Tuned In

The Morning After: "Art of War. Yin and Yang."

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SPOILER ALERT: Stay far, far away if you don’t want a hint as to who won Survivor: China last night.

My rooting interests in Survivor: China ended when Jeff Probst snuffed out Peih-Gee’s torch, leaving us with bitchy Todd, his hanger-on Courtney, pushover Denise and Amanda, trailing that eternal cloud of pixellation over her butt. (I’ll admit, as a sarcastic New Yorker myself, I enjoyed Courtney, but that’s not the same as thinking she deserved to win.)

Of course, I watched the finale anyway. And yet again, while I won’t name names, we saw that those who fail to learn from Survivor history are doomed to repeat it.

In this case, the winner of a certain immunity challenge last night chose to keep the most-disliked person rather than the most sympathetic person. Have all these seasons taught us nothing? The finale jury almost never awards the million dollars to the person they like best or feel most sorry for; they vote out of respect, not pity. If you bamboozle people and own up to it, they’ll generally decide that you outplayed them and deserve the prize.

The corollary to that–which a-certain-immunity-winner also forgot–is that deceiving people and then apologizing for it at the jury only backfires. People respect the unashamed villain. They despise the player who wants to be the villain and then feel guilty about it. It has been thus ever since Richard beat Kelly in Survivor: Borneo.

Honestly, aren’t they teaching this stuff in the schools by now? What’s wrong with the American educational system?

Discussion, tactical theorizing and misquotations of Sun-Tzu welcomed. Oh, also, if any of you had more sense than I did and watched the finales of Dexter or Extras instead, have at ‘em.

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