Before I settle into Fear Factor's decision to air an episode where contestants consume donkey semen, oh, and urine, please allow me to indulge in a little story.
I once worked for a national chain's corporate office, which has since gone bankrupt (after you read this perhaps you'll see why). I worked in IT customer service and through a series of poor decisions, our little group was handed a manager who was both unfit and under-qualified to lead us.
Towards the end of her reign of incompetence, she forwarded an email to our team that she thought was very funny. The email, with a subject header in bold reading YOU MUST WATCH THIS!!!, had a short video attached that featured a woman of questionable social standing performing a sex act on a donkey. This in itself was highly inappropriate and an affront to good taste, but to cap the whole scene off, the video ended with a violent and voluminous completion of the aforementioned act into the woman's mouth. Well, to be perfectly frank, into her whole face.
I am not a particularly squeamish person nor a prude, but several emotions came over me after being exposed to this vile display: I wanted very much to unsee what I had just seen (it's a vivid memory to this day), throw up, punch my boss in the face repeatedly for sending it to me and essentially demanding I watch it, and confusion — a lot of confusion.
So that leads me to the recent news story that NBC executives had to ponder, genuinely think about, whether it was appropriate to air an episode of Fear Factor showing people consuming donkey semen. [Full disclosure: I gag a little every time I even THINK about this due to the aforementioned nightmare of a memory].
Fear Factor's success and appeal rests on human nature's joy in seeing others in peril. Sure, eating scorpions is a neat trick but it's nothing Bear Grylls hasn't done to survive. But drinking donkey semen for the possibility of winning $50,000? Somehow, this seems to cross an imaginary line that really shouldn't be crossed.
Fortunately, NBC erred on the side of decorum and taste in this situation and decided NOT to air this episode. However, this raises an important question. What kind of society thinks this is entertainment? Who comes up with these kinds of things? Donkeys don't even drink donkey semen. That should have been our first clue!
There are some who feel 2012 will see significant changes to our world. Could it be massive environmental upheaval, uprisings and civil unrest, global awakening, the rapture, a zombie apocalypse, asteroid destruction, Newt Gingrich as president? Heaven only knows what awaits us. However, I have contemplated all possible outcomes within this universe and beyond and one thing is certain — consumption of donkey semen does NOT equal popular entertainment.