Figgy, Figgy, Figgy. Poor Figgy.
I can’t remember a player looking worse in recent memory.
But let me say something here about the theme of this season. While I liked the experiment on paper, I do think this theme has been rammed over our heads way too much. To think that these stereotypical descriptions of the generations are accurate would be very wrong.
With that said, Figgy perfectly represented negative millennial stereotypes.
I’ve been teaching millennials for about 11 years now. I’ve basically seen the entirety of that generation’s adults in a college classroom setting. And from what we saw of Figgy, she represents some of the problems.
Look, as I’ve said repeatedly, I think millennials are pretty great. Figgy represents the negative attributes better than anyone on this season, though. Taylor is bro. Bros always exist, regardless of generation. Mari played video games, but smart folks always exist. Michelle is a hippie/religious person. Always existed. I could go on and on.
Well, what did we see out of her this season? We saw a person who acted without thinking a lot. We saw a person who thought she was really special, to the point where a vote against her was an affront. We saw a person who was incredibly self-involved. I don’t mean selfish, but rather someone who didn’t pick up on context cues, someone who couldn’t understand why anyone would vote for her. We saw someone who simply always thought they were the smartest and looked for short-term satisfaction such as when she argues with people whose votes she needed. Figgy seemingly could not understand why anything she did was a negative and why anyone wouldn’t see the world her way. And now she’s gone.
While most millennials are nothing like her, Figgy really did embody all the negative millennial stereotypes.
So is there a theory to describe this? Yep. It’s called selective exposure theory. And in a year of a political election, this theory is very timely right now.
Basically, selective exposure theory describes people’s tendency to seek out and believe information that caters to their predetermined world view. For example, this theory would describe a conservative voter who only gets their news from Fox News or Rush Limbaugh. This is similar to the popular phrase confirmation bias.
This is a very popular theory in political communication studies and psychology. Fundamentally, when we only seek out information that reinforces our preexisting ideas, we create what theorists call an echo chamber. We believe something, we seek out info that says this and then the cycle continues. We never hear contradictory information or opinions. It’s impossible to stop believing what you think or to change your mind because all the info you get tells you you’re right.
So what does this have to do with Figgy? Simply put, any reasonable person would understand that pairing up romantically with Taylor is a bad idea. That proclaiming her happiness for Michelle sticking around is a bad idea. That not understanding why Adam voting against her would be a good idea. That not understanding her tribemates would detect her relationship with Taylor. Over and over, Figgy seemed to seek out information that would only fit into her preexisting worldview. When you do that, you run the risk of not learning.
That’s what happened to Figgy. She created an echo chamber designed to make it seem OK that she kept making horrid mistakes in the game. In the end, in prevented her from really working with Adam or trying to make better relationships with the Gen Xers so she could effectively boot Adam if she thought he was a threat. Overall, Figgy’s inability to listen to numerous people telling her showmance was a bad idea or trying to understand that other people have motivations also, effectively sunk her chance to win.
If Figgy wasn’t selective about the information she sought out, she may have stuck around longer or made much better decisions.
That’s it on this end. I’m at the tail end of a big deadline, so starting next week, I’ll return with more nuanced descriptions of the theories, but I haven’t had tons of time for that recently. Sorry. But, here’s a treat:
Here are the rankings I have for the castaways right now. Basically, this is all based on who I think can win, not how far I think they’ll go. So, one to 14, one being the most likely to win, according to me. Here we go:
Well, the play hasn’t been great, but this season sure does keep surprising us. Let’s hope it’s the same thing next week. We’ll revisit these rankings after the merge episode.
Pat Ferrucci started watching Survivor when episode two of Borneo first aired. He's seen every episode since. Besides recapping here, he'll be live-tweeting this season from the Mountain Time Zone. Why? Because nobody cares about the Mountain Time Zone except when they want to ski. Follow him @patferrucci for Survivor stuff and tweets about anything and everything that enters his feeble mind.