.  Just like in the movie, this would be a reality TV show–thus, getting rid of the jobless and producing a profit at the same time!  The lone survivor could get an extension of his/her unemployment benefits.  Or even better, the winner could be rewarded with a job.  Sure, chances are you would lose your life in the games, but if you’re not willing to do anything to get a job, you’re just not trying hard enough.

If nothing else, this would be a refreshingly honest proposal from Paul Ryan.  But I doubt we’ll ever see such honesty on Capitol Hill.

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So, I’m about to settle down and watch the real Hunger Games—Survivor.  I know, I know.  Bad choice, bread and circuses, and so on.

I haven’t read the Hunger Games, but I have read the basic outline of how the Hunger Games world works.  Survivor is obviously preferable, because the people on it don’t die, but still scary in its realistic little way.  In this world, people aren’t forced to compete for their life.  Rather, they volunteer to undergo deprivation and humiliation in front of the cameras.  It’s all for that cash prize, the chance to change their life.  The message that I’ve seen communicated over the years of Survivor has been very clear:  you have to be willing to do anything, and that’s *anything*, for that money.  Whether that means playing so hard in a physical challenge that you injure yourself, voting your best friend off the island, whatever.

In fact, that has been one of the most interesting and puzzling things to me about shows like Survivor.  They are supposedly meant to promote individuality and competition.  But what I see emphasized instead is complete and utter obedience.  Whatever the show producers want you to do, you do.  This is also true for the less bloodthirsty shows.  On America’s Next Top Model, the models are told to always do whatever will please the client.  Any contestant who happens to have too strong of a personality or a different opinion about a project gets rebuked or kicked off.

So yeah, I get it.  I’m being brainwashed by TV shows which tell us to do anything, to fight each other and demean ourselves, all for the chance at financial security.  But of course, I’m going to go back to watch it.  Because it’s just so easy to watch.  It goes down so smooth, brain candy full of artificial flavoring and color. 

Anyway, I hope Colton goes down in flames tonight.  I hate that guy.

Spoiler P.S.:  But I wasn’t wishing appendicitis on him!!  Seriously.