Thursday, 14 January 2010

Big Brother's Big Bag of Balls

Here's how pervasive the phenomenon of modern reality TV has become.

I have not watched a single second, not seen a single still shot, nor have I bothered looking up any details on-line about the current series of Celebrity Big Brother (running in the UK at the moment, for the benefit of you lucky lucky foreigners), yet somehow I know all about it. How did that happen? I've heard theories that you learn faster when you're asleep, which I sincerely doubt, but to actively avoid information only to have it seep into your brain anyway? How does that work.
In his superb book 'Neverwhere', Neil Gaiman coins the phrase 'White knowledge', akin to 'white noise' but instead of a background noise it's background information that the majority of people become aware of without realising it. He uses this phrase to describe how people eventually end up knowing the ins-and-outs of the London Tube system, which makes sense as that would be very useful for residents of London who need to get about. I'm guessing I've picked up my Celebrity Big Brother (and no, I will not call it CBB) knowledge in a similar manner, for all that it is utterly useless to me. So this is what I know about the Celebrity Big Brother contestants.

DANE BOWERS - He was in that band. Another Blue Alert Level, wasn't it? He was the one with the high voice, or is that Blue? Then he went Solo for a bit when they finished, and did a song with Victoria Beckham, which strikes me as the musical equivalent of playing Russian Roulette with 5 bullets in the chamber. Then he was with Jordan for a while, which strikes me as the sexual equivalent of the same thing.

STEPHEN BALDWIN - If the Baldwin Brothers were Captain Planet's Planeteers, Stephen would be the one with the power of 'Heart'. A Born again Right-wing fundamentalist, the sort of person who does for regular Christians what Harold Shipman did for GPs, Stephen apparently doesn't believe in evolution because 'there are still Apes'. This argument convinced Dane Bowers and the glamour model one, and he no doubt thought of this as a victory for himself and God. Prick

SISQO - Most people who confess to having an underwear fetish are kept at arms length and usually pitied, but they at least have the decency to admit that it's weird. They don't write songs about it that become international smash hits. For clarification, Sisqo's biggest hit is 'The Thong Song', which is ridiculous; his crowning achievement was his role singing the chorus for 'Wild Wild West', the groundbreaking Will Smith rap/film. Sisqo also stays in my head as his name is a blatant rip-off of Captain Sisko, the lead character from Star Trek: Deep Space 9, who if it came down to it, could easily beat him in a fight.

LADY SOVEREIGN - A Lady Rapper? Whatever next. Apparently she's young and stroppy, like a spoiled Teen. Her credentials as a rapper are apparently 'she raps', by which logic I am a professional film critic as I've seen a film and talked about it before. I genuinely don't know anything about her, particularly why she's considered a celebrity. I imagine when her Rap career flounders she'll go back to mummy and daddy and they'll get her a well paid job as a consultant in 'the city' or something. To me, everyone who has more fame than ability has wealthy influential parents, and I've not been dissuaded of that preconception yet, no matter how wildly wrong it may be.

A WHOREMONGER - A woman who is famous for running a brothel that catered to celebrities. Is this in any way acceptable? Yes, she was in the papers (I'm told) but then so was Ian Huntley, and I don't think he's considered a 'celebrity'. Isn't it normal procedure to punish criminals? Why would she be on Celebrity Big Brother... ah...

SOMEONES GIRLFRIEND - Or is it ex girlfriend? Christ, that could describe any of the female Big Brother contestants. And Pete Burns.

VINNIE JONES - That guy who used to be a violent footballer, but now is an actor playing exclusively violent parts. I saw an interview when he started acting, where he said 'I really want to win an Oscar'. How's that plan working out, Vinnie?

SOME TITS - There's one who is basically a mobile life support system for a pair of breasts. There always is. Names are irrelevant, it might even be the same one every year. Nobody would realise. She needs to be there, to make the possibility of nudity a positive thing

THE OTHERS - There are others, like it makes a bit of difference.

For pretty much all my life, I have been overly aware of other people listening to me. I don't know why, maybe it was because I grew up in a busy pub; there was always someone around. As such, I always behave as if I'm in a library. I'm always conscious of speaking too loudly and disturbing others. As a result, I speak relatively quietly and very quickly, as most people who've spoken to me will attest to. So the thought of wanting to go on V and have millions of people take time to stare at you for hours on end is utterly alien to me.
Big Brother may have been interesting. Not sure if they still do, but they used to bill it as a 'social experiment'. Another example of the double standards of media types when it comes to Science (a hint of science makes something more credible, but if it's said or done by an actual scientist, it's boring and/or untrustworthy, see the MMR vaccine scandal for many examples of this.
If it's an experiment, what's the hypothesis? What are they measuring? Where are the dependant variables? Is this counterbalanced? Exactly how does 'let's put a bunch of twats in isolation and see what they do' benefit society?
2010 sees the last series of Big Brother, celebrity and regular. I personally think it could have lasted longer if they'd been more strict about the experimental aspect. Obviously, given the media Frenzy around it, the 'social experiment' that is Big Brother would have subjects skewed largely in favour of the 'Shallow fame-hungry twat' variety. For a proper experiment in social interaction, you'd need a control group. Imagine watching a house full of people who don;t want to be there, who've been randomly abducted from the street. I'd watch that, no doubt.

That would be quite illegal obviously, but if they're already glorifying Prostitution ring leaders, how is that any worse?

Twitter: @garwboy


Anonymous said...

CLAP CLAP! I applaud your thoughts. It would be more entertaining to add a bit of science....a few electrodes or injections in the diary room from time to time! Must be a neuroscientist thing....

Paul Blanchard said...

A brilliant summing-up of Britain's top celebrities and the best show on television... Or something like that anyway...
Good blog, added it my reading list :)

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