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October 11, 2007

Kid Nation: reality TV gone too far By Gail Navarro

Daily Titan Staff Writer

It’s 8 o’clock. Do you know where your kids are? If the answer is in a New Mexican ghost town, then little Jimmy and even younger Katie must be a part of the CBS reality series, “Kid Nation.” The premise is 40 kids living without parental supervision and building a world on their own terms for 40 days. Ranging from ages 8 to 15 years old, these kids faced challenges of the emotional and physical kind, such as overcoming homesickness and cooking food for the whole village. However, the real drama took place well before the series premiered on Sept. 19, with a parent filing a complaint to the Santa Fe County Sheriff and an allegation claiming a violation of child labor laws during production. No matter how you look at it, the kids did not escape the watchful eyes of television critics, parents and the show’s creator, Tom Forman. Ever since the network pitched the idea to the media, entertainment shows have criticized the reality show for taking innocent children and subjecting them to dangerous conditions, all in the name of television ratings. It really is in poor taste but you are talking about reality television – the home of sensationalism.

Each episode is cleverly edited in a way to dramatize every situation with the colorful cast of characters. One can find the same elements in soap opera dramas and the audience cannot help but invest themselves into the show. Amidst the bachelors, dancing stars and singing nobodies, “Kid Nation” is nothing but “Survivor” with a twist. However, the twist happens to involve minors, making things controversial and a prime candidate for investigation. It all began during production in the spring. Forman’s production company, Good Time T.V. did not apply for work permits, but Jonathan Anschell, executive vice-president and general counsel, said in a Los Angeles Times article that they [CBS] did not have to because the children were not employees. Forman said that the children were willing “participants” in the show and they each received $5,000 once production finished. As participants, the children were exempt from the New Mexico child labor laws because by legal definition, they were not paid actors, according to Anschell. After filming wrapped, the parents attended a meeting upon which one mother expressed concern over her 12-year-old daughter’s burn marks that she sustained while cooking on the show. This issue reached the office of Santa Fe County Sheriff,Greg

Solano, who said in a department blog in July that the producers did nothing wrong and no crime was committed. However, the show did bring up a crime against the ethical treatment of children. Is it right to put minors as young as 8 years old on a television show in a potentially risky environment with complete strangers? I choose this time to blame the parents for putting their kids in front of cameras in the first place. They ultimately agreed to leave their children in the hands of careless reality show producers. Good move – it might as well have been Britney Spears. On the other hand, “Kid Nation” rode the controversial wave to a winning time slot on its premiere episode and 9.4 million viewers tuned it to see what the fuss was all about. Despite all the heavy criticism, the show avoided cancellation and subjected the audience to sheer silliness. I’m still trying to forget the image of kids chugging root beer in the town saloon in the last episode. As far as awarding a gold star to a deserving kid each week, it sounds like a good idea until they include a cash reward of $20,000 that supposedly will be used towards college. Haven’t you done enough, CBS? Next time, keep the kids out of this and let mommy and daddy exploit themselves on television.

Art for the Daily Titan by Rocky vidal

Reader Response: Alzheimer’s disease It was refreshing to pickup the Daily Titan Monday morning and see the article about Alzheimer’s. There are many diseases with horrible consequences but a distinct feature of Alzheimer’s is that it tears the person who has it away from everything they know: families, friends, work, memories as well as their knowledge. Because of this, Alzheimer’s proves to be even more destructive to the families involved than other ailments which is why it deserves more attention than it is given. Thinking, “It can’t happen to me” won’t prevent it. As a 20-year-old college student whose father suffers from Alzheimer’s dementia (my grandmother did as well), I know I need to keep my eyes forward to new developments in research. While FDA-approved drugs such as Exelon, mentioned in the article, may be able to help those suffering from it, there are other things that can be added to people’s diet to assist them

Wikipedia: USEFUL

is a big mistake because all article content runs the chance of being false. That doesn’t mean Wikipedia should be discounted as a research tool, If you’re going to use it, there are ways to use it responsibly. Go to multiple sources to verify what you find. The chief editors even make it easy to do that by providing sets of links to other Web sites at the end of article. There are discussion pages provided for audiences to talk about their viewpoints and what should and shouldn’t be included in whatever article. These “talk” pages are excellent for figuring out popular consensus on issues; with some valid research and some personal thought, opinions expressed on these pages can even add to academic essays. Wikipedia may be a clunky research tool, but if it serves any purpose well, it’s to spread awareness of every little thing that exists in our world, useful or not. Irrelevant data to one person may be life-changing to someone else. You, the biology major, don’t care about breakdancing, but hell if the next person, the hip-hop dance enthusiast, might be totally psyched about learning how to do the crab.

in Alzheimer‘s prevention. Since it is thought to be a genetic disease young adults who know it runs in their family should take steps now. According to Current Alzheimer’s Research (April 2005) there is substantial data indicating that curcumin (derived from the curry spice turmeric) has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-amyloid activity. Studies in animals indicate a direct affect of curcumin in decreasing the amoloid pathology of Alzheimer’s Disease and is a promising agent in the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s. Similar findings were reported in the testing of curcumin on mice with Alzheimer’s-like pathology by the Journal of Neuroscience (Nov. 1, 2001). A daily dose of curcumin can be added to a diet through the use of seasoned salt which contains turmeric. In the July 2005 issue of Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, studies said consuming enough folic acid significantly reduces the risk of



