Saturday 2 June 2007

The Big Sickening Hoax

All for new donors

Well, what can one say? It transpired that The Big Sickening Show (de Grote Donor Show) was a hoax after all, or was it?

The show did take place the only difference the horribly expected and what occurred was that the supposed terminally ill kidney donor was just an actress and the kidney patients were in on the act.

It would appear there was a studio audience of the unshockable who participated in this charade before they learnt that not much of this was reality as pseudo-reality.

Interviews with the producer of the show indicated that 12,000 prospective organ donors had applied for a donor card - the net gain of this event is that they brought a serious issue to public awareness and this is a positive.

Some have already rationalised saying that the non-appearance of the so-called terminally ill donor means no harm was done - in fact, Endemol promised never to cross the limits of acceptable decency by making such a show.

It was a bad kite

It still leaves me unimpressed, hoax or not, there was intent and a possible attempt to completely outrage public decency - they flew a kite (they assessed reaction by being suggestive) and what is to say if there was not such uproar from sections of the public and politicians, that reality would not have been visited upon our screens?

In my book, the end just does not justify the means and in this case, if the intention was to bring more awareness to the organ donor issue, other ways of doing this might have been involved and difficult, but this shock tactic method is beyond the pale and patently unacceptable.

As an almost "vibrant" democracy, the freedom of expression is upheld and protected, but if we give the impression that there are no bounds of decency and sensibility in the exercise of this freedom, what great surprises would we be preparing ourselves for in the near future?

I can assure you, this is not the last we would hear of another edition of The Big Sickening Show genre. But if this is the evolution reality television; to stimulate debate by threatening unethical, reprehensible, atrocious and morally bankrupt human depictions on television, we have arrived a new stage of human de-civilisation and it is as far from nirvana as the East is from the West.

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