7 hours ago
[T]he tradition of the victim inevitably requires that some measure or other of personal misery and distress be, if not exploited, then at least exposed. The justification for such exposure is the public's right to know as a species of public good. Yet if no, or little, social effect can be demonstrated, how can that justification stand? (Claiming the Real, 46)
What Top Chef viewers are saying back to the producers is that they’re not content to watch the show in a deeply ironic, postmodern fashion, knowing that it’s-just-a-reality-show and that whatever they’re seeing is simply the storyline that the producers have decided to show them. Instead, they’re claiming that at least some past competitions have had the virtue of authenticity, that the people and the food and the emotions have been real, and the reputational stakes have had genuine meaning in the careers and lives of the contestants.