The VigilanceVoice

July 10, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 301
The Price Is Right--For Vigilance!

Cliff McKenzie
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZERO, New York City, July 10--One of America's great icons of Vigilance is in the hospital fighting for the grand prize--his life.    His name is Bob Barker, host of America's longest running game show and 14-time Emmy winner for the Price is Right.

         He's a symbol of Vigilance, one that cannot be overlooked when America searches for leaders of the Vigilance Revolution.
         On Friday, the 78-year-old master of the game shows underwent emergency surgery. Prior to this announcement,  Barker had been scheduled for prostate surgery.    He has been hosting the Price is Right for three decades, starting in 1972.   Over the years, more the $200 million in prizes have been won by his contestants.
         My affinity to Bob Barker isn't just about the entertainment value the Price is Right offers.  It is about the power of a group of people, from all walks of life, banding together to help one another.
         A few months ago I started to watch the Price is Right.  After finishing my story for the day, I cooked breakfast and sat down to enjoy it.  I flicked on the television--usually to the History channel, but one day paused to watch Barker doling out prizes by the handfuls.   For fun, I began to try and guess the value of the prizes, enjoying the audience participation part of the show from my New York City apartment.
        I found something special in the way the people in the audience reacted, something that would drive Terrorism in the opposite direction with its tail tucked between its legs.  It was unanimity.

                 Contestant's Row

     Historically, there is no more fierce defense against any invaders than a wall of popular resistance.  When all the people stand up, willing to fight, aggressors take stock.   The goal of any invading or conquering army is to strike Fear, Intimidation and Complacency into the people so they won't resist.   Hitler tried this by shooting citizens in public places who resisted the Nazi authority, driving the citizens into shells of fear, hunkering about in states of Intimidation and unable to act because the Complacency of their state overwhelmed them.
       But, if those under the heel of Nazism had been in the audience of Barker's Price is Right, odds are they would have stormed German defenses and ripped the hearts out of their oppressors.
       If one watches the Price is Right for three or four times, and lets the bias of a "stupid game show" filter itself from pre-programmed prejudices, a beautiful world of Vigilance flourishes from the television screen.

 The audience is electrified.   People cheer and clap, quite unlike the mockery of audiences comprising the Jerry Springer Show, with a sincerity for one another that might only be rivaled by members of the U.S. Navy Seal Team, or Marines graduating from boot camp, or Olympic Women's soccer teams capturing the Gold Medal.
       Everyone is "part of."   There appears to be no exceptions.

          30th Anniversary Celebration

        When Barker announces: "Come on down!  You are the next  contestant contestant on THE PRICE IS RIGHT," the audience erupts with glee.   High fives and hugs are given by strangers, as though the diversity of those standing in line is erased once they enter, and they all become brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers of each other, wishing the best upon the chosen one(s).
       I find the excitement of contestant being picked far more thrilling than whether they win anything or not, for the audience itself comes to life, humanity bonds, victory for one is victory for all.
      Then there is the game itself.   Contrary to most game shows, the Price Is Right employs maximum audience participation.  The contestant uses the audience to make decisions--its groans tell the contestant not to pick that choice, and its cheers affirm the consensus of the body the other choice is more on target.

  Salute to The United States Marine Corps

       Yesterday, a young man started to bid on the grand prize and the audience kept groaning until he reached a level they cheered.  He won both showcases, valued at over $60,000, plus, earlier he had won a car, bringing his winnings up to nearly $80,000.
       The psychometrics of the show allow the audience to win, if nothing more than in its glee it helped a "family member" win.    The solid wall of support between contestant and audience creates a force, an almost unrivaled power.
       Were I to wave a magic wand and set up a model for Americans to follow in the battle of Terrorism, I would point to the Price Is Right.   Therein lies an architecture all members of all communities can pattern themselves after, and strive to achieve.   Were they able to come close to the esprit de corps emanating from the Price Is Right audience, any Terrorist would turn tale and run.    More importantly, the community of people, young and old, from all ethnic backgrounds, would become one, more concerned about each other's welfare than their own.
       The magic of the show is Bob Barker.
       He's earned his right to be a Sentinel of Vigilance, a symbol of unity, one who has the Courage, Conviction and takes the Right Actions necessary to carry the Shield of Vigilance with honor.

        Born in Darrington, Washington, Barker spent most of his youth on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota where his mother was a schoolteacher.   When World War II came around, he became a Navy fighter pilot.   The Guinness Book of World Records list him as television's "Most Durable Performer," with 3,524 consecutive performances as the 18-year host of Truth or Consequences, and "Most Generous Host In Television History" because of the hundreds of millions of dollars he had awarded over the past three decades on his various shows.
       But he is also a man of deep convictions.   He is best known for his leadership in the Animal Rights movement.  In 1988 he resigned from hosting the Miss USA and Miss Universe contests because the producers refused to remove fur coats from the prize packages.
      He established the DJ&T Foundation to help control dog an cat populations.
      In March, 1988, CBS dedicated historic Stage 33, the Bob Barker Studio following the taping of his 5,000th show.  It was the first time CBS ever dedicated a stage to a performer.

      Barker's personal life hasn't been without problems.  He weathered storms of sexual harassment by his "Barker's Beauties," and has been fighting cancer and heart problems.
      But his true calling is his ability to rally the spirits of the many into one.   His personal life is filled with symbols of courage and compassion that seem to eke their way into the audience of the Price is Right, shredding the common competitive differences that separate so many from becoming one.

         In troubled times, when America's seams seem to be splitting with moral and ethical and physical threats to our security, both from Terrorists without such as bin Laden, and Terrorists within such as WorldCom and Enron and Imclone and when America's icons of stability seem to be falling off the wall like Humpty-Dumpy-Martha Stewart, Bob Barker's formula for Vigilance stands out of the crowd.

       It is a refreshing respite from the news of who is screwing over who these days.
       It promotes what America is truly all about, rather than digging up smarmy maggots that have soiled our soil.
     If you want to take a trip to the Land of Vigilance, a place where we all can find the unity that the Pledge of Vigilance suggests is possible, tune in the Price Is Right.  And as you do, let's hope that Bob Barker survives his most recent health crisis.   I'd hate to have to go back to the gloom of Hardball while I eat my midday breakfast.

Go To July 9--Sweet 'N Low Larceny--Vigilance or Terrorism?

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