Cut to the Chase – True Beauty, 24, and The City (Reconsidered)

This is the exciting beginning of a new season of television shows. Three that I have been following are “True Beauty,” “24,” and “The City.”

Let’s start with “True Beauty.” This show is a reality TV competition in which 3 judges deceive a group of people into believing they are in a beauty competition even though they are really being judged based on an arbitrary definition of inner beauty.

Moving on: “24.” Jack Bauer returns for another season of fighting terrorists and other stuff. I do like this show a lot, and I am definitely hooked. My one complaint: I’m really tired of these visions of the future where computer user interfaces are really nice but are built with HUGE FLAWS. For example, in this season of 24, the United States is protected by a firewall that protects a system that somehow controls air traffic control around the entire country, water treatment, and other important entities. This firewall can also be undermined if the designer of the firewall is given a soldering iron and a bunch of fancy looking circuits. And the firewall can be rebuilt in 6 days (but that’s not soon enough!)

So my questions are:

  • Who decided to link all of these systems together so that if the firewall were compromised, terrorists would have controls to… everything?
  • Who decided that it was okay to have a single “firewall” that could be undermined by a single person?
  • Who decided to network the mechanism that would release toxic water into the nation’s water supply so that it could be controlled remotely?
  • Who decided to implement a mechanism that would release toxic water into the nation’s water supply at the water treatment plant?

And this isn’t just in 24. Every other episode of Star Treks “The Next Generation” and “Voyager” are about the computer being compromised somehow and the ship being put in lots of risk.

Oh yeah, and Brannon Braga, producer of Star Trek TNG and Voyager, is ALSO executive producer of this season of 24. HMMMMMM.

Finally, let’s revisit “The City.” Last time, I talked about how I was happy that there’s finally a show that speaks to the issues faced by wealthy, attractive people. Well, while I still like the show, I’ve just got one problem with it: everyone in the show seems to be spending way more money than they could possibly afford. That’s right. I guess a bunch of them are rich, which is fine (good for them!), but it just bothers me that they have these seemingly low paying jobs but keep going to these chic New York restaurants where entrees cost at least $20. Okay, so maybe $20 doesn’t sound so high, but you KNOW they’re ordering appetizers and wine. And when they go out, you KNOW they’re getting the $10 drinks.



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