How the delusion of power culminates
It started with discord over a shopping list. The actress showed no intention to argue, but her dismissive response ignited J. She grumbled about it to herself and the two entourage while the actress disappeared from the frame for a couple of minutes. Then, her voice volume increased, and her words became harsher and vulgarer, drawing the attention of all the inmates. As soon as the actress returned to the site, J began firing at her. Previously, the actress had sincerely accepted criticism from J even though the claim was nonsensical, but this time she knew it was not to be dealt with. She told J that she might have claimed fame from it, but it wasn’t her style. This added oil to the fire, and J jumped up from the sofa and used her robust arms and sternum to intensify her attack. Everyone watched J open-mouthed when she climaxed by calling the actress a “liar” and telling her to “go back to the slum.” The model and the pop singer were laughing, and the others observed from afar. The actress responded to J with power that didn’t lower her to J’s level but that protected her dignity, and the audience saw her grace with awe. Finally, the brother of a late superstar separated the actress from the situation and brought her to another room. Once all the bile was out, J walked to the window and inhaled fresh air triumphantly. Yes, to her, it was a win.
Watching it again 15 years later still made me hyperventilate. At the time, I broke down at the sight of racist bullying unfolding so publicly. On top of that, what deepened my pain was how the inmates allowed J to attack the actress with no moral intervention. The audience witnessed the strange findings of this human experiment. The rant was not a single incident but a culmination. J had gained fame with her abrasive and belligerent attitude, so both the audience and the producer must have expected her to act thus, and she knew it. The other inmates wouldn’t go near someone like J in real life, but in the confinement of the house and with cameras on them, those public figures had little choice but to let J’s ego grow. The weak minds (the model, the pop star, her plain BF) followed her, which gave J the delusion of power. While J felt powerful, others felt powerless. They did nothing until the brother of the late superstar removed the actress from the situation. They didn’t talk with J about her abuse. They avoided conflict, confrontation, and even discussion with one another.
The producer stepped in because of the pouring complaints. J was called into the communication room. As soon as the producer implied their remarks could be racist, she was startled and said she was definitely not racist because she had Indian cousins. The other inmates were asked why they didn’t intervene, and they said they hated confrontation and were just happy people who wanted to spend time with friends and family.
I expressed my distress to Stuart when he came home in the evening. He had seen the footage and said, “in fairness, the actress was an annoying bitch.” I glared at him and asked, “do you think it justifies the treatment?!” My anger and the contemptuous tone surprised him, so he said, “it’s just a stupid TV show.” He successfully avoided arguing over the stupid TV show with me, but the issues the TV show exposed and his avoidance of acknowledgment would become the root of my unhappiness and our discord in the future.