“Just another guy with a blog.  No big whoop.”

February 1, 2010

A New Low for the Already Low "Reality" Show Genre



This really bothers me. Why would someone turn the evil of abortion into an online reality show?

That pro-life Catholics are among those responsible for this Internet spectacle makes it all the more inexplicable. I understand what they are trying to accomplish, but I disagree with the way they have chosen to go about it. I mean, really, to set the thing up so that the audience gives a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" to (fictionally) pregnant young women, deciding whether they will ostensibly have an abortion or not? Please.

I know. Some of you, perhaps many of you, will disagree with me, maybe vehemently. Maybe you'll dismiss me as a curmudgeon. But I don't think I am. I am completely enthusiastic about and dedicated to doing whatever can be legally and morally done to abolish the horror of legalized abortion. But this? "Bump" turns abortion into just another Xbox game.

Show Lets Viewers Decide If 'Reality Stars' Get Abortions

"The 'Bump' was conceived after President Obama's commencement address at Note Dame University last year where he said he wanted "to find ways to communicate about a workable solution to the problem of unintended pregnancies," executive producer Dominic Iocco told The Washington Post. . . . (continue reading)

See also: BumptheShow.com
(As an aside: Way to go, Father Jenkins!)

13 comments:

  1. Patrick,

    First off, this is a web series, not a TV show.

    Second, have you watched it?

    You're a smart and thoughtful man, I think you should get the real story and go from there, rather than going off the media.

    I think everyone denouncing this project without first understanding it is undercutting a valuable chance for pro-lifers to reach out and engage those on the other side.

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  2. It's not a reality show. It's not even a TV show.

    And you can talk with people who are pro-choice in the comments.

    Will the show help people understand abortion? Maybe. We'll have to see.

    Will the show's fruits be overexaggerated by pro-life and pro-choice folks? You betcha.

    Will the show be popular? Maybe.

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  3. Notre Shame is the gift that keeps on giving....

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  4. First off, it is being positioned as a reality show. It's not reality, since everyone is an actor, but it is clearly designed to emulate that genre. It is obviously highly derivative of "The Office's" successful pseudo-reality concept.

    No one said it was a TV show. If you read the blog post carefully, you'll see it's described as an "online" show.

    Yes, I've watched it.

    As for getting "the real story," JS, I can honestly say that I have. I've gotten the bulk my info about "Bump" at the "Bump" website, including watching clips, reading the producers' intentions, etc. What else do you recommend someone do to find out what the people behind "Bump" are trying to accomplish?

    If it were simply an effort to introduce the deeper issues associated with abortion to a young-adult audience, I'd have no problem with it. That they seem to have closely modeled "Bump" on "The Office" seems a rather lazy shortcut, although I admit that given the huge success of "The Office," it's likely that the popular pseudo-reality style will attract many people to watch. We'll see.

    What about this do you think I don't understand? I would sincerely like to know. I'm pretty confident that I do understand it. I just don't like it because it takes a serious, life-and-death issue like abortion and trivializes it by turning these fictional expectant mothers into reality show contestants. And to invite the viewers to get in on the contest to decide who gets an abortion is offensive to me.

    What if, instead of abortion, the show was a reality show contest in which three black people were going to be sold into slavery, depending on how the audience voted. Would that not offend you? Or how about a reality show focused on three Jews during WWII? The audience could vote to determine which of them would be shipped off to a concentration camp and gassed. Wouldn't that offend you?

    How can you not be offended that these pro-life Catholics have turned abortion into exactly that?

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  5. I think it comes back down to whether or not tis glorifies God, and it most certainly doesn't. To use the old cliche, what would Jesus do? I think the answer would be, NOT THIS. Obviously I get the point of this but the means do not justify the end in this case. We have to show that we respect life and this is using disrespectful means to do that. There is a huge inconsistency here. We have to be people of faith and integrity, and fight this battle with truth in love.

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  6. As St. John Bosco would say, "When it comes to saving souls, I go to the point of temerity." Could this be one of those points where pro-lifers can dialogue and reach out to those who would otherwise be inaccessible from their usual spheres of influence? Or could it back-fire and seemingly give the choice to abort some form of blessing in the world of situation ethics? It is risky but the odds are in favor of the pro-lifers because the pro-aborts do not have a rational or emotional leg to stand on. Then again, if there is really no discussion and all is settled by vote, the heresy of democracy where the truth can be usurped by majority decision can prevail. And that is where I will oppose it because as life has shown, 50 million have actually been murdered because of a godless majority decision.

