What are you watching on TV? – Maybe it’s a survival program which gives you lots of fun feelings and a deep impression.
It is true that an argument could be aroused for a hot TV show due to a small mistake. People enjoy such a show and they keep watching out for a similar occurrence at the same time.
Programs under the singing contest format are also riding high for this reason. Even though such an occasion rarely happens, there was a mishap. The executive producer made light of one element which people were interested in: fairness! One rejected singer asked producers to let him challenge again, and his request was accepted.
Many viewers lashed at his behavior angrily. It was natural for them to become enraged because the program was considered to be focused on having a fair rule. Issued posts were covered on the show’s official homepage for quite a while. The program was suspended for a month after that happened.
Things seem to have proceeded cautiously concerning viewers’ eyes since then. This, along with other ensuing happenings of singers’ re-recording or suspicion of unfair favors, implied which set of values people have. Viewers just wanted the program to keep its principles. They were touched by singers’ beautiful struggles and thought the competition should be executed fairly in a survival system.
Isn’t it the same in reality? There is a law of regulation in SSM (Super Supermarket). SSM, which is a medium-sized store amongst large discount stores and small ones on the street, is run by a large company with a large capital. It has threatened local merchants since 2006, when some major companies planned to open their SSM in every part of a town. Many small traders protested against SSM, going on a hunger strike. In the end, the relevant law passed through the parliament in May of this year. SSM’s showing up caused lower income for local traders and forced them to give up their jobs. Small local traders couldn’t match SSM on survival.
Here are some laid off workers. A shipbuilding company in Busan had laid off over 100 workers early this year. It was said that the company suffered from a financial problem. However, the company ascribed the difficulty to workers who weren’t related to company management while the executives of the company took huge amounts of stock dividends. The workers started sit-in protests for several months and the company called governmental powers. Meanwhile, there were the tears an old welder who received a birthday cake from his daughter. He confessed he felt pity for his poor fatherhood. The dissention got worse as the political community began to intervene.
People tend to find some connections when they are in trouble. The connections sometimes work out well for personal requests or paying expensive costs. If one faces competitors on the same level as him, it will play a decisive role for him no matter how tiny a connection he has. People often believe relying on connections is more comfortable to solve their problems and win their survival, beating others, which is rather unfair.
The TV program described above has the title of ‘Seven Person Survival’. Remarkably, life is about everyday survival for common people instead. Here is the problem of survival. Most individuals have failed to compete with major companies. This idea already permeated to every street nearby. As in the above story of the shipbuilding company, a worker doesn’t know when he will be laid off or what excuse he will be given. Even though the unfair dismissal goes through a so-called reasonable process, it does not justify the problems in his life.
Roger Caillois, a French intellectual, said competition (agon) is the one of the four fundamental features in playing. It presupposes some psychological motives. Enthusiasm for TV survival programs which include competition is one of the ways to express an intricate desire of the contradiction in which people want to be victorious yet also escape from the reality filled with never-ending competition.
Privileged classes are not faced with such a rivalry. They are loath to play the survival game. They invade local business areas where small shopkeepers can seldom compete with them from the very first time. They also shift responsibility onto the worker with their authority. It is hard for an individual to win a legal battle with a large company and high executives. This is because they can’t even get out of the blind spot where privileged men have no rival to match for them. They can’t compete there. This could be called a ‘foregone competition’.
In fact, a game of survival with fair rules like in the above TV programs hardly exists in reality, and such a true competition is rarely seen. People believe competition must be fair. However, when we watch TV shows or news or realize abruptly what we interested in, that belief sometimes tells directly or indirectly that a fair competition doesn’t exist as expected; as described above, they don’t compete in the blind spot.
This is the one reason people like a survival match, which lies in an ideal frame: fair competition.
Park Cheol-hui Reporter