Game Shows, State Power, and Death
The works discussed transpose the conceit of The Most Dangerous Game to the world of commercial broadcast entertainment, pitting characters against each other in competition for the ultimate prize: their own lives. Round Four discusses how the game show has come to represent the political and personal dangers of citizenship in an America governed by a late-capitalist consumerism that has morphed into a new brand of totalitarianism that turns people into trivial objects and trivial objects into subjects of the highest importance. The “reality” of these games and their rules represent a simulated and heavily mediated environment posing as real to conceal a sinister truth. In order to challenge the dominance of this inverted world order, the protagonists must first defeat totalitarianism’s synecdoche: the game show.
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