“It’s just a game…”

We can hear that excuse nearly any night of the week from a reality show participant justifying lying, back stabbing, taking an unfair advantage, nearly always implying the person would never do such a thing in real life. But that’s what makes reality shows so much more like life than traditional games, where fairness and integrity are enforced for the duration of the event. The rules of reality shows are set up, like life, with room for moral choice. And like life, dishonesty and unfair play is often rewarded. In life the excuses are worded differently; “it’s just business,” “all is fair in love and war”, “it’s my child,” “it’s my career,” “it’s my dream house,” “it’s not illegal,” all said to justify the speaker’s bad behavior toward business competitors, clients, consultants, lovers, neighbors, fellow-workers, family. While reality shows give us and our children regular proof that nice guys almost never finish first, it’s not surprising that in real life, people whose priorities and actions put honesty, fairness and morality above personal gain are increasingly rare.