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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

George Carlin Was Right... AGAIN!

One show that's kind of a guilty pleasure for me is Canada's Worst Driver. Granted, I don't go out of my way to watch it and if there's anything even half-way decent on TV I'll skip it but if I'm twiddling my thumbs and there's absolutely NOTHING on but CWD I'll watch.

It's pure schadenfreude at it's finest, watching these incompetent ninnies struggle hopelessly with the common necessities of everyday motor vehicle operations. At least it is until you stop to think about the fact you're sharing the roads with these people. And while the more extreme challenges of the obstacle courses and emergency wipe out breaking are certainly things that would tax ANY driver, in general the emphasis is on basic navigational skills and fundamental traffic law obedience, things the contests routinely fail at in hilarious and occasionally spectacular ways.

Now obviously the contestants are well paid for their appearance. No one is going to allow themselves to be utterly humiliated on TV simply for the notoriety. But the humiliation IS there and I'm certain that once the show gets down to a few people, those that remain seek only NOT to be named "worst driver". This show just finished it's 6th season but it's not a unique show, there are "worst driver" shows in many other countries, all many seasons along... except one country. Can you guess which one?

That's right, America! There's no such thing as "America's worst driver"... at least there wasn't until last year. What changed? Well something I realized a long time ago about the American psyche that differs tremendously from that of Canadians revolves around how they deal with failure. Canadians in general don't like failure but they accept it when it happens and vow to do better next time. Americans on the other hand are allergic to failure. Failure is NOT an option. So how could they ever do an American version of worst driver, a show that pits failures against each other to prove who amongst them is king of the failures?

George Carlin had the answer seven years ago: "Americans will do anything if you offer them a prize, some kind of trophy. They'll kill themselves for a chance to win a shitty little toaster oven."

And that's how they solved the riddle of America's worst driver. Each contestant happily endures their public flogging for a chance to win a crappy little prize if they pass each test.

Pavlov must be laughing in his grave...



  • There is a US show called "Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?" which pokes fun at their intelligence so I doubt that very much. Even their fear of failure doesn't prevent these people from going on these shows.

    Most people will do anything for their 15 minutes of fame. It's not just about the prizes although I'm sure that's part of the incentive.

    They want attention, respect, a sense of importance at being a status symbol, to be desired and wanted by everyone. It's an inverted way of looking for love.

    By Blogger Mind Miner, at Tue Feb 01, 11:56:00 PM  

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