'Kid Nation,' mirror to ourselves - Johnny Jackson

I was told to take a look at the new CBS reality television series, "Kid Nation."

I did for about five minutes, and I have to admit there is some quality in this reality show -- more than most, anyway.

The stars are children, ages 8-15, who are made to be somewhat autonomous.

Sliced from the "Survivor" series, with twists from other reality series based on using judgment for entertainment's sake, the "Kid Nation" series is quite dramatic, at times.

I grew up watching MTV's "Real World" and "Road Rules" reality series.

These provocative series were once considered admirable pursuits, during the dawn of the '90s -- similar to quality documentaries, like "The Farmer's Wife," about the would-be plight and survival of the American farmers and their families.

But that quality quickly faded, giving way to the increasing hype of reality television stardom.

Now, you don't have real people showing pieces of their lives, anymore. You have characters, many of them, playing star roles.

"Kid Nation" is only slightly different from the reality television I've seen morph before my eyes recently. That is, the series seems valid, insofar as it imitates daily life.

It is a surreal mirror image of life depicted among adults -- like looking through a funny, carnival mirror at ourselves.

These children mimic the prejudices and mannerisms of their parents and adult role models, stirring up conflict nearly as eloquently as the adults I've seen in my lifetime.

They emulate, perfectly, our faults and our conscience, without disguising them. The emotions are raw and have not been honed, yet, into the subtle, repressed emotions we keep in our tones of voice, or in the wrinkle of our noses.

Here is what's good about "Kid Nation"...

We've all been subtly offended and overtly stubborn and small-minded at times, and rarely pay those behaviors any attention.

But when they happen on "Kid Nation," with children, we not only judge the reality stars on the series, we recognize them as children, and we wonder why they are so offended, stubborn, or small-minded.

We begin to wonder about ourselves -- their biggest influences.

Johnny Jackson is the education reporter for the Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached at jjackson@henryherald.com or at (770) 957-9161.