the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘reality TV

Vigilance by Robert Jackson Bennett

published Jan 31 2019

where I got it: purchased new












My reaction to this book was not subtle.



Like most of his recent work, Vigilance isn’t about what it’s about.  This is not a story about a waitress with a bar full of privileged idiots.  This is not a story about a reality TV executive producer who isn’t as smart as he thinks he is.  This is not a story about guns. The story and the characters are just the oil glistening on the surface.


Although never explicitly mentioned, This is a story about the psychology of fear, and how easy it would be for a media company to make a killing by monetizing fear. This is a story about info-tainment, and how media and advertisers view consumers.


Remember when the pharma companies literally came in their pants with how much money they made off of Viagra? (and in related news)   In Vigilance, it’s the media and marketing companies that are making a fortune off keeping the viewing public in a constant state of flight or flight, a constant state of heightened anxiety, a peak moment when we are least likely to make rational decisions.  And speaking of Viagra, there is the whole “ideal customer” aspect of the book, which either shouldn’t be funny but is, or should be laugh out loud but isn’t. . .  i’m still not sure which.


Ever been to a reality TV show watching party?  It’s fun to watch Survivor with your friends, it’s fun to watch The Bachelor with your friends, it’s fun to watch the Oscar’s Red Carpet show with your friends. We do it because it’s fun. We do it beause we want to see who gets voted off the island, who does or says something idiotic, we do it because we want to talk to our friends about what everyone is wearing. It’s fun to check the feeds online while watching, so that you can feel like the whole world is at your watching party.  It’s fun, right?


We enjoy unscripted reality tv because it’s unscripted. We don’t know what’s going to happen next. And deep down, we’d love to be on that show. Reality TV can be a safe place to be the hero of  your own story, to get positive attention, to have people clap for you.


(there’s a Come on Down! You’re the next contestant on! Joke in here somewhere, right?)


Vigilance is America’s new favorite reality TV show.  Episodes only run every few months, the contestants and the location is kept a secret until the moment the episode begins.  As soon as the online rumors begin of an imminent episode of Vigilance, the social media streams can’t seem to talk about anything but the possible locations for the upcoming episode.

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FTC Stuff

some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.