Mark Burnett, the producer of Survivor and the up and coming McDonald’s T.V. is producing a new reality show, Stars Earn Stripes, think Mission Impossible meets Dancing with the Stars, which according to the press, “pays homage to the men and women who serve in the U.S. armed forces and our first responder services.” Eight celebrities are teamed up with experienced members of either law enforcement or the military to go on very scary missions that push them to their emotional and physical limits. At the end of the week they send the losing team home and at the end of the season the monies won by the winning team will go to a military or 1st responder charity of the team’s choice. This show is being hosted by the Retired General Wesley Clarke, that gives it grit, and the passionate Samantha Harris of Dancing With The Stars, that gives it sex, and the whole thing is flat-out wrong and my father, who is buried in Arlington Cemetery, is no doubt turning over in his grave.
According to the hype, celebrities such as Todd Palin and Nick Lackey are going to “face the challenges of real American heroes.” Being a veteran’s daughter and having worked with 9/11 first responders I’m pretty fucking clear on some of the challenges that many real American heroes face, and have faced, and to imply that Todd, Nick, or any of the celebrities on the show are facing the same challenges and dealing with the same issues as say the soldier on the front lines or the 9/11 and Colorado firefighter is beyond offensive. As offensive as a show that has the gall to spin itself as a salute to America’s heroes because it is staffing the crew with vets and making the job of the soldier and first responders accessible, relatable, to the American public. I guess that’s why firefighters and cop salaries across the country find their wages slashed to minimum wage, because the American people don’t really get what they do. I guess that’s why soldiers on the front lines earn as little $327 a week and the rate of suicide among returning soldiers in 2012 is higher than the number of their brothers and sisters killed on the battlefield because the American people just don’t understand the job. No doubt after Congress gets a look at Stars Earn Stripes they will leave the pensions of firefighters and cops alone, along with setting aside the sums of money for treating the mental health injuries of the returning vets. Of course Rush Limbaugh will recant everything he ever said about firefighters and cops not adding anything to the economy.