The monarchy. Greyhound racing. Coal mining...
Now we can add Channel Ten's overhyped show 'I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!' to that list of anachronisms. This is thanks to the producers showing a blatant lack of respect for other creatures. Animals alive and dead are used as props and provisions for the purpose of entertainment. Something of this nature hasn't qualified as entertainment since medieval times. (Well, apart from greyhound racing, fox hunting and a lot of other things.)
The contestants in Ten's show are set challenges to complete. Some of these consist of eating strange concoctions made of various creatures. Others involve burying contestants in a deluge of snakes, worms and cockroaches. Living snakes, worms and cockroaches. While it's not comfortable for the contestants, it's probably a lot worse for the creatures, which have no idea what is going on.
Last year in the UK version of the show, Ferne McCann (no, I haven't heard of her either) ate a live spider. The show received a barrage of criticism after this incident but unfortunately not enough to bring the series to an end.
I will go out of my way to avoid stepping on an ant or anything else, no matter how small. This, to me, is true power. There is no greater power than the ability to withhold using one's power. The power to benefit the powerless. It is called respect.
What show of power is there in someone intentionally stepping on an ant? What show of power in someone with a telescopic rifle shooting a lion from a distance? This is not power but cowardice. I grant that it takes guts to ingest insects but it isn't bravery. It isn't taking a bullet for a comrade on the battlefield.
Of course I understand that millions of insects are killed on a daily basis as the result of mundane human activity. The windscreen and grille of my car are a graveyard for many tiny lives. But it is the intention which matters. And the intention of the producers of 'I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!' is the lowest form of entertainment -- the gross-out.
Take a look at what the contestants were asked to consume on their first Tucker Chewsday. Blended rats, cockroaches and worms. Even the blood of the magnificent eland antelope. And on the second Tucker Chewsday last night there was crocodile spleen and pig's snout on the menu.
No doubt the show's producers sourced and killed all of these 'meals' properly (I hesitate to use the word ethically) but still these scenes leave a bad taste in the mouth. Nothing justifies these tucker trials. If we really need to be disgusted, aren't we ingenious enough to gross ourselves out in other ways? Indeed, is there even a need for this show to exist, this ridiculous mix of idolatry and debasement?
Yes, you read correctly. Maybe the contestants' diet has a function. Maybe it has a purpose. Although it's not one that the show's producers would have intended. You see, 'I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!' might just be an accurate reflection of our future; a flash-forward to warn us of what awaits.
Let me be frank -- I'm a vegetarian, but I have no beef with omnivores. I understand our addiction to the flesh of other creatures. While I don't try to convert people to a flesh-free diet, in time there could be no choice. Population pressures will make large-scale livestock farming untenable. Angus, wagyu and veal will become the preserve of a privileged few. The choice for the rest of us will be stark. We can get all our nutrients guilt-free through vegetables, nuts and the like, or we can choose to continue receiving our daily ration of animal protein and blood-iron. Except that these things will come encased in an exoskeleton.
We are moving rapidly towards the era of entomophagy. The age of the insectivorous human. In fact, many cultures already enjoy the delights of crickets, cicadas and larvae. Just think -- there will be insect farms and genetic modification. Considering our track-record with chickens, we will probably end up with locusts, cockroaches and Witchetty grubs the size of our fists.
What we are seeing in the tucker trials is, quite literally, a taste of the future. Perhaps then, far from being an anachronism, 'I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!' is actually a premonition.
Scared? I'm guessing suddenly that kale and spirulina smoothie doesn't look so bad, does it?