Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I loathe I'm A Celebrity and its utter contempt for nature.

Normally my hatred for various television programs manifests itself in the form of not watching and finding something else to do instead, which means you can't really vent, or you end up looking like something from the Daily Mail or one of the stupider bishops.

Big Brother, for example, strikes me as increasingly unpleasant form of class warfare*, and one that can't be excused by picking on the stupid. In fact, I'm fairly sure that picking on stupid people makes it just a little bit worse, as stupid people really ought to be protected by the brighter ones, nurtured and cared for and treated kindly, as quite often they turn out not to be stupid at all, and even if they don't, well, you had a go.

I could go as far as to describe Big Brother, and those behind it (producers) and in front of it ('oh my god it's awful isn't it but you have to watch it don't you' journalists, of which the Guardian seems to employ an increasing number) as a bunch of over-privileged yahoos with the compassion of an African dictator. And to those who say 'Ah, but the public loves this stuff', I would say: 'Well They're Cunts And All'.

However, I didn't watch it, so these opinions are baseless, and wildly ignorable.

On this occasion however, I did watch an episode of I'm A Celebrity at close quarters with some colleagues (stout-hearted and compassionate folks all), and frankly it rather freaked me out. Something about the way the contestants joyfully screamed and wriggled and yelled as they had insects poured on them, or crunched underfoot, or pulled off their backs filled me with what I can only describe as a bleak loathing for all humankind.

It's entirely possible that the assorted creatures didn't have a clue what was going on, or were having a fabulous time, maybe even thinking 'Ooh, that David Gest didn't sound a bit like I thought he would, hang on, I think he's sussed, I'll just scuttle round to his other shoulder'. And I have bought a spanking new leather manbag, and on my recent working trip (ahem) to Mallorca I managed to live on Mostly Sausage, so clearly I'm a massive hypocrite. And yet something about the way those people behaved with the animals, as though they existed only as rather revolting props, demonstrated just how homo sapiens has become divorced from the rest of the natural world in a way more profoundly tragic than any number of documentaries about polar bears splashing miserably about in melting icewater could ever achieve.

Furthermore, I missed the Howard Goodall thing about music Sunday night on Channel 4. ARSING BLOODY BOLLOCKS.



*This isn't to say I loathe all reality television - the cello one off Faking It made me cry out loud.

35 comments:

Mangonel said...

Just after you posted about a three-foot long mantis you manlily beat to death and then ate (except not really)?

Tim Footman said...

Faking It was superb.

What is Mostly Sausage? is it like Crumbly Cheese?

patroclus said...

Not all of humankind. Just the city-dwelling sort whose only contact with 'nature' is manky-footed pigeons and those filthy little mice that run about among the tube tracks.

Here in The Countryside I observe a kinship with nature (by which I mean hunting, killing and eating that which can be hunted, killed and eaten, and setting cats on that which scurries and makes off with chocolate and soap) that hasn't changed for centuries.

I don't see an awful lot of reality TV producers, though. Or viewers, for that matter.

james henry said...

I'd like to point out that the praying mantis was three feet long, and that any bludgeoning was done with a very real sense of respect.

wolfie said...

Howard Goodall was- as his name suggests- very good indeed, especially in describing clearly how the pentatonic scale actually works, and how just a few hertz difference separates blue notes from "bum notes".

james henry said...

Bugger - I'm hoping it'll be repeated on E4 ore More 4 or Ooh 4 or whatever it is, before saturday, but no sign yet.

kalista said...

Wonder if Goodall is his real name cos as Wolfie said it was bloody good.

James, that mention of bludgeoning brought back a memory of an old post where if I remember rightly, you bludgeoned some small animal to death with a shovel.

Hurrah for the manbag btw!

Jen said...

I couldn't agree more. I have seen said twaddle in the past, and when they eat poor creatures alive just for viewers kicks makes my blood boil. I'm actually surpirsed PETA isn't all over it. (or maybe it is and I missed it.)

Jayne said...

You do know we'd all have a lot more respect for the manbag if you'd made it from the hide of the 6 foot long praying mantis you (or rather Fay) valiantly slew...

And maybe used the leftovers for a matching hat.

Anonymous said...

BUGGERING WANK! I missed Goodall's show, too! Have you read his book; 'Big Bangs'? It's wonderful! I closed the book on the other side as a better person.

I'm also singing one of his compositions with my choir on Songs of Praise on the 26th. ;-) Hallelujah and all that.

As for 'I'm a Weirdo with No Career, Get Me Out Of Here!'; you've said what I've been thinking. It's cruel, it's thoughtless, it's agitating, upsetting...

And worst of all; it brought to the forefront of celebrity: Pete "Torso and Brain Capacity of a Washboard" Andre and Katie "Titty" Price. Along with their family. Don't even get me started on them, I'll only offend people. And I'll go to hell.

cello said...

You are right James about the lack of respect for animals. Hitherto I had mistakenly interpreted the cockroach up David Gest's bumcrack as an arthropod in the ascendant, but that's not true is it.

And anyway, I'm a Celeb has gone all vicious now by creating gender rivalry, so I should give it up I guess.

Would you forgive me if I just watched the Ant and Dec bits because they are very very funny?

And I have the Howard Goodall prog on the Sky+ so in theory should be able to transfer it to DVD with a bit of help from Mr C. Any interest? Or I can just ask C4 to send me a VHS? I'm not sure what I think of him to be honest. Accessibility is all very well as long as you don't destroy the very thing you are trying to opne up. But I revert easily to cultural élitism where music and poerty are concerned.

baggiebird said...

I didn't watch Big Brother and I'm not going to watch i'm a z list celebrity resurect my career. I've seen previous series of both of these and can only descrive them as car crash telly. Frankly I can think of better things to do with my time

Steve Dix said...

