I’ve always been of the opinion that reality television shows are one of the greatest anthropological tools at our disposal in the modern age, but even I was unprepared for some of the nuggets coming out of the fifteenth season of Big Brother right now. Yesterday we caught you up on the racism controversy that’s swirling around several members of the cast, and now we have an update for you on one of the ringleaders, current housemate Aaryn Gries.
If you’ll recall, Aaryn is that sparkling gem of a human being who refers to homosexuals as ‘queers’ and seems to particularly enjoy doing impressions of Asian-Americans and telling her Asian housemate to ‘go make some rice’. Very classy. Her behavior as recorded on the twenty-four hour live feeds has been inappropriate enough to actually get her fired from both her jobs at home — one with a magazine, Bella Petite, and another with Zephyr Talent Agency, both of which have issued statements expressing their disapproval of her comments and distancing themselves from her.
Pretty standard racist comment cause and reaction sort of thing, right? EXCEPT. Since Big Brother airs live and the cast is sequestered, there’s no manager or publicist or crisis manager to jump in front of this and tell Aaryn what to say to get herself out of it or lessen the media backlash. So instead we get to watch Aaryn, a confirmed bigot, go about her life in the little reality TV biodome as normal, completely unaware that the nation has turned against her and that she’s lost both of her jobs because of her bigoted views. It’s a golden opportunity to observe an unfettered racist, so grab a bag of popcorn and make the most of it.
[UPDATE: Want to watch the moment Aaryn first hears she lost her job? (Yes. You do.)]
Even though she can’t be contacted by anyone outside the house, Aaryn has been approached by another HouseGuest, Amanda, who tried to save the twenty-two year old from herself, saying:
“I think that you’re joking any time any sort of racial thing comes out of your mouth, I do the same thing. But I think the people that are a different race are taking it offensively. There was a conversation downstairs with Howard, Candice, and Helen and [...] I don’t think that you’re racist at all, but I don’t think that they know that you’re joking. [...] People look for any sort of excuse to villainize you, so just be careful. I want you to know, just so you are more mindful of it.”
Could definitely have been harsher, given Aaryn’s impressively offensive comments, but a step in the right direction, yeah? Aaryn might’ve even responded positively to it if she’d been outside the reality bubble and not surrounded with other enablers like GinaMarie, who’s embroiled in a similar controversy for her use of the words ‘fag’ and ‘nigger’. Here are some things that Aaryn has said in response to her conversation with Amanda:
“I think that is the most immature thing ever. They call me Barbie and all sorts of shit about me being blonde all the time, so what’s the difference? People want to paint an ugly picture of me. Any good thing that I do, people want to turn it like I’m doing it for an ulterior motive. It’s like no good deed goes unpunished in my life. Why is it okay for them to make comments about my attributes and my background and my life, and [Amanda] goes because there’s no history of going against blondes. And I’m like that’s not fair.”
That’s a really good point, Aaryn — the blondes of the world have a long history of persecution in our society for being universally (and inexplicably) perceived as being more beautiful than others, and it’s not fair that you have to shoulder that burden alone without being able to cast slurs at your fellow minorities. Thank you for bringing this vast injustice to national attention. Aaryn also refers to Howard, Helen, and Candice as a ‘minorities alliance’, so it’s definitely safe to say she’s learned her lesson. RIP human decency, viva la behavioral science, and I’ll see you on the live feeds, bigots. Sigh.