Jun
03
2007

The Tricky Dutch

I have always been a strong proponent of lies and lying. Ask any one of my wives, and they will tell you the same thing.

Sure, lies for personal gain are my favorite, but I’ll lie out of spite, to avoid embarrassment, or just to keep myself in practice. Ask my lying coach, and he’ll tell you the same thing. Just kidding – I don’t have a lying coach. Or do I?
Reality TV?: The Dutch kidney-donation program was revealed to be a hoax. (photo by Jeff Kubina)
Reality TV?: The Dutch kidney-donation program was revealed to be a hoax. (photo by Jeff Kubina)

Anyhow, I think it’s because of this lifelong habit of mine that this little story caught my eyes and ears: A week or two ago, I heard a short story on public radio about a controversial reality show that was being advertised in the Netherlands. The premise of the show was that a terminally ill woman would be choosing one of several contestants to donate one of her kidneys to. The program was being developed by the creators of the Big Brother series, and had been accused of being in bad taste (and then some).

On Friday, however, shortly before the show was scheduled to air, it was revealed to have been a hoax meant to draw attention to the shortage of organ donors. In the Netherlands alone, over 200 people die each year while waiting for a kidney transplant. That’s equal to the entire population of Luxembourg (or is it?).

A very serious issue is being addressed here, but was this the right way to gain public attention? The perpetrators of the hoax were perhaps right in thinking that the average person cares more about what’s happening on reality TV than they do about organ donation (and who can blame us? ANTM is fantastic!), but was this going too far, being too insensitive?

Anybody have any strong feelings on the subject?

An article about the hoax.

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