Amber Alert: And Now My Watch is Ended

I’ve borne an amorphous dread all week, too frightened to acknowledge what I instinctively knew. But it’s too late to keep up this charade. It’s too late to pretend things will turn out alright. It’s too late.

Was it me? Am I the reason for this? Something I said (or wrote)? I’m sorry, Mom and Dad. I’ll never be bad again. I love you. Please don’t do this. Please don’t split up.

Alas, the damage is done, and it is irreparable.[1] The kingdom will never be the same, for what is a king without a queen? And what of us, the royal children? Did they even think about the ramifications this would inflict on me and Princess Victoria? What the hell do they expect me to write about, Nicole and Hayden? Puh-lease.

At least we still have Daddy, Beast Mode Cowboy. He was always my favorite, anyway.

Stay Classy, Internet

Not everyone has time to watch the Big Brother live feeds. This is understandable. It is a very time consuming endeavor. So maybe these people only watch the television edit. And maybe these same people develop opinions of people based on incomplete information. Whatever, that's your prerogative. No complaints here.

But maybe you write a blog for the Washington Post, and maybe you take this incomplete information and you make offhanded accusations about a wide swath of the Big Brother cast.

This is what Emily Yahr did in a recent blog post for the Washington Post titled “‘Big Brother’: Is this the most sexist season ever?” Emily argues that the men are targeting women partly because of their issues with “blatant sexism.”

Here are the greatest hits of Emily Yahr’s thinkpiece:

1) “As for Joey, once the guys caught wind of her maneuver, they weren’t pleased — and mansplained to her that thanks to her attempted game move, she was going to be their target for the week. Never mind the hypocrisy that they formed an alliance with six men: There’s no tolerating an all-women alliance, little lady.”

Retort: I suppose it’s fair to describe the guys as hypocritical for being incensed about an all female alliance when most of the guys were in an alliance, but this is a competition. When someone (male or female) galvanizes an alliance that you and your confidants aren’t a part of, it is a threat to you. You have to shut that down pronto. That’s the game.

2) “Since then, the evictees have been Brittany — a single mom who was relentlessly targeted, likely for her refusal to flirt with any of the guys running the house . . .”

Retort: Brittany may think that this is why she was evicted, but she is deluding herself. Brittany was evicted because they couldn’t control her. And no, this isn’t the sexist impulse for men to control women; the guys knew that she was coming after them in the game, so they beat her to the punch.

3) “Instead of the guys trying to reel in Caleb and explain that he was being a creep, they decided that Amber was the problem — not only because she was a strong player, but also she was a too much of a “distraction” for their boy.”

Retort: People didn’t tell Caleb that Amber wasn’t into him, because they wanted him to put a target on his back. They wouldn’t nominate him at this juncture, but they wouldn’t stick their neck out for him either. Moreover, they did not resent Amber for rejecting “their boy.” In fact, they often joke about how clueless Caleb is behind his back.

4) “While Amber just watched him with an amused expression on her face, Zach detailed all the other ways she sealed her fate: Essentially, by not hooking up with Caleb.”

Retort: Amber was evicted because, after being used as a pawn twice, she stirred up discontent against the guys in her alliance. Zach was just putting on a show. He has no investment in Caleb’s feelings at all.

While I agree that it’s disheartening to see women perform so poorly on Big Brother, you can’t blindly ascribe all of that to Devin, Caleb, Frankie, Cody, and Zach. It is flagrantly irresponsible of someone with Emily Yahr's platform to do so. This is beyond having your own opinion. This has transgressed into outright character assassination.

I don’t know Emily Yahr, and I’m not going to pretend to have gleaned her personhood from one article she wrote. That would be problematic. That would be like, well, what she did when she labeled most of the men in the house as sexists.

And so I don’t want to turn the mob of unflinching accusation at Emily. I want to dissolve the mob entirely and acknowledge that we can do better than this. We can have a mature (and preferably factual) discourse about the houseguests that isn’t so judgmental. We can exercise empathy.

The Big Brother viewing experience need not be so sanguinary.

[1] Not even a pickle wrapped in a banana peel could salvage this. God help us.