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Copyright 2013 Walter Harris Gavin

A Hole In The Boat

When Russell Johnson, The Professor, on Gilligan's Island, died recently I immediately focused on an aphorism spawned by his character.

If the professor could make a radio out of a coconut, how come he couldn't fix a hole in the boat? 

For those to young to remember Gilligan's Island was a hit TV show which aired originally on CBS from 1964 thru 1967 and then for years thereafter in syndication. And for all I know may be playing somewhere still. The premise: The Skipper and First Mate (Gilligan) along with Mary Ann, Ginger The Howell's, and The Professor embark on a three hour tour only to find themselves lost in a storm and stranded on a desert island.  A situation comedy precursor to the faux-reality Survivor.

Not unlike these two entertainment vehicles we the public are invited to suspend our disbelief and go with the premise no matter how inane, when it comes to our American ship of state and the politics as practiced today in Washington, DC. If it weren't so critical to our collective well-being, the tragicomoedia that is Washington, DC, is very worthy of every guffaw thrown its way.

The press which plays its part will even overuse the term political drama, to heighten the tension, create for us, the audience/voters, good guys and bad guys, white hats and black, heroes and villains. Fox hypes an anti-Obama, anti-liberal message. MSNBC comes from the opposite end of the spectrum and CNN just flails and fails in its attempt to be somewhere in the middle. Major and local newspapers, magazines that cover politics, the Beltway Press as Maddow, is wont to describe her professional kit 'n kin assumes the audience will as in the case of Gilligan, suspend our disbelief. Keep reading the same ol' same ol', keep tuning in to watch the same tired story lines. But you know what they say about ass-u-ming.

John De Mol, he of Big Brother, is bringing another faux -reality show to Fox, called Utopia. Here cameras will capture 15 people as they, for one year, try to create a different society, from the ground up. From the UtopiaTV.com website:

A NEW WORLD IS COMING… WILL YOU BE CHOSEN TO CREATE IT? FOX’S NEW GROUND-BREAKING SOCIAL EXPERIMENT IS SEARCHING FOR PIONEERS TO BECOME THE FIRST INHABITANTS OF UTOPIA. WILL IT BE ULTIMATE HAPPINESS OR COMPLETE CHAOS? IT ALL DEPENDS ON YOU!

Again counting on the audience to suspend the disbelief that somehow these people will create something new irrespective of their cultural backgrounds and histories. But once the genie is out of the bottle, there is no going back. Only on TV, in books, or on film is it possible to begin anew. 

Real life doesn't possess a reset button. Real life requires us to fix the hole in the boat.