What worries me is that this is all being broadcast into outer space.

It's hardly surprising that alien intelligence doesn't reveal itself to us, when we persist on broadcasting evidence that there's bugger-all intelligence on the Earth.

button said...

oooh! you got the manbag

richard said...

I absolutely agree about the lack of respect for animals, as I was saying to one of our mutual friends only yesterday.
You didn't miss much on the Howard Goodall programme. He was clearly drunk, smashed up the piano with a sledgehammer then played mournful Berlin cabaret tunes on a kazoo for the rest of the show.
He may not have done these things. Have a look for Lucy Mangan's review of it if you want to get slightly cross.
"I learned a lot, but it was hard going*. Perhaps I am just not used to watching television designed to improve rather than rot my mind."

* no, it wasn't.

Anonymous said...

Howard Goodall the second person in the world to have an 'Art Garfunkel' hairdo, only his do was orange I seem to remember. (Still is for all I know)

I loved Faking It, hate I'm a Celebrity and liked the first Big Brother because of the lesbian nun, mainly. Don't watch it now.

violetforthemoment said...

Howard Goodall's thing was one of the very rare programmes that I didn't intend to watch at all but saw 2 seconds of when I was channel surfing and got totally sucked in, it was just lovely. Couldn't pass an exam on the topic, mind, but I'm definitely watching next week.

This seems to be a return to good old fashioned telly values - a jolly nice chap with a posh voice patiently educates the unwashed masses. Sort of like the chap off the Pimms advert with a more pro-social message. Makes a nice change from condescending middle-class harridans screeching at commoners to behave like normal people (I'm looking at you, McKeith and Trinny and Effing Susannah)

Albert said...

James, I'm curious about your Big Brother hatred. You say you didn't watch it, but you obviously developed your strong opinions about it based on something. What was the something? I've never quite understood why people who don't watch BB hate it so much. Is it because of all the bollocks written about it in the liberal media?

I've watched several seasons of BB and still find it fascinating - at least until all the interesting people get voted out. I've also watched a few episodes of Celebrity Witchity Grub, but I find it really dull. Must be the format rather than the Celebs though, cos Celebrity Big Bruv I find highly entertaining. Mmmm. George Galloway in a leotard.

Smat said...

I like I'm A Sleb but then I'm watching it with Eldest Baby Smat so therefore it's Social Glue (or whatever the term over on Patrolclus's blog was) and somehow becomes acceptable (although I need to explain all the unbleeped swearwords, and who everyone is and why that makes them a celebrity).
That's my excuse and I intend sticking to it anyway.

james henry said...

Albert - 'liberal media'? Who are you, Fox News? I liked the first couple of series, then they started picked people they reckoned would get them tabloid headlines and poking them with sticks, and the whole thing became sour very fast. Also, I am now addicted to rollmop herrings, thanks to the tub you left in the fridge.

Smat - a perfectly fine excuse.

Hells said...

Can't say I enjoy anything that is reality television. I did catch a snippet of I'm a celeb. It had that Jan woman moaning how her agent told her the eating of creatures was fake (they must have thought they were Thornton chocolates in the shape of Kangeroo testicles). Personally if I was Jan, I'd wonder if my agent really did like me, seeing they'd willingly send me off to a snake and spider ruled piece of jungle.
Anyhow, there seems to be so much reality TV nowadays I hardly turn my tv on once the kids have gone to bed.

Anonymous said...

The best reality tv is definately 'America's next top model' especially as Tyra Banks is slowly going insane.

Albert said...

Oops. I meant to put 'liberal media' in quotation marks.

Thinking about it, I guess I'm more like Badger News. Or maybe Stoat News.

mcbqonm - What you call a man who eats all your rollmop herring.

patroclus said...

Mustelid News: Wolverine 'looks like some kind of monkey-bear' - exclusive report.

jeff said...

screw big brother.

leather manbags are the way forward.

Spinsterella said...

Going back to what Albert said - because you can't fucking escape it!

It's all over the front pages and the radio and all that everybody you work with and live with and have to associate with ever fucking talk about. God.

Albert said...

Spin, I can understand why that would be annoying. I have the exact opposite problem. Almost everyone I know either hates BB or won't admit to liking it in public. Occasionally, I'll say something positive about it, and someone I'm with will cautiously pipe up and admit they like it too, rather in the manner that I suppose paedophiles admit their guilty secret to one another.

Stoat News: "Wood Pigeon 'just wouldn't shut the fuck up,' claims killer kitten"

Anonymous said...

Well, I do quite enjoy watching BB, but I'm certainly not proud of it. I've never found that Jungle thing very fun. For one thing I have never heard of anyone on it except for Peter Andre and Jordan years ago, and also the premise is like some sort of payground game of Truth or Dare.
The animal cruelty aspect isn't really something I've noticed before but now you say it that is a very good point.

Anonymous said...

meh reality tv is a play to make shitloads of money without the creators etc having to do anything themselves, they don't have to pay actors and the celebs that do do it don't get payed too much - it's a way to get them back into the limelight - and it's all just the same thing over and over - i'm glad somebody had the sense to rant about this stuff (well done james)

Ros x (LCG)

Anonymous said...

James are you still on holiday or are you just busy being a celebrity comedy writer about town?

james henry said...

I'm back, and last night was forced to go to a party with Doctor Who and Maureen Lipman. Still hungover.

Paul Pennyfeather said...

My perfect party- why was I not invited

james henry said...

Because neither of them like you.

Anonymous said...

you went to a party with doctor who :o that sounds like a good party to me :)

Ros x

Anonymous said...

I love men who cuss about cunts.