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What The World Needs Now Is Fewer Reality Shows And - Maybe - One Really Good Game Show

Updated on November 2, 2014
Lisa HW profile image

"Lisa" , a "social sciences enthusiast" and Mom of three grown kids, writes from personal experience/exposure and/or past research

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When You're Not Sure About The Facts (Or When You're Too Sure About The Wrong Ones)...Is Just Making Up Stuff In Your Head The Answer?.

Maybe it's because life and society have become more complicated than they once were. Maybe it's because in spite of our era far too many people are far too unconcerned about facts than one would think anyone should be; but it can sure seem as if there's far too little ability and/or willingness, on the part of a whole lot of people, to hold off on determining what they believe is fact from what they believe is not (or else what they make up, and then believe because they made it up). I don't know... Some people say there's been a severe loss of common sense over the last several decades. Then again, there are times when, to me, it just seems like people deal more in fantasy and emotion than they do either common sense or any other kind of sense.

Maybe The Right Game Show Would Help?

For the most part (and I do mean "MOST"), I hate game shows. I don't want to watch people grubbing for money, and I don't want to watch other people play games (not even football, baseball, soccer, or whatever else; but again, for the most part). I either want to be the one doing the playing or not; and since I don't have time and/or skill for playing games that are at least watch-worthy to some people, you can probably tell that I don't bother with games or any sort.

Still, while I don't watch either of the following two shows I've been known to leave them on with the sound off, mainly because they're harmless; and those two shows are the long-running, "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy". I give them credit for being as non-cringe-worthy and/or crass as they are. A lot of people must like those shows. I don't know if both shows have the same audience or a completely different one, but they're harmless, reasonably dignified; and they make a good alternative to the entertainment shows that tend to be opposite them.

In any case, now that I've established my aversion to watching games; I'd like to bring up my own idea for a new game show. My show would be based on one type of question that (at least in my day, but I'm assuming probably still shows up somewhere). The type of question I have in mind is the kind on (again, at least in my day) SAT's and other standardized tests, and that offered a few lines (or paragraphs) of information and then asked the test-taker what information could be determined "true" from the paragraph(s).

So Here's My Idea For A Game Show Based On One Kind Of Standardized-Test Question (And, Yes, Contestants Can Money-Grub If They Must)

Most likely, you know the kind of question I mean; but I'll make up a quick example. Before offering the example, I'd like to add that the reason I think this kind of game show could really help a lot of people these days is that it might introduce (or re-introduce or highlight) the concept of factual information actually mattering in this day and age when so many people either seek "higher truth" without bothering with day-to-day, small-stuff (to them) facts/accuracies; or else plain old don't think the real facts are, or should, matter. One fact that does (in fact) matter is the fact while the "facts" about someone else or their life don't always matter much to the person/people not in question; getting the facts wrong can destroy people and lives. Not getting the facts wrong isn't very difficult. It's more a matter of not forming conclusions before all the information is in. It doesn't take great skill to do that much.

And, the thing is, so much inaccurate information is more about what's in it for the passer of it that information, or the believer of an inaccurate conclusion; so there's lots of different incentives for lots of different people to have little concern about some facts. It doesn't help when, even as a person who tries to approach life and facts with, say, the thinking of a fair and capable judge or else the thinking of a careful scientist; there seem to be so many people who think more like fiction-writers or the characters in soap operas than anything else. The other thing is, though, that a lot of people who would generally do well with the kind of test question I have in mind would do well enough when things are on paper - and not so well when the information is printed out on paper and is, instead, being provided by another human being attempting to use the most basic skill of simply communicating.

I won't go into why communicating facts to someone else can so often be such a problem (more for some people than for others, of course); but I thought my idea for a game show might help "create awareness" (as they say) about the difference between sound reasoning/logic and whatever else it is that so many people seem to prefer over something as "un-dramatic" and "un-spectacular" as simple, often boring, facts. (For the record, I don't watch cable television or daytime television; so if there's already a game that's at all close to my "proposed" one, someone please feel free to let me know. No need for anyone to sue anyone else.... )

Just For Those Who Need A Little Brush-Up On Clear Thinking Versus Imagination And Whatever Else...

