Thursday, January 18, 2007

Big Bovver

Are these people racist or just incredibly thick?

Channel 4 executives must be breaking out the Cubans – point of clarification in these nervous times – I mean to say that they must be unwrapping giant, expensive, hand-rolled smoking sticks rather than assisting residents of the stalwart communist island to choose between selling their soul or their daughters for the slim chance of a decent life. Not a bad idea for a reality TV show if I do say so myself. Sorry.

The Celebrity Big Brother racism row has engulfed the entire of humanity, not the sort of thing that a government or a sponsor might want, but the stuff of minority television legend. Could Channel 4 be the new HBO? Feast your eyes on this wave of destruction,

· 20,000 (and rising) complaints have been received by the television regulator OFCOM so far – dwarfing figures for the previous arbiter of tastelessness, Jerry Springer – The Opera.

· Questions in Parliament resulted in a reassuring ‘We should oppose racism in all its forms’, soundbite from Tony ‘Blah Blah’ Blair.

· Gordon ‘Scrooge McDuck’ Brown, inadvertently visiting India today, faced down a barrage of accusations with, ‘I want Britain to be seen as a country of fairness and tolerance. Anything detracting from this I condemn.’ Wow – how useful was that!

· Protesters in India are burning effigies to the Channel 4 producers, (not that anyone has any idea who they are). Has no one read the source book?

The four Celebrity Big Brother tenants facing these allegations probably could not convince a neurologist that their collective brain activity is sufficient to justify life support. If only they knew how rich and famous their target Shilpa Shetty really is, they might be more gracious. But last year Big Brother slipped in a fake celebrity who everyone pretended to sort of recognise, so much so that she eventually won. Our smart quartet, whose loyal friendship rests on the fact that they have shared a nail technician, have banded together to make sure no fraud ‘from down the Old Kent Road’ gets the public vote this year. And they are, in no particular order,

· Jade Goody, former Big Brother loser and internationally renowned thicko.

· Jade’s boyfriend Jack Tweed, football manager to no one famous.

· Danielle Lloyd - Scouser ‘glamour’ (for international readers = topless), model and has-been footballer Teddy Sheringham’s (soon to be ex) girlfriend.

· Jo O’Meara, professional smoker and panic attackee, who used to be in some singing group for children, not Teletubbies, although she does bare a strong resemblance to La-La Telebubby.

A house full of ‘celebrities’ who don’t actually recognise each other and are left with neither a role nor a pecking order to conform to, will struggle to recall how humans respond to each other in normal society without personal assistants to explain that it’s probably not a great idea to scream all the time for no apparent reason. Think The Admirable Crichton without Kenneth More standing between the hysterical castaways and cannibalism, and you’ll have some idea of what’s happening in there. Think Post Office queue on pension day if you aren’t old enough to have seen The Admirable Crichton. The hapless housemates have no idea of the furore that is threatening to, well, probably do nothing except occupy news pages until Friday.

So, is it racism if a person with a mental age of two refers to someone who is pissing them off as a ‘dog’ or a ‘cunt’ even? The non British people in the house have had their eyebrows permanently raised by the revelation that it is not only possible to reach adulthood in this country without acquiring any learning, but it’s something that culturally defines and validates you. Welcome to modern Britain. Shilpa Shetty seems genuinely fazed by the fact that half of the people in there can’t speak their native language. Her suggestion to Jade that elocution lessons might aid her communication was bang on the money as an ability to correctly hear and pronounce sounds is fundamental to vocabulary building but she might as well have suggested that Jade take a PhD in linguistics. She clearly has no idea just how dumb dumb can be in this country.

Try this for a barometer – When the housemates realised that Jack had been tasked with completing the group’s shopping list Danielle asked Jade, ‘Can he read?’ AND she wasn’t joking. AND Jade didn’t think it was on odd question. She simply answered ‘yes’, which must have come as an enormous relief to any footballer who has recently entrusted him with his contract negotiations. What has been said to and about Shilpa is clearly offensive but is it conscious racism if it’s an expression of blind ignorance and insecurity made by someone who probably couldn’t point to India or even Britain on a map? What is clear is that we seriously need to examine how these four young people, all of whom grew up in multicultural communities, got through an entire childhood without acquiring any knowledge of the world beyond McDonalds and Topshop. Today’s Daily Mail pointed out that Big Brother contestants would probably face disciplinary action for racist bullying if they were at work, quoting an employment lawyer,

‘Richard Linskell, of law firm Dawsons, said he had "no doubt" that some of the comments made on the TV programme would constitute racial discrimination or harassment if they had been spoken in an office.’

I have news. They are at work. They have a contract of employment and are getting paid so the Big Brother house is ‘a place of work’.

Text from Shilpa to the gang of four in a language they can understand,

C U in crt u cnts?

Picture from


Lucy said...

Genius. I sat in front of the television last night and watched that Goody woman dig her own grave. And someone said, doesn't say much about the state of television, does it? No, I said: it doesn't say much about the state of the nation. Any wonder I'm thinking about living abroad.

Anyway. This is one of those irritating "ooh, what a great post" comments. "Ooh! what a great post!". There you go.


I tried to leave a comment just then. I don't know what happened. It came up with another name. But anyway, it was me. I leave you to delete whichever of these comments (assuming the other one got through) makes least sense. It may well be both.

That's so pants said...

Thanks Lucy. I agree. It is not so much what these fools say but more what they represent that is, in the words of Shilp, 'scary'.

Hi NWM. Thanks, I think.

kris said...

Loved the can he read comment last night!

Could this be the biggest mistake of Jade's life?

PC Bitseach was watching CBB in the other room last night and Jade's screaming rant made me think someone was being murdered.

I thought it might have been over by the time I got to the other room, but Jade was just hitting her stride.

Davina, you're cute and we once loved you, but it's over for BB. It's been over for a couple of years. Even Carphone warehouse has had enough.

That's so pants said...

Let us not forget that there are knives and saucepans in there. It could be carnage.

Groucho said...

I must say I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a good book

Penguin Trauma said...

Hmmmm, at the risk of sounding a bit "racist" myself, is it the case that the UK is turning into the USA; that we are slowly but surely becoming "Americanised"

Seeing as anything that happens there always crosses the Big Pond and decides to rest here.

Example shown in Super Size Me: group of kids were shown photographs of famous people. None of them recognised Abe' Lincoln or even Jesus himself, yet they instantly recognised Ronald MacDonald.....

That's so pants said...

Well you learn something new every day. I don't know that I would recognise Jesus from a photo either all though I'm pretty sure I'd pick Abe Lincoln. What nationality is Ronald McDonald?