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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

More on BB and Galloway

This has been copied without comment because it sums up how I feel pretty well:

Big Brother's muzzling of George Galloway encapsulates the reasons for our political malaise
  
  Zoe Williams
  Tuesday January 10, 2006
  http://www.guardian.co.uk/
  
  It's rare to come across a TV programme, indeed a cultural experience of any sort, that manages to bring together two points of view you absolutely hate, and pit them against each other. Rarer still for that programme to be Celebrity Big Brother, which normally contains no ideas at all, even by accident. These notions have alighted like ugly sparrows upon the head of George Galloway.
  
  The first is this: that young people, in order to be "engaged" with politics, need to be spoken to in language they understand, via media they have a track record of taking an interest in. Post-internet, post-PlayStation, post-reality telly, traditional campaigning simply won't reach them. This has become orthodoxy. More young people vote in Big Brother than in elections, ergo, politicians must appear on Big Brother. It's daft. I've been to Sainsbury's more often than I've been on a protest march; it doesn't follow that I will only turn up to a march if someone along the route will sell me tomatoes on a two-for-one offer.
  
  The second argument is very rarely openly framed, yet is visible in all kinds of political discourse. It is that anyone with passion, with a judgmental moral code, with an idea in his or her head beyond "let's all stay calm, and make more money", is inherently foolish; and that such an individual's arguments are only valid if they are totally blameless from every conceivable angle, and in the unlikely event that they prove impossible to decimate with flimsy personal attack, can be laughed at for having anything so old-fashioned as a set of beliefs.
  
  As soon as Celebrity Big Brother started, the Guardian tried to get hold of the Bethnal Green MP through constituency channels. A bit mischievous, this. A surgery had been held on Friday, and of course no MP returns a call in a day - I'm still waiting for Diana Johnson to email me back from November.
  
  In any case, the idea was reinforced that "Gorgeous George" is all style and no substance and is in love with his firebrand image, and that any cause he associates himself with is just an excuse for his attention-seeking. But if this were an MP with a reputation for being jolly - Boris Johnson for instance - no such inquiry would have been made.
  
  This makes it a mug's game to be the person with the trenchant beliefs, since by modern standards you will never be worthy of them. Channel 4, while it denies having any agenda, manifestly intends to excise Galloway's political views. Since day one, when it cut several of the contestants agreeing with the MP about the Iraq war, the Big Brother edited highlights have yet to show him saying anything about politics. And in E4's round-the-clock version, the MP is repeatedly bleeped.
  
  Is he going on about sex and using coarse language? Or is he being censored in a more serious way? Precisely because he claims to have principles, they are deemed worthy of less respect than those of someone who slept with Sven Goran Eriksson. And here is the real reason for the disenchantment with politics among 16- to 24-year-olds: idealists, who might inspire passion or loyalty, or even interest, are cut down for something totally trivial.
  
  Galloway, though, is guilty of falling in with that standard line of "I want to connect with the millions of people - most of them young - who are turned off by conventional approaches. It's the Gen X factor". Not so - it doesn't take blathering populism to hook them, but the very opposite: it takes conviction.
  
  Galloway has conviction as well as Big Brother membership; he emerges from this business more sinned against than sinning. His detractors should be held accountable for political inertia in this country. Yes, the Big Brother machine does get a lot of votes. But let's not become so confused by the word "vote" that we seriously believe 16-year-olds want to run the country this way.

posted by summersun70 at 5:43 AM

1 Comments:

Blogger Michael said...

Another very interesting blog and comment about Celebrity Big Brother - I don't watch it personally and dislike the media hype surrounding Channel 4's break into reality ....... or is it! Very good.

11:27 AM  

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