A show that most Santa Clara students watch is The Bachelor. There is drinking. There is drama. And on the latest season, there was Corrine. Corrine was the villain for this season and she came with a string of drama, creating something entertaining for viewers to watch. How could you not watch when a contestant asks “Do you call this is immature?”
She was crazy and over the top, constantly pushing the limits of the normal crazy seen on a reality TV show. This is all within the typical Bachelor format where she is competing with a slew of other girls for the heart of Nick, the latest Bachelor. So what do you do when you have a bunch of girls on a reality show and the hometown of the Bachelor is Milwaukee? You take the girls on a group date to a farm- or at least that is what the producers did.
Now we have 13 girls, who are probably slightly drunk, on a farm outside of Milwaukee. The girls were taught how to milk cows, feed the animals, and- the part each girl complained about- shovel manure. For many of the girls, this was their first experience on a farm and their first experience handling, and feeding, the livestock that we eat every day. And what are they doing this for? A shot at love. Or at least a relationship with Nick (for Corrinne the answer is victory).
It is not unusual to connect love and food (or in this case livestock). Every year, we walk into the store from January until the store runs out of candy mid-February bombarded with candy hearts and flowers. Valentine’s Day is the easy connection between food and love and many food choices are made because of the memories we have with it. Foods that are associated with negative experiences are hard, if not impossible to eat. Anytime I eat a cherry flavoring, I am reminded of being sick and cannot finish the food. But if the food is something that is associated with love and important people, it is hard to turn it down. Making the choice between something that is unknown or you have little positive memory with and something that is linked with love in your mind leads to an easy choice: the food linked with love. So, this raises the question: are the girls going to cut down on their meat eating because of having to shovel manure or increase their meat habits because they associate it with Nick (he is dreamy)?
But why are we so obsessed with The Bachelor right now? Maybe because, for whatever reason, it is so trendy in this moment. It is a long running reality show and goes in and out of style but it is definitely in right now. And we want things when they are trendy. Every time a new iPhone comes out, people quickly pay to get it, even if their old phone still works. We have a desire to have the latest styles and participate in the cool events that we perceive people around us doing.
And what does that lead to? That “quick fix, must have it, it’s in and trendy” ideology being applied to the way we eat. We quickly jump on fad diets to get the quick results that are promised and to look like the celebrities we see on magazines promoting these very diets. We want the perfect body quickly and without having to have a long-term solution or life style change. And we commonly see celebrities promoting these quick fixes. Or maybe it leads to the hundreds of girls that turn out to the Bachelor auditions each year not because they want to find love, but because they want to be on a show that is currently very popular. And they want to be very popular (don’t we all?).
Right now, The Bachelor is like the Starbucks Red Holiday Cup- trendy when it is in season but mocked for being overdone. But then again, Starbucks is a cultural phenomenon. The common expression for a break from work or meeting up with friends is “going to get a Starbucks”. When did a transition happen that the place to meet with someone is at a Starbucks? It has become cliché to Instagram a Starbucks cup, especially Frappuccinos, something now often only done as a joke among college students. Which is why we watch The Bachelor. It is a joke. It is a show about over 20 girls, drunk, trying to “win” a guy while having to do crazy things. This episode’s crazy thing was the farm. And it was crazy.
There was mud, there were animals, and there was poop.
Now, what was the reaction of the girls to this episode of the show? To scream and squeal and to try to get out of the work. Because, again, manure. But what did Corrine do in this situation? She walked away and refused to be a part of it. She refused to help. She refused to do the farm work.
As much as we berated her online for doing this and sided with the other girls who rolled their eyes, don’t we make this same decision every day when it comes to animals? Many people in the US have never had to work with animals, raise their own animals, or be a part of food production. I can honestly say I have never worked on a farm before. Or would know how to care for livestock at all. Why would we do any of this work when we can get everything we need at our nearest store? So, we turn our backs, turn a blind eye, and walk away and sit on a rock outside, refusing to even look at what is under the layer and actually happening.
It is easier that way- we do not see the suffering and we eat what we enjoy- in Corrine’s case, eating sushi instead of participating I the group date. It’s not easy to change food advertising. It is not easy to change the minds of people. And it is not easy to see something when we walk away whenever we get an opportunity to see it. Corrine is an example of a larger problem we have in our society. We see that warning signs of a problem but brush it off until it explodes into something we cannot control. Think of our latest election. We all saw the possibility Trump could be elected, we all saw that there were polls that place him ahead, but we continued to brush it off and pretend it wasn’t happening. We blame the election on the media, other voters, and a slew of other things, but we have to accept our own faults in the last election and not just place blame on the media or other voters. We have to be honest with ourselves. We are part of the problem, but doesn’t that imply we are part of the solution?
Look, I love Corrine. She is one of the best reality show villains. She has the best one line remarks and has a lot to say. And did I mention she loves naps?
Corrine is many things but what is most surprising about her is as much as we want to hate her and be nothing like her- she is the villain after all- we could actually see a lot of ourselves in her if we took the time to look. We walk away from tough situations, we place the blame on others, and refuse to see something right in front of us if it is not what we want. I am an adamant member of Team Corn. I love her and I love naps. But instead of watching her just because we love to hate her, maybe we should begin to watch her and reflect on ourselves. Because maybe what we hate about her is what we relate most with. And maybe this should call on us to change because walking away only works for so long as a funny moment before you are kicked off the show and walking away from the issues we face will only work so long before we get to a point where it is too much. Where we can no longer sustain the world we live in and something will give. And do we want to learn what that something is? Or do we want to take action now, scoop some manure, and realize we are all here for the same reason?