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  7. You make good points, Rick. As I mentioned above, I would be enthusiastic about an effort to employ modern media to advance the pro-life cause and changes hearts. Absolutely. But I think that the approach they are taking here trivializes abortion by turning it into a a reality show contest. That's the problem, in my estimation.

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  8. I think there is a way that this will change hearts by showing pro choice people how it really does work. If you DO have the say for someone else, what are you going to do if you are of the "I think it's wrong but I'm not going to tell other people that" camp? If you TRULY think it is wrong, then you would have to "vote" pro life.

    And in order to get this to the same level as a slave "reality" show we have to change hearts first. If one person is convinced that pro life is the way to go, then isn't the experiment worth it?

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  9. The entire concept of turning abortion into any kind of TV/online/radio/whatever show is repulsive. Sorry, I won't be watching to find out any more information. Even the title "Bump" is offensive. It dehumanizes what lies beneath, which is a human child. Thanks for making us aware Patrick. This is one thing I wish I was unaware of because it is so rediculous.

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  10. I'm pretty sure JS commented before you edited the post. Originally you had said it made you want to "throw your TV out the window", so maybe you can understand the confusion.

    I happen to know those pro-life Catholics who helped work on Bump, and I as well and they understand the concerns that many people are expressing.

    Prehaps this is where your misunderstanding is:

    "I just don't like it because it takes a serious, life-and-death issue like abortion and trivializes it by turning these fictional expectant mothers into reality show contestants. And to invite the viewers to get in on the contest to decide who gets an abortion is offensive to me. "

    It seems that you think that the mere act of writing a fictional story about abortion "trivializes" the issue. I disagree. I view "Bump" more as creating people that viewers get to know (while in the protection of a fictional series), and thereby making the audience close friends giving advice. No votes will be cast, just stories and advice shared in love.

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  11. @Mary -I just watched the trailer, pilot episode and episode 2 of Bump. I don't get the show at all. It's a fictitious reality show where contestants let the audience decide what they should do about their unplanned pregnancies, right? Is that framing it correctly?

    I went on the message boards already and while the comments do seem to be providing a safer and more congenial place for discussion of the abortion issue, I have also seen a lot more "gray area" talk in relation to the very basic question of "is it a baby or isn't it?" I don't see how making the murky waters of debate murkier is helping anything. It's also quite disturbing that something like this would be made into a game show, even a fake one. Again, I don't understand the thinking behind it.

    From the tone of the show and many of the comments I read from posters, I feel like pretty soon we'll all be bound to "agree to disagree" about abortion, and all have to hold hands and sing Kumbaya around the campfire, basking in the glory of our new found "understanding" for each other. Since you have firsthand knowledge of the show and it's creators, can you explain what is being accomplished here a little more clearly? I haven't heard or read anything yet that makes any sense to me as a person who considers herself Pro-life, Pro-Woman and Pro-Baby.

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  12. @AngelMama-

    Sure, maybe I can help.

    I really think it depends on what mindset you have going into watching the show and reading the posts. If you read the buzz circulating the Internet about it, it has equally angered people on both sides of the issue. Pro-lifers seem to think it's written by people in the pro-abortion camp, and Pro-aborts are suspicious it has pro-life creators. The truth is there for anyone who wants to look. Both were involved in the creative process.

    In my conversations with those pro-lifers who helped work on it, their thought seems to be something along the lines of: "look even if one of these fictional characters does choose abortion, I think the audience seeing that and seeing the emotional havoc it wrecks on a woman's life will be a pro-life statement in itself".

    The main goal of the show is to take a different approach than political rhetoric and step away from the arguments on both sides that everyone has heard a thousand times. Three of your friends are facing unplanned pregnancies. Would you just simply throw a bunch of statistics at them--or would you have conversations with them in love?

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  13. Patrick,
    I am a big fan of yours online and on the airwaves. I also am concerned about the possible result of this "experiment" being that the killing of one or more of these children will be portrayed as an acceptable, if difficult, decision. However, after spending too much of the last 2 days (since I discovered Bump) watching the episode to date and reading the many of the responses I would beg you to reconsider your reaction. No matter the merits of the project, it is already begun. Now what we on the side of truth can do is inject it into the conversation. I'm sure you are very busy, but your eloquence and expertise (Heaven knows my attempts at defending the truth lack them) could be really helpful in many of the "discussions". This show may not be of God or even give glory to God, but because of its nature, we have the opportunity to stear it more in that direction.
    I would also like to mention that the producers are trying to correct the misconception that there will be any voting taking place as part of the show.
    Thanks for all you do for the Glory of God.

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