Thursday, January 18, 2007

Idiocracy UK ~ Celebrity Big Brother

Mind-rot masquerading as entertainment has been endemic within our recalcitrantly idiotic popular "culture" for some time. UK tv's witless procession of neanderthal nonentities, fame junkies and wearisome wannabes, paraded for our postmodern delectation and delight, has been varnished with so many layers of irony and self-justifying claptrap that we're asked to celebrate "reality" tv both for its alleged authenticity and, simultaneously, for its ironic inauthenticity. The ironic joke behind Celebrity Big Brother is that the so-called "real" celebrities are humiliated and subordinated to a new generation of "fake" celebrities manufactured by reality tv. Of course, the pre-scripted punchline of last year's CBB was that it was won by the only non-celebrity contestant, Chantelle.

Presumably we were supposed to enjoy the spectacle of reality tv's vile progeny the Goodies (even their surname sounds like it was engineered in Big Brother's Ironic Laboratory) accusing authentic Bollywood star Shilpa of being a "fake." The "authentic" culture clash between the imbecilic bastions of British idiocy the Goodies (and their like/simple-minded coven of cronies) and the Big Brother household's comparatively gracious Indian and American guests was a cynical set-up, and the inevitable pay-off was always going to involve inarticulate Jade, Jackiey or Danielle (so vacant and unpleasant that she might as well be a Goody) claiming that the fluent foreigners couldn't speak "proper" English. Dignified Shilpa's discomfort upon being asked to join in with the retarded Brit Pack's sordid sex chat was clearly factored in to the script by Endemol executives as a mere appetiser to the inevitable "spin the bottle/show us your g-string" antics that would surely follow. The Crass corrupting the Class was their intention, but Shilpa was just too self-assured to succumb and, thankfully, the indications are that the British public are on her side.

Endemol, and Channel 4, hoped this would play out like a bad 70s sitcom. Big Brother's first task involved forcing the celebrity housemates to play the roles of domestic servants to the awful Goodies and this was clearly a plotline designed to maximise the sitcomedic potential of cultural dissonance/class divides. As it happens, due to quirk of good/bad fortune, Shilpa was spared the indignity of waiting on the Goodies, but BB's intent was there. Ch4/Endemol's disengenuous claims that the mongrel sitcom, that they so assiduously and artificially produced, "Are You Being Racially Abused?", is an authentic reflection of wider British society is both a cynical attempt to boost ratings and an egregious evasion of responsibility.

Memo to Channel 4, Endemol et al: this is the crass "culture" that you helped to create. This celebration of idiocy, shallowness, greed and incomprehension ~ this culture of despair ~ that's your glorious legacy that is, so don't blame us. This is the "culture" that you, and your sycophants in the mass media, bribed, brain-washed and blackmailed us to buy into. Those of us with the temerity to condemn mind-rot tv like CBB were dismissed as "pseudo-intellectual" or "out of touch." Don't start whining when the "stars" of your artificial and idiotic entertainment vehicles are perceived to be authentic ambassadors of Britain. Big Brother is certainly a microcosm of a macro-malaise, but society isn't to blame: Endemol and Channel 4 are.

Perhaps we should just put India's incomprehension at the imbecilic, inhospitable antics of the moronic Brits down to their inability to appreciate irony? If the Indians possessed a scintilla of sophistication they would surely have deconstructed all this puerility as postmodern japery? Cultural differences, you see. We promote idiocy, promiscuity, drunkeness, rudeness and anti-social behaviour with an ironic insincerity that simultaneously celebrates and condemns it. Now we've been treated to the spectacle of the mass media devouring the surgically-altered poster girl of Idiocracy tv as "salt-of-the-earth" Jade Goody is suddenly rebranded "bigoted Baddie." Dr. Frankenstein is in denial, absolving himself of all responsibility for the monster that he created.

Screw the smug cartel who promote our vacuous celebrity culture: panderers, pimps and profiteers the lot of them. Vultures picking on the carcass of our, formerly vibrant, popular culture. May they choke on the bones.

1 comment:

Master G said...

The sure legacy of this tragedy, is that Jade will re-emerge, re-branded, re-sized, re-energized.

In the medium term, despite swapping her strapped-on morons for more palatable hangers-on, her inhabited world will curse the very purchase she retains, and this while forgetting her as the ultimate celebrity sell-out.

Unless of course, this episode re-defines what celebrity is all about.