Thursday, December 02, 2004

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, of public sociology?

The other night I was watching late night tv and I happened across a new version of "Gilligan's Island". This updated version is a cross between the syndicated television show and "Survivor" where two teams of Minnow castaways must compete for a spot as the REAL Skipper, Gilligan or Mary Ann. I was just about to turn the channel, because I've never liked "Survivor", when I saw one of the two competing Professors was named Professor Eric. Now here is the kicker: HE IS A SOCIOLOGY PROFESSOR!
Holy moley, one of our own AND he is in a heated discussion with one of the Mrs. Howell's (a real life millionaire with a net worth under 3 million) about the nature of meritocracy in the United States. That's right Professor Eric, represent! Finally a sociologist on tv in a mainstream show, sorry I don't consider "Book TV" mainstream. Mrs. Howell comes off as really ignorant in her discussion but Professor Eric is kind to her. Later we find out that Professor Eric is gay and has a life partner. He shows the other castaways a picture of his partner and Mrs. Howell remarks that she doesn't understand why gay people have to "flaunt that they have sex". This doesn't make her very popular with the other castaways.
So now I'm addicted and I am looking forward to a season of Professor Eric espousing his sociological imagination on mainstream television. He comes off as a very likable character, as evidenced by one evening when the female castaways, minus the mean Mrs. Howell, decide to dress him in drag and he totally hams it up for the men and women of the camp. All in all, things were looking good for Professor Eric and my dream of seeing sociology on the small screen.
And then tragedy strikes as a physical challenge in the form of making a boat from some spare parts and rowing it against the other team in a race. While Professor Eric seems physically fit and it looked like the team built a durable boat, it turns out the all his sociological knowledge couldn't help in constructing a fast boat. Alas, the weather wasn't getting rough but the tiny ship was tossed. Even with the courage of the fearless crew, the professor lost. Yes, he was the first survivor kicked off of the island.
So my challenge to all of you sociologists is to start thinking of what reality show you want to be a part of because it is time to get our message to the masses! Just make sure to read up on your structural engineering before you go.


At 11:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an undergrad majoring in Sociology at SIUE. I, too, was thrilled to see Professor Eric on The New Gilligan's Island and absolutely heartbroken to see him banished so quickly. After his exchange with Mrs. Howell, I was interested in what other sorts of sociological topics he was going to illuminate. I second your challenge to the other sociologists out there!!

At 9:45 AM, Blogger Drek said...

Heh. I'll bite. How about "The Surreal Life?" Sure, we aren't celebrities, but my life can't get anymore surreal, so I should do well!

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