After last summer’s horrible display, I fully intended to live the rest of my life without seeing another episode. I’ve almost managed to do that- my awareness of this season’s cast came mostly from a relative I’m very fond of (despite her questionable taste in television) who’s addicted to it, until I clicked on a thread by mistake at an online forum and the first post I saw brought some truly appalling behavior to my attention. Now ‘misogynist’ is a word I try not to throw around lightly- someone can be sexist without being a misogynist and someone can, albeit rarely, be a misogynist without being overtly sexist.
That said, ‘Evil’ Dick? Is a misogynist in one of its purer forms. Yes, ‘Evil’ is apparently the nickname he uses in real life. Wow- they are taking those truth in labeling laws really seriously these days.
Most of his hateful and abusive behavior is directed at Jen, who is also pretty much the only person in the house who won’t indulge him by getting mad and letting him start a fight when he decides to go off on one of these tears. You can see one of his more vicious tirades here on YouTube (Warning: just about every way to offend anyone ever is included there, not limited to: sexual harassment, a near constant stream of profanity, and it will probably inspire disgust at humanity in general. Oh, and the quality is lousy because it’s from the live feeds rather than the edited show.) I’m not surprised that they had to edit it down for the aired show, unless they want to hand CBS over to the FCC wrapped up in a big sparkly bow, but what I find interesting is how they edited it: they kept the part where Dick compares her to Saddam Hussein for having the temerity to still think she’s a good person even after Dick has told her she’s not, but took out all of the sexual harassment towards the end. Sometime after this, Jen got in an argument with Daniele (Dick’s daughter, who hasn’t spoken to him in several years. Gee, I wonder why?) that seemed to me to be mostly instigated by Daniele because Jen had made a passing comment earlier about how hard it must be to be Dick’s daughter. (Tactless and rude, but justified in my opinion.) I say “argument” although mostly Danielle yelled at Jen and didn’t allow her to get a word in edgewise, and after Daniele stormed off other people took over yelling at Jen for her. During the argument, Dick walked by and silently poured a glass of tea over Jen’s head- now that’s the mature example most people would want to set for their children, isn’t it?
After all of this, CBS is still giving Jen the villain edit- the audience is shown multiple clips of all of the other contestants talking about how much they hate Jen and how awful she is. The overall sentiment seems to be that it’s Jen’s fault for treating Dick like the small child he is acting like and ignoring him somehow provoking this sort of behavior and not being willing to either change her entire personality or quit the show to make life in the house more pleasant. In a situation where there is verifiable proof with witnesses who were watching on the live feeds, the producers are choosing not to truly show Dick for the abusive sleaze that he is, and to blame the attractive 20-something woman who refuses to give him the satisfaction of getting upset when he calls her names or submit to his belief that he is somehow innately better than her instead.
It’s a perfect example of just how much what the producers want you to see matters in comparison to reality- deciding not to take action or even reveal the depths of Dick’s misbehavior is basically condoning it, and that says almost as much about them as it does about him. I wonder if they would change their practices if they were made aware of that?
(NB: In case anyone was wondering how effective the good edit that Dick is getting has been at helping him; as of this writing, Dick is currently #1 in the ‘most popular houseguest’ poll at cbs.com.)