One bonobo's view of the world...and stuff.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Television is a Crack Whore

I see no reason not to add my two penn’orth to the terrabytes that have already been devoted to Jade Goody. (has this Yukanian obsession impinged on consciousnesses outwith Britain and India?)

It’s important to remember that two – or more – sides can both be wrong. Yes, her remarks were clearly racist and she is a bully. Yes, she had an outrageously negligent upbringing, and in the light of that one has to have a certain respect for her in being the only Big Brother alumnus to make a career out of it (can you name any of the others?). Yes, there is something despicable about the class prejudice against her. Yes, she has been scapegoated for representing a common-or-garden racism which is somewhat milder than much of what is out there.* Yes, the public (and I’m not excluding myself) have akin to the audience at the Roman circus. Yes, television is a crack whore that sullies anything it touches. Yes, she has been exploited by programme makers who are pimps for the crack whore (obviously in this analogy, we are the johns).

But only one person will suffer. Only one will suffer vilification, ostracisation and career meltdown. The nation will continue to be complacent about racism. Television producers will continue to be unmitigated cunts and arseholes**.

The accompanying photo is the second in my occasional 'Guess the Relevance of the Accompanying Photo' series.


*It is undoubtedly positive that her remarks were almost universally recognised and condemned as racist. Yet only a few years ago, I worked on a project for which the customer’s director was Iranian. He was commonly refered to, by people who didn’t have Jade’s excuses of stupidity and poor education, as ‘Onion Bhaji’. Do we think there’s been a massive culture change in the intervening period?

**Full Disclosure: I’ve had a couple of minor brushes with television and radio. Even in the context of Current Events programming and Open University units (yes – I am the man in the paisley shirt and kipper tie), it is not a pleasant experience. I have yet to meet anyone in the meeja who did not have their head firmly up their own arse.





There’s a new recipe on Flaming Pie: ‘The site that elevates tofu to a foodstuff’ coming soon. Keep watching.




Here’s how to hang someone without decapitating them. And here’s a drop table for calculating the required rope length according to the weight of the hangee. Nice!




Giving ‘Poddage to:
MC Solaar
Dylan – Desire and Blood on the Tracks
MIA
Serge Gainsbourg –‘Chez les Yé Yé’ is my chanson du jour.
Neil Young – Weld. I’d forgotton just how mighty it is.
The Good, the Bad and the Queen. Marianne Faithfull and Roy Harper should both consider sueing.

9 comments:

truce said...

Bring back the Gladiatorial arena, that's what I say. I have a feeling that Jade Goody might not be so hopelessly out of her depth in that particular circus. My money would be on her with a trident and net against the meeja types any day.

psychocandy said...

The things I miss over here... I've no idea who Jane Goody is, and have never seen "Big Brother". It sounds similar to a show we used to have over here that I didn't watch, either.

I don't know who are worse- the meeja types who come up with this programming, or the boneheads who watch it. Chicken/egg or something like that.

Edward the Bonobo said...

Ah, but...the programme makers have been extremely clever here. They even got people who'd normally despise BB watching on Thurs and Fri. (i.e. me - but then...who didn't watch it?)

For the full story - just Google News "Jade Goody". No - we don't know who any of the other 'celebrities' are either. Here's Her Wikipedia entry

Big Bad Johnny P said...

I can safely say that I have never (even though I am in a position to) watched either Big Brother or the "Celebrity" spin offs.

Nothing - apart from the offer of a reasonable amount of cash, could induce me to.

Edward the Bonobo said...

Oh, I'd never watch it as entertainment. But last week it crossed over into Real Life.

Yes, obviously it's an inexcusable programme - but putting snobbery aside - undeniably it was a fascinating social and cultural happening. All manner of subtexts about race, class, media manipulation, etc. etc. All frightfully postmodern. Definitely worth watching.

Who says that televison'd lost its ability to bring the country together?

Dan Goodman said...

I have quite enjoyed some past series of BB, but I've never watched any of the 'celebrity' versions, and I certainly ain't gonna watch any of this one.

Edward the Bonobo said...

That's fair enough. But don't either of you have an anthropological curiosity? And hasn't the recent attention made it is central in our understanding of the current state of British society?

That's why I watched it last Thursday and Friday - honest! It wouldn't have crossed my mind otherwise.

(Although I would like to have seen Ken Russell on it. I met him once - but that's a long story that would require even more name dropping).

Dan Goodman said...

Funnily enough I had to type BB into the word verification thing in writing this reply.

I try to resist viral marketing wherever I can, and I suspect, although I don't know, that the BB controversy is just another example of this. Maybe I'm missing out on a small aspect of what British culture is like, maybe I'm not, but my time is finite and I can't watch everything...

Edward the Bonobo said...

It seems to be that the coincidence of the BB incident, and this week's news topic of homophobic religious bigotry, mark a significant point in British social history. The progressives are starting to stand up and proclaim their position in the mainstream.