So, the kind of question that I think my proposed game show should involve might go something like this:


Fred went to the store to buy bread and milk. He brought some extra money in case he wanted a snack for the walk home. Fred's friend said, "If you're going to the store would you pick up some cereal for me while you're there?" Fred said he would and asked his friend what kind of cereal he wanted. The friend said, 'the store-brand oats and honey, and if they don't have that then get the wheat and raisin'. By the way, Fred is taller than his friend. When he got to the store there was no oats-and-honey cereal. There was, however, plenty of the wheat-and-raisiin cereal.


Based on the information you just read indicate which of the following is true, which is false, and which cannot be determined based on the information provided::

Fred bought wheat-and-raisin cereal. T F Cannot Be Determined

Fred is taller than his friend. T F Cannot Be Determined

Fred actually did get to the store. T F Cannot Be Determined

Fred bought his own personal favorite cereal. T F Cannot Be Determined

Fred is a wonderful person who is always doing wonderful things for his friends. T F Cannot Be Determined

Fred bought a snack. T F Cannot Be Determined

There was no milk left at the store, but Fred got the bread. T F Cannot Be Determined

There was no milk left at the store, but Fred got bread (and BTW it was rye bread) T F Cannot Be Determined

Fred spent the money he had for a snack on gum instead T F Cannot Be Determined

Fred didn't really want to be bothered picking up cereal for his friend, but he felt like he owed his friend a favor because two years ago his friend drove him to work for a month, when Fred's used Plymouth blew its engine and it took him that month to get another car. T F Cannot Be Determined

Fred shouldn't let his friend walk all over him the way he does. T F Cannot Be Determined

Fred should have bought the bread at a different store because knowing the way Fred wastes bread by throwing away the ends, he could have spent less at another store. In fact, if he were willing to eat day-old bread (which he isn't - because he's so damned picky about what he eats) Fred could have gotten the bread even cheaper still. T F Cannot Be Determined






The correct answers to T/F part of this question are, of course, that we know it's true that Fred bought the wheat-and-raisin cereal, that Fred is taller than his friend, and that Fred actually did get to the store. How do we know those are true? The first two pieces of information have been out-and-out offered/stated. The fact that Fred actually did get to the store was ever-so-sllightly a little less direct than the out-and-out statements about the kind of cereal Fred bought and the fact that Fred is taller than his friend. Nonetheless, even the ways the English language offers us to say the same with ever-so-slightly-different words, it's pretty safe to say that Fred got to the store. Besides, that information is further backed up once we are also told that Fred bought cereal.

Other than than those first three things that can be determined from the information provided, the rest of the statements cannot be determined. There may be a statement or two that a test-taker could get wrong out of speed or carelessness; but for the most part, getting more than (maybe) that one or two wrong essentially means that the test-taker should really stop worrying about getting a high score on the test and/or getting to wherever/whatever it is he thinks a high standardized test score will get him and - seriously - seek counseling. The person who is given the information such as information in the question above, and who gets "true" ("T", of course) out of all but those first three things that are clearly (based on the information) true, is clearly incapable of sorting out what information he has been given from - well - whatever the heck else he has going on in his head.

Well, that's kind of it as far as the main brush-up goes. This kind of question has often been used on tests as basic as, say, simple reading comprehension tests; so it isn't as if people have to be particularly advanced with these things. One might assume that making the transition from something like this type of test-question to something like communicating person-to-person wouldn't be a big jump. Apparently, either a lot of people can't understand what they read very well - or else far too few people know how to graciously make the jump from on-paper communication (to them) to in-person communication (again, to them).

Now, Some Elaboration On Why What Can't Be Determined Simply Cannot Be Determined


This one cannot be determined because we have simply not been told what cereal is Fred's favorite, but even if we knew Fred's favorite because we know Fred and know that his favorite is wheat-and-raisin, we didn't get that information from the lines of text offered. Besides, we don't know if Fred suddenly decided that rice cereal is his new favorite (and he simply hasn't mentioned it since switching preferences).


