OK, so following on the heels of the show about the assasin, Brown produced a show in which an audience was given to believe they where part of a new reality game show, they where given masks to conceal their identity and voting devices and asked what outcomes they would want for the "contestant" an individual who they believed was being secretly filmed and who they could produce pleasant or unpleasant outcomes for by voting. A example being that going to a shop he could be the 1000th customer and be treated well and win a cash prize or be accused of shop lifting.
The true nature of the experiment was like Stanley Milgram's obedience to authority experiment in which people where invited to follow the instruction of a "scientist", an authority figure or someone in that role, and administer increasing levels of painful electric shocks to test subjects, the test subjects where actors but given anonymity and sanction by authority most people did follow instructions without questioning the ethics or refusing to inflict pain.
Well, Brown's show, what I watched of it because it began to disgust me and wasnt particularly entertaining, had the audience with a steady more or less 40/60 divide steadily voting for the nasty options. So the "contestant" (I'm not sure if he was an actor but I presume so) was accused of groping a lady in a bar, he was accosted by her boyfriend, he had a pitcher of vodka spilled on him, he was compelled to pay for drinks he hadnt bought, he was accused of shop lifting and arrested and all while someone searched his home, searched his internet history, searched his underwear drawer etc. etc. (at this point I switched over).
Brown's point was about the loss of individuation, when people are in a group they are more inclined to behave as the group is, it was also about good and evil and the point seemed to be that people would be more inclined towards the one as the other.
What does anyone think about this?
On one level I wonder what Brown's doing, he published a book called Trick of The Mind, which along with a TV show on faith healers and tele-evangelists in the US undermined faith in religion or God (at least as much as Dawkins and others who I think he mentions in the book), now with the experiments it looks like he's moved on to challenging or undermining any faith their is in humanity too. This said David Blaine's book contains unexpected recommends of Ayn Rand and similar reading material too.
On another level this is likely going to be treated as valid observation and experiment, which I feel is important too because one of the things which Brown mentioned about this kind of behaviour was its parallels with internet and online bullying, not just among adolescents and children but adults. The people in the studio where acting like trolls.