Alzheimer’s disease. Adults consuming recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of folic acid per day reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s by more than 50 percent. The National Institute on Aging (March 2002) conducted mouse experiments that suggest folic acid could play an essential role in protecting the brain against the ravages of Alzheimer’s, not to mention other neurodegenerative disorders. A daily dose of folic acid can be taken in the form of a pill, which can be found in any grocery or pharmacy store. It can also be found in foods we eat everyday (such as raw vegetables and breads). If someone would like to volunteer their time to contribute in finding a cure they need only look to the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz. org) for information. The Association’s Orange County Memory Walk will be Nov. 3 at Camp James to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s support and research. -Emily Soloman

Jake’s Take

Jake Kilroy

Hi, I’m a vegetarian, and no, I’m not actually the end of the world As Topps Meat is going out of business this week after recalling 21.7 million pounds of ground beef because of possible contamination, some suspicious meateaters are starting to think that vegetarians are either laughing or somehow responsible. I feel that since I’m a vegetarian with my own column, maybe I’d muse on the interaction between vegetarians and carnivores (sorry, that’s the best name I could go with) and clear up a few things. To begin, I’ll explain how I got into the business of soy and tofu. When I was 10, my father brought home Taco Bell (back when the company’s colors were red, yellow and green), and I was stoked for my Double Decker Tacos. Right before I took a bite, it dawned on me that my meal had once been running around, and the thought made me nauseous. I became a vegetarian instantly and have been one since. And in my 12 years of “broccoliving,” I’ve been attacked by militant carnivores and vegan extremists, but I’ve never tried to sway a single person my way. Also, the rest of my family eats meat and I don’t agree with many PETA quotes or methods, so I assure you that this isn’t vego-propaganda. However, carnivores, how did you react to me being a vegetarian? I ask because I’ve noticed that there are four, maybe five, stages of vegetarian introduction for many carnivores. Not every carnivore reacts like this, but at one point or another, just about every vegetarian goes through it: STAGE ONE (surprise): Carnivore acts sympathetic or taken back. They treat vegetarians like hospital patients (“I’m so sorry you’re a vegetarian” with a pat on the back) or cult activists/freaks (“Oh ... so ... you ... don’t eat meat ...?”). STAGE TWO (ultra-reasoning): Carnivore seems somewhat offended and tries to convince the vegetarian that they’re doing wrong, whether for religious, sci-

entific, personal or entertainment reasons. Here’s religious: “God put animals on Earth for us to eat. That’s why they’re here.” “I know, but I just don’t want to eat them. I’d rather they run around and play farm games.” “What? No, we need to eat them. That’s what God wants.” “I don’t know if we need to. I’d just prefer not to though.” Carnivore continually stares at vegetarian like he or she is the Boca Anti-Christ. STAGE THREE (fake warnings): Carnivore mockingly warns vegetarian that everything has meat in it (“Don’t eat that apple, it has meat in it” or “What are you doing? That ice cream has chicken in it!” or “Dude, that unopened bottle of water has lamb chop juice in it!”). STAGE FOUR (fake kindness): Carnivore sarcastically offers the vegetarian real meat (“Hey, do you want some slaughtered innocent cow? Oh wait, you can’t eat hamburgers!”). Evil cackling follows (sounding much like a villain from the 1990s cartoon Batman series). STAGE FIVE (total delusion): Carnivore creates wild theories and new nicknames. My brother came up with “soybeaner.” And, actually, come to think of it, my brother is a diligent employee of this heckling business. He once grew obsessed with a theory called “The War of 2011,” when he believes that carnivore and vegetarian sects will grow organized and ultra-militant against each other, and battle incessantly until the Earth is destroyed. The jokes drudge on until the carnivore has worn him or herself out entirely and falls asleep dreaming of caramel pork, while licking a spoonful of melted bacon. Carnivores, I assure you that the vegetarian heard every joke imaginable within the first month of choosing the new lifestyle. But if vegetarians make the same jokes, then they’re regarded as pushy. And then these same carnivores that whine end-

lessly about preachy vegetarians are the same ones who tell me that my diet is stupid. Later, they act as if my lifestyle is hurting theirs. They make it seem like all of their fathers are butchers and all of their mothers are ranchers, and the family business is going to collapse if I continue to eat Tofurkey. I’d also like to do a little mythbusting, carnivores: - Not every vegetarian is trying to recruit you for their leafy militia. - We don’t just sit around drinking wine, eating bread with olive spread and mocking meat-eaters. - Not every vegetarian does it just to be hip and/or pretentious. - We are not made of tofu. - We are not all hippies. When Daily Titan Sports Editor Shawn Trondsen was asked if he knew any vegetarians, he replied, “No, but I do know a guy who likes hemp a lot.” - We don’t hate America. Vegetarians aren’t in the clear either. I’ve seen vegetarian friends, acquaintances and strangers pounce on those eating meat, and then spend the next 20 minutes trying to flip them around. It’s ridiculous, and it has to stop. Loudmouths are on both sides. Nobody wants to be around, let alone listen to, a vegetarian who is constantly saying “I can’t believe you’re eating that” or “You’re supporting murder.” And nobody wants to be around a carnivore making fun of a vegetarian, as it’s a lot like someone still doing Dave Chapelle’s Lil Jon impression. The entire debate is like a less exciting religious debate, and have you ever seen an atheist convert a Christian, or vice versa? Vegetarianism is a personal choice, not a group effort. Vegetarians, stop trying to convert carnivores. And carnivores, stop trying to convert vegetarians. But if bitter efforts against each other don’t stop, I’ll see you all on the battlefield for the War of 2011.

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2007 10 11