Whoa, whoa, WHOA everyone. Let's not lose sight that this is a place to express your opinion and that they are all valid here.
Magnum: My apologies if I came off glib... I totally hear where you're coming from and respect what you have to say. In fact, it's great that we have opposing viewpoints because it makes for a great discussion. That said, I'm going to pull a few points from one of your previous posts; not to pick you apart, but rather so that I can address them in return. I'm not looking for you to say "gee, you're right"... I just want to express how one person from the other side of the Russell issue sees things.
I can't understand how it's okay to be mean-spirited, selfish and petty while you're in the game, but it's totally verboten when you're on the jury. I think the assumption here is that jury members are expected to "rise above." In theory, this is true... but you have to remember that any jury is comprised of plain old people empowered with a vote... and like many of us, they'll vote for both good reasons and bad, right reasons and wrong. (Look at any presidential election ever and you'll see a lot of this going on.)Originally Posted by Magnum;3787372;
Let's put it this way: has there ever been a legal case where the jury has been swayed and the clear "wrong" side of the argument won because they had a better lawyer? Of course. My point is that Russell needed to step up and be the better lawyer here. And as amazing as his gameplay was, his endgame lacked finesse. Now lots of people say that the jury's mind was made up at the merge... I'm not so sure about that. Personally, I was on the fence about this guy all season long, and I was waiting for a big, powerful presentation from him at the end, justifying all his actions. Instead, his actions at FTC seemed to rub the jury's nose in how little he thought of them.
Now all this seems to be saying that the jury did, in fact, make the "wrong" vote. I think there is a VERY valid argument that Russell should have been rewarded for the sheer effort he put into the game. Yet, I was thrilled when he went down in flames... which leads me to:
See, I don't understand how people CAN root for Russell, and yes, I found him to be exceptionally offensive. Everytime he gave a "confessional", I cringed at his lousy command of English and blatant, disgusting ego-stroking. I think his treatment and opinion of women is highly questionable. Psychologically speaking, I think the guy is a train wreck. And I have serious, serious doubts that this is anybody I would ever want to have anything to do with in real life.Originally Posted by Magnum;3787372;
Now, this isn't to say that he played a hell of game. I'll give him credit for identifying that no player to date has really, REALLY played the game hard. I'll also be candid and say that he's probably the biggest game-changer since Richard Hatch.
That said, his gameplay was incredibly flawed. It was really only half a strategy in many cases. In fact...
WHAT RUSSELL DID RIGHT:
1. Played the game HARD. Russell really got into the nitty-gritty of making this a personal pursuit right from the beginning. He totally immersed himself, and identified what he could use as tools to get his way.
2. Tossing out some really effective lies. The Hurricane Katrina thing was beyond low, but brilliant nonetheless.
3. Being Ruthless.
I have to sidebar for a second: I don't think you really mean "cheating"... to cheat means to violate the rules of the game, and I don't think that's condonable in ANY case. Example: A player manages to smuggle in food for themselves. This isn't good gameplay... it's giving yourself an unfair advantage.Originally Posted by Magnum;3787372;
I think what you mean here when you say "cheat" is to be be insanely ruthless. I TOTALLY concur. As far as lying goes, I really feel that people are being incredibly naive to think you can get through this game without lying at least once. In fact, lying is an effective tool in this game, and I think Russ realized this. The thing is, you have to use that tool with finesse and a great deal of care... I'll get back to this in a second.
4. HII Hunting. Russ identified a big ol' gap in the game and leapt on it, and that was that no one has ever actively looked for a hidden immunity idol without first getting clues. I honestly felt that this was the most brilliant part of his gameplay. I will also say that the HIIs seemed to be easier to find this season than in the past... but hey, it certainly kept things interesting.
5. Effectively playing the HII. Yeh, it's about time that someone wasn't a complete knucklehead about having and playing the dang thing.
