Survivor Kaoh Rong

Casual Survivor: The Final Fore

In a world fraught with autocorrect and 140-word count limits, lives a group of underground rebels driven to take back control– control of syntax, usage, and even pragmatics, but mostly control of an argument gone terribly awry.

They call themselves Prescriptive Grammarians, but they call others Morphological Morons, Phonetically Challenged, Lexical Losers, or if they’re especially sardonic they write (sic) after quoting. Others refer to them as Grammar Nazis, Thought Police, Denotative Droogs, Semantic Sickos, or just plain anal as they try to keep discourse limited to the actual topic at hand. But be warned–they will not stop until they tire out their unsuspecting prey, calling them out for each and every typo until they go for the jugular by pointing out the coveted comma splice.

No doubt, spelling is a wonderful skill because not only does it help one convey one’s message clearly, but also it allows one to recognize others’ errors. Most people recognize mistakes but plod along reading, understanding fully what the writer intended. And then there are the Grammar Nazis. Interestingly, they were found to possess “less agreeable” character traits than their counterparts who overlooked mistakes:

Was there ever a doubt?

Welcome back to Casual Survivor. I’m happy Joe won a challenge before he was taken out. I really loved him as a player. I was hoping he would make it to the Final Tribal because I looked forward to his response to the jurors’ questions. Joe was quite astute and his language was clear and concise… when he spoke. This week, we will look at how the finalists rank grammatically as I restrain myself from editing some of the quotes.

Eighteen contestants, thirty-nine days, thousands of pointless, repetitive comments, triple negatives, filler phrases, wordiness, and structural errors… This is Casual Survivor…

Archetype: The Grammar Police

 “It’s redundant to call a blindside unexpected. All blindsides are unexpected!”

Regarding this quote, I beg to differ. If CBS is describing the blindside to viewers, perhaps we will find the person who is blindsided a surprise. It is very probable that Survivor commercials address the audience and not the contestants. The quote assumes that the blindsided person will not expect it. Someone should tell the writer of the comment that connotative meaning trumps denotation in discussions.

Here are a few comments about our last four standing:

“Cydney should not have let Joe eat all of that meat. She’s disgusting.” This was followed by another person’s comment: “Joe is a grown man.” Cydney has quite a few supporters out there.

“Aubry has played a quiet, strategic game.” Aubry is quite popular for the win. Fans admire her strategy.

“Tai voting off Scot was the deciding move. Best blindside in Survivor history” Tai has many supporters, yet many do not see him as a winner.

“Go, Michele. The others suck.” Our least popular contender has vocal fans.

Jury votes often come down to the speeches given. These caused Amanda to lose, Sophie to win, and David Murphy to steer everyone towards voting for Boston Rob. With this cast, it is hard to determine if someone from the jury itself will sway others to vote his/her way as the more articulate players have ended up on the jury. Truly, Scot, Joe, Julia, Nick, Neal, Debbie, and even Jason are quite effective speakers when you think about it. It might be an intimidating ordeal for a few contestants still in the game.

This week we’ll rank the contestants according to their use of language.

  1. Michele

Is there anything more annoying to the Grammar Police than someone repeatedly saying “I know”? Perhaps saying it as one chews gum is, so thankfully, there is no gum on the island because it is Michele’s catch phrase. Michele is somewhat of a paradoxical speaker. Her confessionals often contradict themselves by the end or leave the listener wondering what she meant.

Here are some of Michele’s memorable gems in all of their grammatical glory:

We don’t need big burly men to do it for us.  We can figure it out.  Within 20 minutes, we figured out a new method.” Joe doesn’t count?

“I just don’t like that kind of behavior.  I don’t tolerate it in my regular life and I don’t want to tolerate it here either.  So, they can keep the power struggle going on but we are not going to back down.  You know, we are always going to find a way.”…as she puts up with the behavior and never confronts Jason or Scot.

 “I just don’t trust Tai at all. I think that he’s bringing a lot of anxious energy. He made his bed and right now Tai is number one for me.” Michele has a new twist on an idiom.

“The way that Nick speaks to me is not in a way that I would ever tolerate a man speaking to me in my regular life.  I want to be like: Bro, I know.  But that’s his ego.” Huh?

Michele is likely to state how she made strong, independent moves, but joining a voting bloc is not blazing a trail. It is flock mentality. Will the jury prefer the sheep to the shepherd?

  1. Cydney

From triple negatives to similes containing onomatopoeia, speaking in third person, and down home idioms to an emphatic use of “slick” in adjective, verb, and noun forms (!), no one can deny that Cydney is a grammatical force to be reckoned with. While Grammar Nazis could have a field day navigating across the minefield of her colorful language, many find it refreshingly fun because it has flavor.

I was surprised to read many negative comments about Cydney. Her brand of assertion is interpreted as aggression by some, but there is nothing wrong with refusing to budge and causing others to work around that. If not for Cydney’s patience (or some would say short fuse), Aubry would have been voted out.

Pure poetry by Cydney:

“We can’t go to no Final Three with no damn Tai.”  I’d love to see a tie vote at Final Four with Tai voted out. It would add a new dimension to this comment.

“I was like brr.”

“Don’t check me, boo.”

“Irritated Cydney will blow the whole game up.”

“He’s too big for his britches and it rubbed me the wrong way.”

