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Higher, Faster, Richer

The Amazing Race is without a doubt the greatest reality TV show ever created and, quite possibly, one of the best TV programs on the airwaves these days. But I'm noticing an alarming trend with the show that needs to be nipped in the bud.

Charla, a contestant on the current edition of The Amazing Race born with a form of dwarfism, has stated early and often that one of the reasons she went on the show was to prove that little people can do anything the rest of us folk can (with one of those things apparently being "behave every bit as contemptibly"). The Bowling Moms, another current team, said a few weeks back that they wanted to be the first all-female-team to win The Amazing Race to prove what moms can do. This parade of affirmation and self-actualization follows on the heels of last season's victory by Reichen and Chip, a gay couple who felt they had proven something, vis-a-vis the ability of gay couples to compete and win on reality TV programs.

Which is great and all. But what about succeeding on The Amazing Race because you want to win the prize money?

They give out $1 million to the team that wins The Amazing Race, you know. That's a fairly significant outlay of cash -- certainly enough to move me to a higher tax bracket.

Which is why, should I ever be a contestant on The Amazing Race -- and I think you realize as well as I do that that's a simply fabulous idea -- I will not be out to prove that fat, sarcastic Lutherans can hang-glide or eat two pounds of caviar or parse airline schedules just as well as regular people. I will not take to the airwaves with the goal of serving as role-model for doughy white guys who have suffered for so long without someone to speak for them. And the only people I hope to inspire with my victory are my accountant and my broker.

I just want the pretty money. And among reality TV contestants, that makes me a rare bird indeed.


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