Another Tack: Latter-day 'Queen for a day'

Way back in the antediluvian era of American media, there was a daytime TV offering called Queen for a Day. Many consider it the early forerunner of at least some reality television genres – the sort that focus on family tragedies, personal agonies and other assorted heartrending crises. Each episode featured four contestants vying for the “most miserable” or “most pitiable” distinction. The dubious winner’s bitter lot was rewarded with big-prize giveaways.
It was up to the audience to judge which of the four unfortunates was closer to rock bottom and therefore worthy of their sympathy. That sympathy was grotesquely measured by an “applause meter.” The loudest clapping presumably meant that the circumstances unfolded in one of the competing sad stories were the harshest. Continue reading