This entry will only be interesting if you watched Survivor.

So, I’m still reading the Survivor book and it’s seriously fascinating. It’s interesting because the author (the producer of the show) doesn’t just recount events. In fact he leaves out a lot. He spends more time doing analysis, talking about motives and feelings and stuff like that. It’s likely speculative, since he can’t really know, but it’s fascinating regardless.

Anyway, it’s given me a lot of insight. First of all, I hate Sue. In her first two tribal councils, she went in telling people that she would form an alliance with them, and then when it came time to vote, she backstabbed them and changed her vote (with Sonja and Stacey). She’s just evil – it angers me.

Another interesting thing is that Dirk really was kicked off because he was a Christian. Or so outspoken about it. But, it’s really interesting what the producer has to say about it. He says the reason people didn’t like it is because it made them feel worse in comparison. Here’s the passage:

Dirk’s demise was probably a few Tribal Councils off. But it was sure to come, for he was beginning to annoy Tagi. The reason was his Christianity. There seems to be something threatening about a devout person of any faith to non-believers. It’s as though a mirror is being held up to their faults. They feel judged. Whenever an individual closer to life’s ideal state comes in contact with those drifting further away – a physically fit person in a room of smokers, a mentally balanced person speaking with someone fragmented and dysfunctional – that person is quietly scorned as a reminder of imperfection. Thus the universal dislike for those seeking a higher plane. Mankind, by it’s very nature, is an imperfect animal. It’s easier to revel in imperfection and mock those taking the bold step towards improvement than to actually attempt the step.

I don’t completely buy it, but there’s a grain of truth in that and that analysis of Dirk’s situation was, to me, fascinating.

The book doesn’t really slam Dirk as being a stupid Christian, by the way. He pretty much comes across as sincere and devout, even if people don’t agree. When he got kicked off (and he knew it was coming) he left his Bible behind, so his teammates could find it and read it. Interesting thing is, a couple days after he left, they did find it. And Rich read from it for like an hour, as Rudy and Sean listened nearby. Fascinating.

He has other fascinating analyses as well. Like the difference between Tagi (Rich’s tribe, which was evil and formed alliances early) and Pagong (the more youth dominated tribe). His analysis of Pagong is really interesting.… they [Pagong] were a fragmented assemblage of individuals. Gretchen had the depth that came from raising two children, but she was growing less verbal with every passing day because her age and outspokenness made her vulnerable. The others had all come to Pulau Tiga with almost cold-blooded expectations of winning. While the Tagi were bonding and working as a family unit, Pagong circled one another warily. They made a great show of unity at Reward Challenges and Tribal Challenges, and they hiked occasionally to one of the mud volcanoes to slather each other with therapeutic mud. But they were pretenders…. No one person annoyed Pagong. Rather, all of Pagong annoyed Pagong.

That might have been enlightening if the tribe displayed some genuine emotion like rage or hatred. But they liked to pretend they were a happy-go-lucky clan, even though their camp consisted of just a lean-to and latrine, they’d caught only one small fish after dozens of attempts, and everyone was slowly starving….

Even salt and pepper sounded otherworldly. Their rice diet was tasteless and unchanging. Dinner hour conversation invariably included a sentence beginning with, “Wow, if only I had something to spice this up…”

Yet they were so caught up in pretending to be happy that they were unable to drop their disingenuousness long enough to actually earn their coveted spices. The next day’s Reward Challenge… asked each team to prepare a distress signal on their beach. The winning team would be the one with the most distressful signal, the kind of signal that would leave no doubt they were stranded on a deserted island and needed to be rescued….

Tagi, the family unit, carved a large “SOS” into the beach. An arrow made of driftwood and sea shells bobbed offshore, pointing to their location. They also planned to light a signal fire, use a piece of metal to reflect sunlight onto the plane, make a large arrow on the sand, and even don their yellow rain jackets and lie on the ground in a circle. Their heads would be in the middle of the circle, with their bodies extending outward like the rays of the sun. To enhance the effect, they would move their arms and legs in unison, creating the sand equivalent of snow angels.

Pagong built a happy face.

Fascinating analysis. But this is the passage that blew me away. It takes place a couple days before the two tribes merged.

Richard had a dream. He was on the Sand Spit with a man. Things were white hot, with lots of wrestling on the powdery earth. The tide lapped against their tawny bodies. The dream was vivid, with dialogue and in Technicolor. Sweat. Friction.

But it was pitch black when Richard woke up in the Tagi hooch, staring up at the nipa leaves lining the ceiling’s interior. His four tribe members breathed silently. Their bodies were pressed close on the Phillipine mahogany floorboards. With a sigh, he realized the fantasy wasn’t real.

He willed himself back to sleep, but couldn’t wait for morning. In the morning he would share the dream with Sean. For Sean had been the other man in the dream.

The new crush posed a dilemma for Richard. His artfully crafted alliance did not include the bright young neurosurgeon with the shaved chest, nipple ring, and careful stubble. Since it was almost certain Tagi would succumb to the Pagong juggernaut at the coming Immunity Challenge, Tagi would have to vote someone off. WIth Richard, Sue, Kelly, and Rudy all firmly ensconced in the alliance, that someone could only be Sean.

But he was so cute.

It goes on to say more about Rich’s crush on Sean. He actually does tell him about the dream. I don’t know, the show didn’t give a hint of that at all. But, it goes a long way in explaining why Sean lasted so long in the show. Rich had a crush on him. Whoa.

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