Monday, August 08, 2005

Monday's Mutterings

The BBC radio news this morning - on the headline summary as well as the detailed bulletin - reported the death of an American newsreader, Peter Jennings.
Who?
Why?
Do we give a shit?
Does anything better illustrate the extent to which we are becoming an American colony?
How many of us have ever heard of Mr Jennings?
And what a one-way traffic this is. Do you suppose that American broadcasters would ever report the death of a British newsreader?


***

Later I passed up the opportunity to finally find out what Pilates is all about, from an item on Woman's Hour. I've always thought it was a way to keep fit by washing your hands because my mind always makes the short leap to Pontius Pilate. Imagine my surprise when, just before turning off the radio, a woman referred to "some exercises you can do using a towel". Perhaps I was right all along.
***

Catching a fragment of Bad Lads' Army this week (and, believe me, you wouldn't want to catch more than a fragment), I noticed that one of the favourite terms of abuse used by the army officers to their recruits is 'poof' or 'poofter'. I couldn't help wondering how this sits with the army's new status as an Equal Opportunities Employer, with gay men and women now able to serve in our forces. I also wonder if it's acceptable to put homophobic abuse on prime time television. Would it be acceptable if these officers screamed 'nigger' at recruits?

Since this is the third series, it must pull in respectable ratings. When it began, I assumed it was a genuine experiment like the series that put children through the educational systems of the fifties and sixties. But it's actually the worst type of reality television that exploits and humiliates its subjects. But since they're mostly working class petty criminals, why would anyone care?
It also has more nudity than most prime time programmes, with more arse on display than at a mooning convention. That probably guarantees a rise in the ratings. I can't speak for others, but like every programme I've ever seen about naturism, it makes me question why I ever found the human body attractive. Have you ever seen a good-looking naturist of either sex? And when they come out with that old cliché 'you never look at people in a sexual way', the only possible answer is 'I'm not bloody surprised.'

But I digress and risk upsetting anyone who is reading this in the nude, unless it's because they're about to move on to their Monday webcam session with Dan or Doris in Oswestry or Osaka.
My final thought on Chav Scum Get Stark Bollock Naked - sorry, Bad Lad's Army - is the irony that the army officers who scream 'Poof!' every thirty seconds sieze every opportunity to get their young recruits out of their kit and are always in the washroom taking a close personal interest in their naked ablutions. In any other context this would be considered 'inappropriate behaviour' and at worst would land you in court.
And if this level of abuse and humiliation is thought mild enough to be television entertainment, it makes you wonder what really goes on at Deepcut and the other barracks where a number of real young army recruits have taken their own lives.
***

When I wrote about Robin Cook yesterday I had no idea that he had been instrumental in the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Scotland, 13 years after the law was changed in England and Wales. I gleaned this from a letter in the Guardian today.

So there we have an unsuspected similarity between Robin and that other great Briton, David Beckham. Both of them men with a strong heterosexual sex drive yet secure enough in their own identity and sexuality to be content for others to express a different sexuality freely.

I don't know if David shared Robin's views on proportional representation or the importance of establishing an International Criminal Court. But I think we can safely say that Robin was shit at taking free kicks.

4 Comments:

At 8:08 PM, Blogger portuguesa nova said...

Though I think everyone's becoming an American colony these days, I must say that the deaths of British broadcasters are in the news here and I think exactly the same thing as you did with Peter Jennings.

I believe that must be a self-centered journalist thing.

 
At 9:31 PM, Anonymous graham said...

Iv'e not watched this series of Bad lads Army but it has nothing to do with the modern army,the earlier programes were about national service in the 50's and how modern blokes would cope with 50's discipline.

 
At 3:21 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

pn, you're probably right, this has a lot to do with the incestuous world of the media.

graham, you're right to say the series is based on National Service in the fifties. But the officers are contemporary army officers, serving or retired, and I can't believe the abuse, bullying and humiliation is any less in today's army. In fact, we know from other sources that it is not.

 
At 8:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do u just hate reality tv per se?

Bad Lad's Army is, in my opinion, a superb reality tv programme. Once u get past the cringe factor.

What u get is an account of how people can change for the better over a period of weeks from an extreme experience. The nasty pathetic immature yobs that enter the process emerge totally different - invariably they see the error of their ways, are embarassed by who they were before, and look to be uselful members of society in future.

I dislike most "reality" programmes but I'm open to ones that really mean something. Not even Shakespeare (stop sniggering) could've got such a profound message across so succintly - that modern society is churning out a generation of vile young adults who only lack proper direction.

Bring back national service? Now i'm too old for it, yes!

 

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