WHAT RUSSELL DID WRONG:
1. Demoralizing his initial tribe. I've said this before, but I'll never understand the timing behind this. What sense is there in weakening your tribe BEFORE the merge? Yeh, they'll be easier to manipulate. But you're virtually guaranteeing that you'll go into the merge with low numbers. And that's exactly what many people have said cost Russ the game (i.e. that he had to fight unreasonably hard to get to the end). I think the better manipulator would have rallied the troops, gotten them into the merge, and THEN let all hell break loose. Was Foa Foa too weak from the start? Perhaps... we'll never know. I think if they were as highly organized as Galu was at the beginning, they would have gone a hell of a lot farther (yoga not inclusive).
2. Playing the game for all the wrong reasons. It became very clear that Russell's motivations were to feed his ego, especially as the game wore on. I think this caused him to make some really bad decisions, like...
3. Tossing out some really ineffective truths. Admitting his income was stupid, stupid, STUPID, and proof that his ego was driving his gameplay. He wanted eveyone to know how big a man he is... instead, it just created a huge mark against him when it came to jury votes. Bottom line is that the jury is giving away $1m, and they're NOT gonna want to give it to anybody who doesn't need it. In fact, this is an element of the game that seems to be entirely ignored: it's human nature to want to help people and do the "right" thing. And who needs/deserves the MONEY (not the title) more? The sweet, young gal who quit her job to be there, or the swaggering, admittedly wealthy jerk who got you voted out? And PS - If the money truly meant nothing to Russell and he was after the title only, he should have made that abundantly clear at FTC and offered to donate the cash to charity... that certainly would have gotten my voted and I can't stand the guy.
4. Lacking Finesse. Yeh, his bull-in-a-china-shop approach was entertaining. But it was also too transparent to everyone else in the game. Nobody wants to feel "played." I strongly feel that a true mastermind would never, EVER have revealed to anyone how they're being moved like chess pieces.
5. Underestimating Every Other Players, All the Dang Time. Honestly, this is what really made me seethe where Russell was concerned: it never seemed to enter his thick skull that maybe, just maybe, the other players might have something up their sleeves. Sure, he identified key threats and had them removed. But never once did Russell say anything truly complimentary about anyone. They were all ninnies from the start... and I'm sure that most people (except Shambo, who we all know was pretty much clueless) knew that Russ felt that way about them. Which leads to the biggest flaw of all:
6. Not Caring a Rat's A$$ About How People Felt About Him. Confidence is great... cockiness isn't. Fact: You need these other people. Let me repeat that: YOU NEED THESE OTHER PEOPLE TO WIN. You can't do this on your own, and, even if you could, there's gonna be a jury made up of these people judging you. And that's exactly what they did to Russell. Was their judgement fair? Newsflash: I doesn't need to be. Life isn't fair and neither is Survivor, kids. Like I said before, Russell thought that the jury would recognize how powerfully he played the game... instead, they recognized how much a jerk he had been. And that's their prerogative.
And there, everyone, is the crux of the argument: go with the logical choice (vote for the strongest player) or the emotional one (who you want to win). AND THERE'S NO RIGHT OR WRONG HERE, only which way you would personally go.
Me? In the end, I thought Russell was King of the Jerks, too, and I was tickled pink that he didn't win. My kind of winner (and the kind of player I tune in to watch) is Tom Westman (Winner - Palau). Boring? Not to me (although I completely understand people who think it might be.)
One last thing that really isn't arguable: Russell's reunion show/post-show behavior has been deplorable. Yeh, I totally understand being upset about not winning and I certainly get his point. But there's a better way of expressing it. I thought the whole sock thing during the reunion show was ridiculously pre-planned and a desperate cry for attention to soothe that bruised ego. And offering to buy the title from Natalie was the essence of pathetic. (Many have said he was joking... I didn't see it that way.) Again, the post-show attitude is just more proof of how little he's thought of all of these people right from the start, and that bugs me more than anything else.