Begin, if you will, with what initially sounds like an earnest question from John Fahey, Chairman and CEO of the National Geographic Society.
During a staff meeting last fall, John described the challenge of producing television shows which don’t ridicule people for the sake of entertainment:
“How do you [make TV shows] in a way
that doesn’t seem exploitative, or holding someone up to ridicule?
How do you get the balance?”
Then, consider this new show, which is a spin-off of the National Geographic series Doomsday Preppers:
Then, watch this spoof of Doomsday Castle — and of the Doomsday Preppers series as a whole — by the very funny folks at The Onion:
Then, on the Doomsday Castle Facebook page, see the producers laugh along with The Onion at the spoof of their own show: “It was funny.”
In other words: Doomsday Preppers and Doomsday Castle is one long joke on the preppers themselves, all orchestrated by the executives at the National Geographic Channel.
In the audio clip (above), you challenged the National Geographic staff to consider a question which you presented like a Zen koan: “How do you [make TV shows] in a way that doesn’t seem exploitative, or holding someone up to ridicule? How do you get the balance?”
It’s easy: If you produce two TV series about preppers, then don’t pay The Onion to produce a parody that mocks and ridicules preppers.
It’s nasty and deeply dishonest to set people up as the butt of a joke, and then broadcast the joke to millions of people, while you and our “partners” at News Corp count up the profits.
This is a painfully cynical way to run a business. Our Society — and our society — deserve so much better than this.