A busy week! Too much stress. Although I did manage to complete a poem for the Scottish National Galleries poetry competition and will send it in today.
I watched Celebrity Big Brother last night. The controversy centres around the treatment of Shilpa Shetty, a star of Bollywood movies. Thousands of complaints alleging racism and scape-goating against her by three other housemates have poured into the Channel 4 studio.
What surprises me is Channel 4’s denial that overt racism has taken place. The normally oh-so-politically-correct channel don’t seem to me to have been paying much attention.
Jade Goody, who became famous due to exhibiting crass stupidity and being a blabbermouth who could always be relied on to speak before thinking (on a previous Big Brother series), argued bitterly with Shilpa last night. Jade and two other housemates (Jo, an ex-singer of a commercial pop vocal group, and Danielle, a model who was disgraced after winning a competition while dating the judge) have all made comments that seem racist to me (one of the two, being served chicken cooked by Shilpa, commented about its possible lack of cleanliness, as “you can never be sure where her hand has been”).
The three non-entities (edit: as Harry has pointed out in the comments box, it's unfair of me to call Jo a non-entity, as she was a successful pop star), who have become famous simply for being non-entities, giggle hysterically as they mimic Shilpa's Indian accent (Shilpa got back at them last night by suggesting they should take some elocution lessons. Ha!). Jade persists in addressing her as Shipla, pretending she can't pronounce such a foreign name correctly.
Shilpa is no shrinking violet and can take care of herself. Jade got mad, almost hysterical, last night when in the course of the argument Shilpa commented that Jade was famous only for being on a reality TV show. This is obviously a sore point with Jade and her foaming-at-the-mouth reaction speaks volumes about her own fragile ego. After all, what Shilpa says is only the truth. But when Shilpa left the room, Danielle clearly said, “I wish she’d f*** off home!” Later in the Diary Room, Big Brother asked her what she’d meant by that. A look of horror passed over Danielle’s face. Had she really said that? She hadn’t meant “home”, she said. But that’s exactly what she had said and meant at the time. Will she ever work in modelling again?
Now Carphone Warehhouse are threatening to withdraw their sponsorship of the programme, not wanting to be associated with the racism – understandable of course. (Edit: In fact they have now just pulled out of their sponsorship deal). It is sordid, depressing television. But television, especially reality TV, is only a mirror to reality. It shows us celebrities as they are. It may help certain companies to reconsider who they get to wear their products. It may one day cure the public of an obsession.
It might also wake all of us up. What would our egos be like if we ended up like them, so many of them famous for nothing that’s required any talent whatsoever? And yet we hear Jade boasting that she’s been named as the “25th most infinluential [meaning “influential”] person on the planet!” And then telling Shilpa to stop going around with “her head stuck up her arse.” And then telling the others that she isn't "escape-goating the Indian." The irony is sad, depressing, almost laughable.