TV Is Very, Very Bad

Television will rot your mind. Really it will. I say that knowing that it’s too late for me. But go on — save yourself.

With that public-service message out of the way, let me just say that life has finally regained a bit of its equilibrium. I’m working some, everyone in the family is healthy and happy as can be expected in the age of Bush, the Sequel, and the new season of “Survivor” has begun.

This installment is set in Palau. The producers are playing up the area’s heritage as scene of a bitter struggle between the United States and Japan during world War II — including a long, savage and perhaps needless battle on the island of Peleliu (the subject of Eugene B. Sledge’s memorable “With the Old Breed“). Lots of striking video of shot-down planes and wrecked ships. It’ll be interesting to see whether they talk about how awful the fighting really was. Probably not.

Too early to come to any conclusions about the new crop of people, although the producers did throw in a couple of mean tricks right from the top. They sent 20 people out to the islands instead of the customary 16 (or 18 who have appeared on the last two installments). Then they devised a way to choose up sides after everyone had been there a day or so, with a provision that only 18 of the 20 would get chosen; two people would get sent home right then and there. So, if anyone had been getting on the group’s nerves, they were gone. Of course, there was one middle-aged woman who, apparently to show her individuality and mettle, had shown a predilection for bursting into tuneless, self-composed “Survivor”-related arias. She was eliminated, along with one young guy who just seemed like a cipher. Bye!

An immunity challenge wound up with a third person sent packing. Again, it was a woman who all but campaigned to get voted off by assuming the role of her tribe’s boss. I sympathize. The idea of competing on “Survivor” is actually attractive to me — just for the show biz, not the million bucks. I’m just afraid I’d get spotted as the biggest jerk on Day One and voted off first, too.

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