Friday, September 09, 2005

Wrong way to play the audit lottery

Survivor 1 winner Richard Hatch has been indicted for tax fraud, including failure to report the $1 million prize that he won on the show. As a big Richard Hatch fan (as a TV character - I wouldn't actually want to have to deal with him), I must admit to feeling sorry for him. Also, given how many millions of people know that he won the million dollars, and given as well that Michael Brown of FEMA (who didn't know there were people in the Superdome) does not head the IRS, this was not exactly a case of immorally but rationally playing the audit lottery. It seems clearly to have been a case of self-destructive pathology (which is not to challenge in any way that the IRS is doing what it must in going after him).

Survivor is actually the only network show that I have watched regularly in the last couple of decades, and Survivor 1 truly was classic. One of the great pities, from a social science standpoint, is that they didn't film Survivor 2, and perhaps a couple more, before broadcasting Survivor 1. I guess I should be grateful that Steven Johnson's Everything Bad is Good for You offers at least a qualified defense of watching Survivor.

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