Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Non Story of the Year Boosts C4 Ratings
The story is allegedly about racism featuring in the programme but I can't actually find any evidence of it from what I've variously read in the press. It seems Jade's boyfriend used to 'c' word to describe her(saying more about him than her), and one of the other women called her a 'dog'- patently absurd as she is clearly beautiful; more than can be said for any of her female critics. I haven't watched the programme for more than 15 minutes(honest I haven't) but Bollywood actress, Shilpa(pictured) seemed to me to be composed, serene and charming. Maybe that's why Ms Goody et al disliked her so.
Actually I don't think this story is really about race- it's more about education and class. Shilpa is an educated, talented woman from a race which used to be subservient. Jade and co. reflect the prejudices of envy and resentment more often found among the graceless and the uneducated. But the obvious thing is that Channel 4 will be delighted at this furore as ratings for this series were well down....until yesterday. Moreover, they have a good story to tell; it's allegedly about race but isn't, at least explicitly, so they can protest the innocence of their 'housemates'. It's in reality more about bad behaviour and transparent envy- both acceptable on the telly and compelling magnets for more regular future viewers. But you can be sure I won't be one of them-well, apart from the occasional peek that is.
Yes, race is just below the surface and will break forth whenever tempers are roused. People often say racist things they don't really mean when angry; it doesn't really exonerate them but, if true, it does mitigate the crime a little. With the 'lumpen' cabal you identify, however, I don't think even this defence stands up.
Why do the ratings go up? Because we watch in morbid fascination at this reflection of a society which exists alongside, but not with us.
[But I don't. Obviously. I caught the afore-mentioned conversation on the radio news! Anyway, my students' test is ending so I'd better get ready to teach them something about nationalism. Hmmm]
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