Disclaimer: I, in no way shape or form, have a personal problem with said Johnny Bananas. I’m sure he is a perfectly nice guy. But that is not the issue here.
Rewind your mind back to high school.
- Who got invited to all of the parties but was kind of a dick?
- Who was always voted in as president even if he was super unqualified?
- Who was the trouble maker but never got caught?
Answer: Johnny Bananas.
(Not in every school – we’re talking about a persona)
If you have ever watched MTV’s Real World / Road Rules Challenge, this name might sound familiar. Johnny Bananas is that guy from high school but on a competitive reality show and just as these shows are a mirror of high school, I also think they’re, unfortunately, a mirror of America.
For those of you who don’t know JB, he is a pretty steady figure on MTV’s challenge shows. While at times charming (like most politicians, heads of big companies, or people with power), he is sneaky, smart, and will throw you under the bus (unless you are truly one of the insiders, the himsiders). Sound familiar (like most politicians, heads of big companies, or people with power)? But what really boggles my mind is that people know this about him. Everyone competing knows that he cannot be trusted; he has proven it time and time again that if given the chance he will throw you under the bus and then drive the bus himself.
I wonder sometimes, as I’m watching the news or talking to people, how anyone could say that teachers get paid too much and have too many benefits. I wonder, also, how people could argue that the police department or fire department could afford cut backs. How could anyone watch the news, witness a bailout that resulted in the rich getting richer, and then say to me that these greedy, lazy teachers are the problem?
…Because everyone wants to be on Johnny Bananas’ team.
The other contestants, like the American people, just want to get ahead and they hope that by helping Johnny Bananas they will. Maybe, by supporting him, they too can be the one in power. Maybe, if they vote with Mr. Bananas, they can one day, stand where he stands, have what he has, be brought into his world. They can live his life. At first mention, this seems hard to hear; it seems not true or reasonable, but think back to high school for a moment. How many times do normal people watch others do the wrong thing becaue they wanted to “fit in?” How many people are influenced by the draw of being part of the “it” crowd. Ehem… Mean Girls?!
Why is it so hard to believe, then, that adults in the real real world fall victim to this too? Intelligent, competent people start the show knowing full well that in order to get ahead they need to vote JB off and they never do it. They always keep him around. Not because they like him or they’re friends, but because he’s the “cool” guy, the guy that wins.
I don’t blame Johnny Bananas. Unlike the real real world, this reality show doesn’t have life consequences for the people that lose. When these contestants go home, they leave with, at best, extra cash in their pocket and, at worst, a bad hangover and a good story. So Johnny Bananas doesn’t have to worry that he’s ruining someone’s life. But the Johnny Bananas of the real real world (many politicians, heads of big companies, or people with power) should be ashamed of themselves. And the real real people that don’t stand up against these Johnny Bananas are as much to blame for thinking that this time he will be any different.
Next time, some fat NJ governor tells you that teachers need to be stopped because their greediness is taking away from you personally, take a look at his millionaire friends and ask yourself why his rich friends keep getting richer. He isn’t trying to help you, he’s trying to help himself and his alliance, an alliance you are not a part of and will never be a part of. Quit trying to create an alliance with these powerful people that will make you a deal and give you what’s behind door number 3, which is always the washer and dryer and never the million dollar suitcase.
America: Continuing to vote and support the rich and powerful, will not make you rich and powerful. It only makes them more rich and powerful. Stop trying to be on Johnny Bananas’ team and make your own team with good, solid, trustworthy people. Maybe then, you’ll win the challenge… and walk away with the money.
Or at least your pride.