I have spent enough time watching the new reality TV to come up with a few conclusions: 13.2 minutes spent on Survivor One determined I didn’t care if any of them survived. I watched less than 10 minutes on Survivor Two, heard one of the women complain about having nowhere to go to satisfy herself - just enough time for me to hope she was planning to do it with a loaded revolver. I also learned that reality shows make huge amounts of money and that North Americans love them. Two things our association and sculptors in general need.
Why not take all the basics of a good reality show - problems with food, shelter and apparently self-gratification, and mix them with all of the possible hardships of a really, extreme symposium. In the next few (ok, it’s endless) paragraphs I will outline to the networks my idea.
Concept: A two-month extreme symposium - June-July. Anyone caught complaining gets thrown out. Members will drop like a post-40 year old’s eyelids until only one stout-hearted (or brain dead) carver remains.
Players: Two teams of 40 carvers each – all experience levels. The Chippie-Ka-Kas and the Ego-Run-Amoks.
Viewer Sex Appeal: Remembering the median age of most carvers appears to be approximately 64, thong swimsuits and Speed-Os are, of course, optional. [Note to Network: Most females do not, however, wear bras under their tank tops so the normal male 12-34 year old viewership is still insured.]
Setting: A remote San Juan Island. Contestants will be shipped to the island and then required to hike inland for 8.3 miles to the site of a former tuberculosis sanatorium/boy scout camp, built in 1953.
Food: The only staff at the camp is the original cook. After 47 years at one job, the cook is very experienced with mass feedings. (Cook has been known to say, “weenies is my specialty.”) There will be NO SPECIAL DIETS. All soy products, bottled water, designer coffee and dark chocolate are forbidden. Salads and desserts will all contain marshmallows, pudding products and Jell-O. All vegetables will be canned with a heavy emphasis on succotash. [Note to Network: Because of the high representation in the viewing audience, vegetarians will not be allowed to starve - there will be a Macaroni Surprise night every three days. Vegans will have to live entirely off bark, but because they are in direct conflict with 93% of the sponsors, their feeding will be done off-camera.]
Sleeping: For the first and wettest month, all will camp in poorly ventilated single person tents. Month two: all will sleep on the second floor of the poorly ventilated tuberculin ward, on metal bunk beds with the original mattresses, 16 to a room, divided by gender. Baked Bean Surprise and Cabbage Carnival nights will be no exception.
Supplies: All sculptors will carry in their total tools, clothing, sleeping, dairy substitutes and vitamin/supplement supplies. Carving canopies will be provided and they will consist of four large blue tarps. Poles for their construction will come from discarded Boy Scout Jamboree badminton tournaments. Duct tape will not be allowed.
Stone: Vendors will consist of a retired couple who “hound pretty rocks” from their RV, and a dry river bed. [Note to Network: Again, anyone complaining about color, cracks, size or lack of “spirit” in their stone will be tossed immediately off the island.]
Carving: The first month will be entirely power tools - eight hours a day, seven days a week, on stone provided by the has-been river. The bigger, the harder, the better, is the motto. Month two - soft stone only from the happy RVers, and hand tools. [Note to Network: For both sessions, every piece has to be polished, thus again eliminating all but the most hardy.]
Alcohol: None for the first 30 days and then required margarita night, followed by wine-out-of-a-box.
Hours: First 30 days: Up at 5AM; in bed at sunset - no exceptions. Night people will be strapped to their beds. [Note to Network: Potential problems to follow - mold growth because of constant morning dew exposure. Photo Op. - first perky morning person to get scalding coffee thrown in their face.]