The Big Brother franchise is a show that is both interesting and painful to watch.
Created by John De Mol (who was probably impressed by the genius of Michel Foucault and George Orwell), the reality show franchise pits people into a Battle Royale. The participants, fortunately (or unfortunately, as I may not know how much you love or hate the shows), do not have to kill each other the same way the characters in Koushun Takami’s novel did: they will fight over the viewers’ votes.
The franchise propagates itself the same way McDonald’s does, targeting audiences who want to see something different yet entertaining to knock exhaustion off their battered bodies. Moreover, nothing sates people’s interest over the lives of pretty faced individuals more than a long, 24-hour-non-stop-OMG-you-can’t-even-take-a-shit-in-piece exposure to the camera.
Now, the Philippine incarnation of the franchise is a tad funnier, as people use it as a springboard to a good life (that good life being a life of acting and smiling and many acts of bringing foods up a posh condominium complex). The current roster is currently waging a getting-to-know-you phaseHopefuls who want to smush their faces with the camera present funny explanations too. The funniest one I’ve heard so far is this:
Gusto ko pong makilala ang sarili ko (I want to learn more about myself).
Nothing exposes the problems, imperfections, and hidden personalities of people more than a camera constantly making you feel like you have a ton of books to balance on your head during rehearsals for a pageant that turns straight men to drag queens for a day/night. I boldly declare that knowing yourself through Kuya‘s watchful eyes is bullshit.
I hereby suggest better paths to tread the road towards self discovery:
Don’t be afraid to fuck up
I know what failure feels like. I have failed a lot of people, including my parents. I went through so much failure that I have practically taken failure on a date at least twenty two times, met her parents, and passionately expressed my desire to stick with her for all of eternity.
Now that I am 22 and working, I know that these failures made me understand myself better than before. The humiliations and failures I went through made me more aware of my weakness. It helped me make somewhat better decisions in life.
If my failures helped me grow up without having a camera constantly smacked to my face, there’s no way in hell you can tell me that Big Brother is the only medium that helps you grow. Life is wonderful in such a way that it smacks you in the face a thousand times, but the pain you gain swells inside you to become something significant, beautiful, inseparable from your person.
Talk to people who fucked up
If you’re too much of a pussy to break your streak of flawless perfection, then talking to a ton of people who messed up might help you understand yourself. There are a shitton of people out in the world who went through different phases of shit, and the things they talk about are things to behold. Of course, you have to sift through a stampede of useless blabber, but the most moving, heartbreaking stories can stir your emotions and take you through an emotional roller coaster that’s more exciting than the fanfare Big Brother offers.
The difference between the two forms of excitement? These people actually exist, and there is a more compelling feel to their stories. They’re not delivered through a television screen, cut into prime pieces meant for mass consumption.
Meditate (try the Holy Path, maybe?)
Of the people I have met, those who are surest of their identity are those who have spent a significant amount of time reflecting on what really mattered to them. These people may have gone through a more secular, philosophical route, or have tried dabbling in the Word of the Lord/Allah/Buddha/Hare Krishna/Shinigami/Naruto/Chicser. Regardless of the process that took them to get there, I found that these people are the ones who are most certain and comfortable in their skin.
My second Theo 131 professor (who is now a Jesuit priest) talks in a manner that you don’t see nowadays: soft-spoken yet firm in his convictions. The voice that he chose to communicate to people with is something that is particularly odd, as people nowadays do their darndest to stand out and be heard. The smart thing is his style worked: I earnestly listened to him, to understand what he is saying. What I got from him is a certainty that countless Big Brother hopefuls have been searching for all along.
There, I have just given you ways to know yourself better without having yourself exploited by cameras for public consumption. If you still plan to push through with auditioning for the next season, best of luck to you. May you find what you’re looking for under the scorching eyes of the camera.