Fred is a wonderful person who is always doing wonderful things for his friends.

We don't know this from only those few lines of text. All we know is that Fred was willing to pick up cereal for his friend. We don't know how wonderful Fred and/or his friend is, how wonderful or solid their friendship is, or whether Fred is a pretty rotten person who just doesn't think picking up cereal for the friend is too big of an inconvenience.

Fred bought a snack.

This is another "cannot be determined". All we know is that Fred brought some extra money in case he wanted to buy a snack. Even if we know Fred personally and know that he usually likes a snack from the store, accepting that Fred bought a snack on the basis of, say, "If I know Fred he got a snack," is straying from the matter of accepting as fact only the information offered.

There was no milk left at the store, but Fred got the bread.

Now this one, if selected as "true" ("T") takes things to a leve beyond carelessness, flawed thinking, assumptions, etc. and to a whole new level of something I don't even really know how to describe.

There was no milk left at the store, but Fred got bread (and BTW it was rye bread)

This cant-be-determined statement tops the one immediately above it when it comes to (shall I say) having trouble recognizing what is true from what is not, based on very simple information/statements.

Fred spent the money he had for a snack on gum instead
And this one (besides having nothing to do with what was offered in the information provided) makes Fred look like a gum-chewer (when maybe he despises gum-chewing) AND suggests that Fred couldn't/didn't (for one reason or another) stick with his plan to use the money to buy a snack. OR.... . how about this one: Fred ATE the gum as his snack!!!! OR, maybe Fred (being as kind and generous as we think we know him to be) gave the gum to a homeless and hungry person so that s/he could have gum as dinner.

Fred didn't really want to be bothered picking up cereal for his friend, but he felt like he owed his friend a favor because two years ago his friend drove him to work for a month, when Fred's used Plymouth blew its engine and it took him that month to get another car.

In addition to any number of other flaws with believing this one to be true, this one gets into the leaning toward believing one can read the mind of Fred; and, believe me, it's NEVER safe or wise to believe one can read the mind of someone else.

Fred shouldn't let his friend walk all over him the way he does.

Without spending a lot of words on this variety of accepting as truth/fact what is not based on the actual information offered, things like who "walks on" whom are often in the eye of the apparent walker, apparfent walkee, and/or observer. As with the rest of the statements that have nothing to do with the basic information offered, this statement has nothing to do with anything (with regard to the immediate purposes of the test).

Fred should have bought the bread at a different store because knowing the way Fred wastes bread by throwing away the ends, he could have spent less at another store. In fact, if he were willing to eat day-old bread (which he isn't - because he's so damned picky about what he eats) Fred could have gotten the bread even cheaper still. In fact, I think Fred may be having a nervous breakdown because he's only slapping together sandwiches for lunch, rather than putting in the time/effort to make something healthier than sandwiches. Not only that, I think Fred is working himself to death as a way of not thinking about his nervous breakdown (although, of course, Fred is such a loser at everything he does he can't even stick to his plan of working himself to death because he insists on having a social life, resting when he's worked too much and too long, and puts lettuce and tomato (no artery-clogging meat for Fred) on those sandwiches he - for some inexplicable reason - seems to need to eat.)


Also, what we've learned about Fred (again, based on a few simple statements about his trip out for milk and bread) is that he's someone who doesn't know enough to stay in out of the rain, to avoid the sun, or to get out of the house instead of living like a shut-in. And, that Fred is as selfish as they make 'em because he didn't offer to pick up cereal or anything else for anyone else. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Fred put that gum he used his snack money for in some of that rye bread he bought and ate the gum sandwich on his way home (rather than worrying about hungry, homeless, people)

It's a good thing Fred (of the test question) is make-believe (although what's make-believe and what isn't don't always matter to some people). AND, while I know there are plenty of people in the world who can (and do) easily sort out what is real from what is made up (by them or by someone else), there are plenty more who can't or don't for any number of reasons.


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    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 

      3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      I agree too many reality shows thay doesn't make sense , just jokes and humiliated isn't just right

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