Sunday, October 08, 2006
It's funny, nearly every modern reality television show takes its format from a rather old and formerly well-known party game.
The balloon debate is where a number of people each present their own case, or vicariously presents the case of an assigned famous person, and offers justification for why he or she should not be the one selected to be thrown out of the slowly sinking hot air ballloon s othe rest of the passengers can survive.
It's interesting because where we were once responsible for entertaining a room with our own imagination, we now sit and watch other peope play what is essentially the same game, but without the intellectual exercie of presenting someone else's case, nor the interactive aspect of having the other people in the room decide whom to ditch from the hot air balloon.
In the days before mass entertainment all people had was each other for entertainment during teh long winter evenings, and games like this gave people the opportunity to show what books they had read and what useful knowledge they had gained about the person they were selected to make the case for.
The game actually reminded me of the scene from Star Trek: The Next Generation where Data was playing poker in the Holodeck against Einstein, Newton and Stephen Hawking, with the actual playing of cards secondary to the tension between the historical figures, especially Newton, to show that he was at least intellectually equal to the other players.