New Coupland Excerpt
A N E W E X C E R P T F R O M M c S W E E N E Y ‘ S 3 1Fucking fuck , there is no place worse than the port side of the Luxurious CBS Yacht. Each morning I’m greeted by sauna-like humidity and the perpetual odor of tuna sandwiches, plus, believe it or not, the sound of CBS executives playing racquetball. Their court is on the other side of my headboard’s wall. Thank you, British divorce laws, for handing me this sack-of-shit career move. We’re in the middle of fucking nowhere and sleep doesn’t even provide me with dreams, just an escape from those sniveling American shits I now have to shadow all day. Could these people have found a place on earth more remote? Excuse me, but were the Kerguelen Islands all booked up? Did Pitcairn Island shut down for an extended religious holiday? I tried Google-mapping this place: Fucking fuckity fuck.
The Republic of Kiribati is an island nation located in the central Pacific Ocean. It comprises thirty-two atolls and one raised coral island, and is spread over 1.4 million square miles. Kiribati straddles the equator and, on its east side, borders the international date line. Its former colonial name was the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. The capital and largest city is South Tarawa.
OFFICIAL LANGUAGES: English, Gilbertese
GDP: $206 million
INTERNET TOP-LEVEL DOMAIN (TLD): .ki
INTERNATIONAL CALLING CODE: +686
Our ludicrous contestants had to choose names for their “tribes” today. I suggested Swallowers versus Spitters and got pursed lips all around. Fucking Americans: no sense of humor. Doubtless they all own Forrest Gump on DVD and have already asked each other what they want to be when they grow up. They are monsters.
Kiribati has few natural resources. Commercially viable phosphate deposits were exhausted at the time of its 1979 independence. Copra (dried coconut kernels) and fish now represent the bulk of production and exports. Tourism provides more than one-fifth of the country’s GDP.
I have eight fellow cameramen, five of them veteran crew members of this wretched show. They divide contestants into two categories: Fuckable and Unfuckable. They treat the latter like Molokai lepers. As far as I can see, our biggest technical issue is ensuring that our shadows not appear on the sand—very hard to do around sunrise and sunset.
Survivor is a popular reality-TV game show, versions of which have been produced in many different countries. In the show, contestants are isolated in the wilderness and compete for cash and other prizes. The show uses a progressive elimination, allowing the contestants to vote off tribe members until only one remains and wins the title of “Sole Survivor.”
The initial U.S. series was a huge ratings success in 2000 and triggered a reality-TV revolution in the USA.
Last night I got saddled with infrared night-shift filming. Ray, a fellow Brit cameraman, told me it’s too early in the season for the contestants to truly fuck around, and I was prepared for eight hours of drying paint when a storm came out of nowhere and blasted away the pathetic huts they’d made as shelters. Talk about sniveling! So much fun to see them get what they deserve. The Spitters also inadvertently spilled their rice canister. When they picked it up, it had become a big white lump filled with dead sand flies. It looked like raisin-bread dough. They are going to starve and it’s going to be very funny.
Ray tells me that it usually takes about three storms before the contestants discreetly offer blow jobs in return for chocolate bars, bug repellant, and antifungal sprays. Perhaps there is light at the end of this tunnel.
Am feeling a bit ill. Too much sun is getting to me, I think.
—from “Survivor,” a biji by Douglas Coupland.