Social Structures of Accumulation

Jim Farmelant farmelantj at
Fri Sep 7 02:47:37 MDT 2001

I know that "The Weakest Link" is a show that exists in various national
incarnations.  When I was in Europe I saw a German version of the
show that was virtually identical (down to the dominatrix-type female
host) to the American version. (There is also, BTW a German verison
of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?") Most of these shows (including
I believe originated in Europe .  Whether this is supposed to be
or the erosion of European social democracy, I will leave to others to

Jim F.

On Fri, 7 Sep 2001 09:53:30 +0300 "Michael Keaney"
<Michael.Keaney at> writes:
> Jim Craven writes:
> For those who haven't seen it, "The Weakest Link" features a woman
> playing
> [and perhaps really is] a vicious and nasty shrew (sort of a
> dominatrix
> dressed always in black)
> =====
> If this is Ann Robinson, then, yes, pretty much as you say. She used
> to
> write a poisonous column in Robert Maxwell's Daily Mirror, and has
> fronted various consumer-style TV shows for the BBC. Apparently her
> daughter was so fed up with her that she emigrated to New York to
> escape. Recently she was interviewed bemoaning the latest US TV craze
> featuring her mother.
> You continue:
> I wonder if in Europe and Japan a rash of such type
> shows is emerging and taking hold or if these types of shows are more
> culture-specific to the U.S. where open rat-race individualism and
> naked
> social darwinism is the State religion and more openly celebrated as
> the
> desirable norm or central ethos of bourgeois ideology.
> =====
> During the 1980s, self-styled intellectual and man of letters ("I
> learned German reading Proust") Clive James fronted a "let's laugh at
> foreign TV" show imaginatively titled "Clive James on TV". Every
> week he
> featured an episode of the Japanese game show "Endurance", in which
> intrepid contestants were taken around the world every week and given
> some awful task supposedly in keeping with local tradition. For
> example,
> one week they were in Egypt where they were stripped down to their
> shorts and instructed to do hand-stands leaning against sheet metal
> panels in the blazing desert sun, while a little Egyptian boy went
> from
> contestant to contestant with a magnifying glass torturing each one
> by
> refracting the sunlight on their nipples. The following week they
> were
> taken to Holland, where a large container full of ice water was laid
> on.
> The contestants were, again, stripped to their shorts, and told to
> sit
> in the container, in the open air, in the middle of a blizzard, and
> drink as much lager as possible without going to the toilet. Ad
> nauseam.
> There was even a "junior" version of the show, in which children had
> to
> do such tasks as crawl through mountains of maggots, etc.
> The phenomenon of "reality" and sadistic TV has been around for a
> while.
> In some cases it may be that Japanese TV has actually led the way,
> however, given the time it has taken for certain establishment
> sensibilities in the UK/US to erode.
> Michael Keaney

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