I was a fan of Big Brother for ten years before I was cast on the show’s 12th season. In those 10 years, I certainly liked some houseguests more than others; but, no matter how intense things became in the house, I never hated a houseguest. The closest I ever came to “hating” a houseguest was Rachel. In the midst of filming season 12, I was convinced I hated Rachel and certain we would never be friends. Look how long that lasted! In the midst of the Shelly hate parade, I’d like to share a few observations that will hopefully provide some much-needed perspective on the game and its players.
- Observation 1: BB Ethos. In the last year, I’ve met a ton of previous houseguests and characters from other reality programs. Overwhelmingly, Big Brother contestants are some of the most down-to-earth, kind, intelligent, and compassionate men and women, in an industry riddled with over-the-top personalities and huge egos. This is not to say that I like everyone in the BB family. Surprisingly, some of the people I liked on the show are among the small number of houseguests who, after meeting in person, I dislike; and some of the previous contestants I didn’t care for on the show are awesome in person. Personal conduct on a show known for lying and backstabbing is not the measure of a person’s character outside the house, so stop f’ing with the personal and professional lives of houseguests.
- Observation 2: Confirmation Bias. Confirmation bias describes how people tend to favor information that confirms what they already believe to be true. Confirmation biases cause people to only remember or pay attention to evidence that confirms their preconceptions and to ignore contrary evidence. If, for example, a fan thinks that Kalia’s gluttonous, he or she will make a big production out of Kalia, each time Kalia puts food in her mouth but ignore the eating habits of other people in the house who eat as much or even more than Kalia. Similarly, if a fan, for whatever reason, doesn’t like Shelly, he or she will be predisposed to only see and recall Shelly’s negative attributes. Conversely, they only see the positive in players they like.
- Observation 3: Players in 3-D. The beautiful thing about Big Brother is that, more than any other reality show, viewers get a 3-dimensional look at the contestants. Fans see players at their best AND worst moments and see the best and worst aspects of their individual personalities. We ALL have good and bad characteristics. We ALL have good and bad moments, and summers. If you only see the good in characters you like and only recognize the bad in characters you dislike, you’ve got MUCH LARGER issues that the BB contestants you claim to hate.
- Observation 4: Punch Line or Sucker Punch? It’s okay to joke about BB contestants. I, for instance, make fun of every houseguest and tend to reserve my biggest zings for players I adore. I’ve called Shelly the lezident of the United States; joked that Jordan wearing a dunce unitard is like underlining the word underline; created videos that make light of Kathy being stuck in caramel; compared Rachel to a killer in a slasher film; and spent all last season calling Hayden, Gayden. Don’t confuse punch lines for sucker punches. Creating and/or being a member of a Facebook community titled “America Hates Shelly Moore” isn’t a joke. There’s no punch line, no ba-dum-ch. The site is a circle-jerk of vitriol, where, as Andy Dehnart astutely points out, some Shelly haters go to “feed each other’s rage.” I’m taking a stand on this bullshit because I am all too familiar with how much shit like this stings. Last year, some “fans” of the show made light of Britney’s house burning down, suggesting that their only regret was that SHE WASN’T IN THE HOUSE WHEN IT BURNED. Don’t even get me started on the “Fagan Hate” forum where some of my haters daily and repeatedly posted crap like, “Fagan hate! Die, motherfucker!” It’s disheartening that some can’t discern between a punchline and sucker punch.
- Observation 5: She Asked for It? “She asked for it,” is the gross type of rhetoric espoused when perpetrators of violent crime shift blame onto their victims. The line becomes no more convincing when uttered by a Big Brother fan who justifies career and life sabotage of some houseguests by claiming, “She went on the show and asked to be in the public eye. She asked for it, so she has no right to complain about the attention she receives.” Lest there be any confusion, BB contestants do not “ask for” harassment. If you dislike somebody’s gameplay or conduct in the house, fine. Critique their gameplay or behavior. It’s not okay to assume that whatever negative traits they display in the house represent who they are as parents, workers, friends, and family members. It’s nothing short of INSANE to assume that Shelly is a “horrible mother” or needs to be fired from her job because she made a move in the game with which you disagree.
- Observation 6: Name of the Game. If you hate on a houseguest because he or she lied or backstabbed, why the hell are you watching Big Brother? Lying and back stabbing comprise the show’s SOCIAL GAME. As I’ve said elsewhere, socialIZING is not the same as SOCIAL GAME. Last year, I voted for Hayden to win over Lane because, despite the fact Lane and I had a stronger interpersonal relationship, Hayden had a better SOCIAL GAME. He orchestrated the Brigade’s backstabbing of Matt. He lied to Britney, convincing her that she would be taken with him to the final 3, which, in turn, made her complacent about keeping me beyond the final 5. In short, he PLAYED THE F’ING GAME. Likewise, anyone who vilifies Shelly for lying and backstabbing needs to watch Barney and Friends, not Big Brother. Shelly’s only BB crime is not owning her duplicity in the diary room.
In short, don’t waste your time hating a person that you don’t REALLY know. Hate dictators, or AIDS. Hate rapists, or cancer. YOUR HATE IS NOT THE MEASURE OF SHELLY’S CHARACTER, IT’S THE MEASURE OF YOUR OWN.
Oh, and the best LOLs coming from the America Hates Shelly Moore community are unintentional, like the chick who claimed a Shelly defender was BULLYING members of their community for rightfully characterizing the page as a hate site. WTF!?!? That type of reasoning reminds me of bigoted people who think THEY are the victims of intolerance when people don’t tolerate their hate speech. Their circular logic confounds me! Another LOL-worthy refrain from the page involves some posters claiming critiques of the page aren’t fair because members of the community are simply expressing their right to free speech. Sure, proud members of Shelly Moore’s hate site have the right to express themselves but blatant lies (e.g., Shelly abuses her daughter) are not protected by the first amendment and people who find the site repellant and deplorable ALSO have the right to vocalize THEIR discontent. I encourage you to report this community and whatever variation of it emerges on FB. Word on the page is that they’re already working on an America Detests Shelly Moore site, should FB have the good judgment to end a community that unquestionably violates its terms of service.
One final note: I didn’t write this entry out of blind loyalty to Shelly. My loyalties are to the people playing with whom I have personal relationships. All season long, I’ve, first and foremost, supported Dani, Rachel, and Brendon. Ultimately, though, I’m a fan of solid gameplay. Like her or dislike her, Shelly’s played a solid game. She made it to the F6 BECAUSE of her gameplay, not despite it.