Survivor
Burnett's Book of Love

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Burnett's Book of Love

Burnett makes no bones about the fact that Susan lied up, down, and sideways to nearly everyone on the island, starting with Sonja, whom she'd promised to preserve from the tribal vote (33). Sure, he reminds us of the story of Susan's "very special friend" (177) who died, and of whom Kelly reminds her, and of her tearful insistence that "[t]here ain't no way I'd fuck Kelly over, no way" (177). But as we all know, that's not the end of the story.

Fortunately for the reader, Burnett does finally reveal exactly what Kelly did to inspire Susan's awesome wrath. As the book tells it, as Sue was sobbing out her confession of love for Kelly, Kelly approached Richard and "proposed an Alliance between the two of them" (177), cutting out Susan. As soon as he saw Susan, he told her what Kelly had asked him. Susan's white-hot rage was the natural by-product. I have to say, knowing that gives me a whole new appreciation for Susan. Susan's speech was harsh, but really, Kelly was a weaselly bitch.

Burnett loves Rudy, homophobia and all. His continual disquisitions on Rudy's service to his country, fame in Armed Forces circles, blah blah blah are too boring for me to repeat, so trust me -- Burnett would have been happy had Rudy won it all, and I wouldn't be surprised if he even loves him enough to let him on Survivor II.

Burnett also seems to agree with Susan about Kelly. He makes repeated reference to her issues with "rage" (17, 33, 189), asserts that she has "maternal issues" (215); perhaps it was these same issues that drove Kelly to write Susan a letter of apology for her attempted treachery (202), which Susan declared was written out of desperation. Burnett sums her up thus: "She was Las Vegas, a pleasant boomtown craving substance, but not quite sure where to find it" (215). Please. I was just there. Kelly is not Las Vegas. She's more like Branson, MO.

Perhaps predictably, Richard is the castaway about whom Burnett's feelings are the most ambiguous. The first line of the book (apart from the prologue) asserts, "Richard Hatch was destined to be the first castaway voted off" (21). Burnett marvels throughout the book at what Omar has dubbed "the historic Gay/Homophobe Survivor Treaty of 2000" between Richard and Rudy. He covers the Richard we saw on the show -- selectively fishing, organizing the Alliance and directing its votes, gloating, pouting, yada. At the Tribal Council that gave Susan the boot, Burnett reports that it was Richard's torch -- and not Susan's -- that extinguished itself during the deliberations (216), and when the fiercest storm of the thirty-nine days ensued, Burnett quotes a crew member as saying, "The jungle gods said who they wanted voted off, and were ignored....This storm is them showing their anger" (217). Are we to take from that anecdote -- coupled with Burnett's frequent reminders that Susan is the salt of the earth, a tough mama who's hunted bears with a bow and arrow and who's even lived in the rugged Ontario wilderness, is deeply in love with her half-man/half-couch husband Timmy -- that if Burnett had his way, Susan would have won? Burnett is not shy about revealing Susan's many faults and double-crosses, but he clearly thinks she's smart and strong, and resents Kelly on her behalf. With Gretchen out of the picture, I think Burnett would have been happier had the final two come down to Rudy and Susan instead of Kelly and Richard.

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Survivor

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