Let’s get something out of the way: I know what you’re thinking. All week, you’ve been saying, “That damn Ferrucci. He didn’t write last week because he didn’t want to admit his Winner Pick™ sucked ... again.” And I get it. Molly is one more prediction to add to my list of truly horrible predictions.
But, alas, I did not write last week because I simply ran out of time. And, yes, I was in mourning for Molly and my fantasy team. But, after this last episode, I actually think my team is in OK shape. Oh, sure, Tom isn’t long for this game, but Chelsea looks great and, of course, Janet is winning Survivor: Island of the Idols (if Boston Rob doesn’t). So I’m sorry to leave you hanging there, but I’m back and ready to bash millennials.
Oh, I kid because I love. But, seriously, Vince, to me, all season fell prey to so many academic criticisms of the entire millennial generation. A few years back, HBO Sports did a segment on what some psychologists call “trophy culture,” which is essentially what folks have labeled the idea that millennials always receive participation trophies while Gen X-ers like myself and those before never did.
Researchers have argued that giving an award to a kid for only participation gives that person a potentially false logic of entitlement. There’s a scholar named Jean Twenge who’s essentially made a career of doing research that bashes younger generations. Now, of course, she has some (controversial) data to back up her claims, but arguably her most popular book is Generation Me. The work contends that millennials have always been given things, so they’re more assertive and entitled … not good things.
The idea of trophy culture evolved from a type of pedagogy that began in the 1990s called the self-esteem movement. At the time, scholars assumed that giving rewards to young students would lead to higher self-esteem and more confidence ... both good things. This is where schools began to give students rewards for just participating ... and soon youth athletics followed suit. But, scholars like Twenge have argued there is no data to back up any positive results from this practice and, in fact, it may hurt the person.
So what does this have to do with Survivor? Well, I would argue that all season Vince looked like a victim of trophy culture. We know Vince has been through a lot in his life, but he also came across as extremely uneven and entitled as a player. Holy crap ... the way he spoke to Karishma was so downright awful and ridiculous. Why does she have to give you a name when you’re bullying her because you’re an overconfident aggressor? Vince seemed to assume that because he got randomly chosen to visit
CBS Mount Rushmore Island of the Idols, he deserved to call all the shots.
In earlier episodes, Vince also gave off an entitled vibe. He made a spectacle of himself a couple times and argued obviously for self-interest instead of being self-aware and reading the room. In the end, everything folks such as Jean Twenge argue about millennials manifested itself on our screen through the avatar of Vince. He was entitled and assertive in a way that totally lacked any perspective and didn’t give a poop about the other members of his tribe.
And that, my friends is what got Vince gone. While this theory isn’t actually a theory in the social science tradition, it does illustrate how the way we teach kids could impact them later on. Do I agree with everything folks like Twenge argue? Nope. But, in some cases, her theory works. Like with Vince.
That’s all I got. Here are my thoughts on everyone right now, heading into an episode where we probably get a tribe swap:
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.