Kid Nation as a children’s crusade

Dore_childrens_crusadeTonight is the launch of Kid Nation, (9:00 CBS).  Forty kids in a ghost town in New Mexico.  The CBS website asks breathlessly, "Can they build a "brave new world?"

Well, given enough time, I am pretty sure they could build a brave new world.  I think they might even be able to stage a convincing amateur production of Lord of the Flies.

But CBS seems to be implying that this is an experiment out of the political philosophy handbook.  It’s an attempt to see if kids can do what adults cannot, build a peaceable world.

And this makes Kid Nation a kind of latter day equivalent of the Children’s Crusades of  medieval Europe. Will children, protected by their innocence, triumph where adults have failed?  Will they help save network TV from falling numbers?  Can children convert the infidel, those godless creatures who now watch cable and visit the internet? 

This is a measure of the desperation and panic induced in the old media by the new.  Sending children into the brink.  I mean, really.  Even for a network executive, this is low.


For more on the Children’s Crusade, see the entry in Wikipedia here

12 thoughts on “Kid Nation as a children’s crusade

  1. Pingback: Quotulatiousness

  2. Charles Edward Frith

    I love this post. But the question isn’t binary. There’s a bundle of context and frankly if we look at what the children did in Tuol Sleng they were even more vicious than the adults. So lets look at ourselves first.

  3. Daria

    TV stations keep on getting lower and lower. It’d be a facinating social experiment, but I am afraid there are big $$$ talking. I wonder what kind of parents let their children to participate in such a show.

  4. Renan Petersen-Wagner

    the International Olympic Committee is doing the same thing. Youth Olympic Games. Can they be saved by the youth?

  5. petar

    I wonder though….many people will say that they are sickened by the idea. some will mean it, others will act p.c. in the end the ratings will justify the post game spin. if people are watching, the show will be spun as a successfull human nature experiment. if it fails, people will hypocritically say theat we’ve hit rock bottom. much like they did with big brother and all those types of shows. then the cycle will start again.

    side thought: would be kinda cool if this were all some kind of truman show like experiment, and the kids were actors, as a way of showing humans their true colours. anybody know how the commerciall breaks will be filled? would like to know what advertisers are linked to the show.

    as for the kids: they have been mediated (exposed to media) enough that most likely you will see children doing a poor performance of the (poor) role models that have shaped their lives up until now.

    would not suprise me if there is a twist with pre-teen pregnancy. it is basically the blue lagoon meets lord of the flies, meets that episode of southpark where all the kids say that they were sexualy molested by their parents and end up running south park.

  6. Tom Guarriello

    Where are the fansites? (I haven’t searched…I’m sure they’re already out there.)

    Do we have any spoiler info, a la Survivor?

    We’ve become so immersed in media that nothing is outside the boundaries…there are no boundaries. Media executives, desperate, really desperate, for anything that buzzes above the din will do anything. That’s already proven. Tyra Banks has a show, for pity’s sake.

    I watched the first few minutes on CBS’s website…puhleeeze.

  7. srp

    When I was a kid, there was a summer replacement show called The New People. About a bunch of college kids whose plane crashes on an island that is an unused AEC bomb test site, far from any hope of rescue. Very 60s-70s cult of youth type thing.

    Theme song lyrics (I can still remember a bit of the tune): “What kind of world will they create, facing the problems of Man? Thousands of years haven’t solved them, but they think they can.”

    I bet this new realty will even dumber and less fun than The New People.

  8. adi

    I commend CBS for this wonderful show. Every child should have an experience of something like this in their lives. It is not like they are living it day by day for the rest of their lives, it is just for a short period. I can tell you none of those kids will be the same after this experience. Well done CBS.

  9. Jeanie Lamb

    Dear Grant,
    I just had to write to say hello. It’s a long story how I stumbled upon your blog…and this isn’t the place to post it.

    Although I dislike generalizations, I must rely on one to make a point. I am conflicted. My initial response to any reality television is that our north american tv audience may well be getting the impression that watching tv is somehow synonymous with living life. Kid Nation is a great idea, but as TV? Rediculous! My conflict sits with the fact that this silly show well demonstrates just how sad some of the youth today are. Really….in the episode I viewed, a youth chose to return home because he missed television but then again, so do many adults. Yikes! On the other hand, the only thing that’s changed is the distractions – human beings are diverse no matter what age they are – leaders, followers, lovers, bullies, engineers and slothful souls (amongst many other qualities, of course). I personally prefere documentary programming if we’re to watch reality.

Comments are closed.