Zygmunt Bauman was born in 1925, Poland. Bauman is one of the best known in the world sociologists and philosophers. His name is often mentioned as a principal creator of the concept of “post-modernism”. Bauman is primarily author of works on contemporary culture, its characteristics and in its place. Zygmunt Bauman is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Leeds and the University of Warsaw.
His books are very popular in every country – ‘Europe – an Unfinished Adventure’, ‘Liquid life’, ‘Liquid Modernity’, ‘Liquid Love: On the Frailty of Human Bonds’, ‘Liquid Fear’, which I am going to summarise, to be accurate – ‘Dread of Death’ – the first chapter in the book. Bauman, in his book, highlights the most impossible thing, to find real meaning of the elimination process in both programs ‘Big Brother’ and ‘The Weakest Link’. Bauman’s ‘Dread of Death’ focuses only on the process of eviction, which is unavoidable, every contestant faces eviction. Bauman writes that every person is an individual and ‘the whole point is that you do not need to do ‘something’ ‘to deserve’ the eviction’ (Bauman 2006: 24).
‘The Weakest Link’ is a program in which the teamwork is an illusion. There is no teamwork and only one winner who can be anyone, even if a person is very good at the beginning and people think that this person is very intelligent; at the end that person might be a loser. That is the process of elimination. People do not even know each other ‘face-to-face’. Elimination is just a process in which people are meant to eliminate person who is not good at answering questions, but they just eliminate person who they do not like or think that is dangerous opponent.
I agree with Bauman who says that both programs ‘Big Brother’ and ‘The Weakest Link’ are made only to show the big ‘spectacle of human humiliation, followed by eviction, followed by self-immolation’. There is no way that anyone will get out of it without any abasement even they have not done anything wrong. It is not about showing yourself in the reality TV because audience has the last word. It is audience and people who watch it, they make decisions who should be evicted next form Big Brother house. ‘The Weakest Link’ in turn, people eliminate within themselves.
Bauman says in one of the interviews: ‘That is the fear – that I will be thrown away from the party and that is in popular ideology – if you watch Big Brother and Lady Robinson. Lady Robinson? The Weakest Link lady. The Weakest Link is all about exclusion. In Big Brother the element of exclusion comes once a week, in The Weakest Link it is all the time.’ For Bauman, reality TV and programs like ‘Big Brother’ or ‘The Weakest Link’ prepare us for a life without justice, and death is a ‘banal’ and without meaning.
Moral tale is mainly a tale in which the rewards awaiting the virtuous and the punishment prepared for the sinners. In those reality TV programs the reward is an exception and the punishment is the norm. Bauman says: ‘The links between virtue and sin on the one hand and rewards and punishment on the other are tenuous and haphazard’ (Bauman 2006:28).