Big Brother / Stings Like a Bee

As newscasters last night counted the bodies that piled up in the Eilat bus crash, 107 days of national nuttiness came to an almost-sparkling end as the "Big Brother" reality show had its big finish, with the announcement that Shifra Kornfeld won the NIS 1 million prize.

"Look how small it is and how huge it looks on TV," said one viewer in the VIP room. They came in buses and vans from across the country, hoping to win their 15 minutes of fame. The contestants who had already been kicked off the show wandered among them - reveling in their last moments of glory, being photographed by every third-generation cell phone in sight and handing out autographs.

"This isn't a TV show, it's a cultural phenomenon," television presenter and columnist Yair Lapid said from the screen. He knows a thing or two about culture and subcultures.

Subculture? Desperate to find something in common with my son, I found myself watching "Big Brother" with him over these last few weeks - possibly the only thing we can still do together. Yesterday he called me from his army base to get an update. I don't think he has ever regarded me as highly as he did yesterday, after he was told I was in the VIP tent.

Ranin Boulos, the only Arab housemate, is even taller and more fit in real life than in televised reality. It was radiant in the tent. Everyone was getting along well when a woman in an Israel Air Force uniform called out: "Ranin, Ranin, we love you!" For that moment alone, it was all worth it.

Watch out for her, she stings like a bee. One after the other, the ousted housemates walked down the stairs. Soon it will all be over and the halo will disperse like froth over the stormy seas, leaving us in our vacuum until the next pleasure, the next reality show.