I believe in a world where anything can be a competition. I often sit on the subway wondering, is there anyone sitting in this car I can beat in a fight? I race people on the street without them even knowing it. But even for a competition-head like me, the new CBS reality show just announced by Deadline, called The Activist, is a bit depraved.
According to the announcement, which reads like someone pulled out of one of those metal bingo spinners and chose words at random to create a series of the worst sentences imaginable, Usher, Priyanka Chopra, and Julianne Hough will co-host the series that “features six inspiring activists teamed with three high-profile public figures working together to bring meaningful change to one of three vitally important world causes: health, education, and environment.”
But how do you win at activism? Surely it can’t just be by amassing a ton of likes and retweets on infographics? Actually, you naive child, it can. The activists will face each other as they promote their causes with “success measured via online engagement, social metrics, and hosts’ input.” What they “win” will be a ticket to the G20 Summit in Rome, Italy! Every activist's dream.
While the press release goes on to quote an executive who says, “Combining philanthropy and entertainment, The Activist is a ground breaking series poised to inspire viewers,” nobody can explain the host selection. Do you think about activism when you think about Usher? I think of the beginning of the “Confessions Part II” music video when he finds out his side chick is pregnant (and also Ushbucks). Meanwhile, from what I understand, Julianne Hough is best known for dancing? And perhaps for her activist work with Proactiv, and maybe for undergoing an exorcism at Davos, and for doing blackface one Halloween a long time ago (2013). Priyanka Chopra (Jonas) seems to be the most political of the bunch in that she is a Hindu nationalist who invited Prime Minister Modi to her Jonas wedding. I look forward to her innovative ideas for creating impact.