“My BS radar was going like this when Julia was talking to Miss Debbie.  You think it’s strategic for you to come from this group over here and come with the first question: What is our strategy for the next Tribal?  I don’t trust her.  She thinks she’s slick?  You can’t slick a slicker in any direction.”

I’m not sure the jury will appreciate Cydney’s brand of grammar or her style of play, both of which are unconventional. Personally, I would LOVE to see her win.

  1. Tai

Tai is very articulate; he just lacks subject/verb agreement, correct verb tense form, and at times, sentence structure, but his meaning is crystal clear. Tai may have trouble convincing the jury he felt trapped simply because he does not have an arsenal of vocabulary, but what he does have is heart and his commentary is emotive. His journey was a beautiful tale of struggling in life and overcoming obstacles. Tai shared his humorous side, his poignant side, and his parental side through his many dealings with Mark the Chicken. His inflection added to the memorability of his more famous comments.

Here are some of Tai’s best moments:

“No, no, no, no, NO.”

 “I’m from Vietnam: I lived through the war and I survived. I went into a boat in 1979: 262 people in a 26-meter boat. We were just sitting there like this for 11 days. We had no food, just a little bit of water and we just float, and float and float and we end up in a refugee camp really close to here for a whole year and then we come to America. Through all my life, that’s a lot of things I survived through so I think I have an advantage. Adventure is excitement and I can’t sit still. This is Survivor: It’s once in a lifetime and I’m loving it.”

 “I was totally going for the kiss. Just to tease him. I know he can take it. I think he liked it a little bit.”

 “I worked so hard for this. Jeff made it so…It’s not easy but I never give up because the idol and I belong together.” 

“I woke up this morning and I just sit down.  Debbie, two seconds behind me, she say: “Hey! I really like you.  You are going to be in our alliance.  It was pretty impressive.  I’m not buying her story.  I’m not a fool.  I see right through Debbie.”

Tai has probably already told his tale of being a refugee, so he is left with defending his gameplay. Will it bode well for him? I hope he can muster up the courage to strike back.

1. Aubry

Aubry is articulate and a tad crude in her unintentionally inappropriate use of language. Neal’s a “son of a bitch”, she has a” little bulge” on her leg, she dislikes “triple-teaming”, and “things blow back and bite her in the ass”, yet she has narrated how to play the game by comparing it to paving a road, the Oregon Trail, and a test all in one quote.

Aubry has cried on the downs, cheered on the ups, and let us see the game through her eyes whether as Cochran’s dream girl or Cochran and Sophie’s love child, which I feel is an apt description and a clear indication of a winning attitude (although juxtaposing those two sound bites respectively is a bit disturbing). Her use of contrast is what makes her an especially interesting narrator.

Here are some of her strategic quotes:

“Deb needs to cool her jets.  She is trying too hard.  Double and triple-teaming people isn’t the way to go when you are trying to get the numbers.  You have to show confidence and right now we are showing desperation.”

 “I didn’t think I would be crying this much on Survivor but there has been so many ups and down and right when I thought we were going to get some traction under us, my biggest ally is out of the game. I got a nice little bulge on my leg that everyone got to see and I’m thinking, with Neal gone, there is no way the Beauties join the Brains and the idol went home with Neal.  That son of a bitch!  Really, Neal left me hanging but Survivor is a test.  You pave your way by yourself…It’s like going on the Oregon Trail:  You have to cross the rivers… climb the hills, and sometimes, you have dysentery and die.  You have to pave your own way.”

This game is Aubry’s to lose according to most fans. What could possibly Kaoh Rong?

I am very excited for the finale because anything could happen. People are saying Tai cannot win whatsoever, but he could win immunity and land in the finals. His heartwarming story and his blindside of Scot were events that kept Aubry and Cydney in the game. If he is assertive enough, he could make a compelling case. To me, a Tai win completes an epic story of struggle that ties back to his struggles as a refugee in the same land.

A Michele win proves that luck and laying low works.

Cydney as a winner would be satisfying. She started the dominoes in effect by turning on Nick and sussing out Neal’s idol. She has been using Aubry as a strategy shield. (What is the equivalent term for meatshield?)

Aubry is the predictable winner, but she has had both strategy and luck on her side. Had Neal not been evacuated, she would have been out. Cydney’s targeting of Nick placed a target on Cydney’s back temporarily, but ultimately, Tai’s turning on Scot was the nail in the coffin for that alliance. Aubry has had a good read on people, but will the jury have sour grapes? It’s hard to say. Having Joe in Ponderosa might quell any negative feelings that her blindsides have caused.

The ultimate irony in the finale would be for Debbie to vote Tai after championing a female alliance all season. I’d actually like to see that.

No matter how you view a winner’s attributes–strategy, social skills, athleticism or a combination thereof– it has been a fun, fascinating season full of twists. Most fans, be they casual or hardcore, have chosen Aubry as a winner. If she wins, this is one time, I don’t think I’d like to hear: “Winner, winner, chicken dinner.” Long live Mark!

Thank you for reading. I appreciate the support I’ve received from some of you and even the negative feedback. I will not be writing after the finale due to surgery, but I look forward to next season. The leaked cast members look amazing, and as much as I seemingly mock fans, myself, and contestants this is my favorite show, and as far as I am concerned, there is no bad season of Survivor.

Which player would you like to see win? How do you think they will hold up to a jury that might have some grudges?

Health, love, and happiness in the off-season. See you on the message boards!

Become a patron of RHAP