Not that the TV Licensing
people believe me, but I still haven’t got round to purchasing a television for my new flat. Thus I have only seen a few Internet clips of this year’s Celebrity
(sic) Big Brother
, plus a few items about it on the news whilst pounding the treadmill at the gym. I think, however, that I have seen enough to enable me to form some views on what has gone on this season
Channel Four would love to think (or at least persuade us to think) that this is great television, and has opened up an important debate. I think it has done to an extent, and I’m also willing to accept that the broadcaster is not motivated SOLELY by a desire to maximise viewing figures by showing the most prurient drivel they can produce.
I think in these circumstances it’s useful to assess one’s own prejudices. I know I’m not a racist – I completely reject the notion that a person’s race dictates their character or level of intelligence. But boy am I prejudiced in other ways. What the Jade Goody – Shilpa Shetty row has revealed to me in stark terms is that I am a FEROCIOUS snob.
It’s true, unequivocally and undeniably so. I hold not only Jade Goody and her co-conspirators in contempt, but everybody like them. Their fantastic stupidity, their vulgarity, their hilariously misplaced self confidence, their strident and grotesquely ill-informed opinions, their moon-faced visages and cow-like buttocks, their inarticulate braying on public transport – I deride it all.
And this is a prejudice, because I can’t honestly claim that it’s only the unkind ones that I mentally mock. Certainly I think people who are wilfully ignorant and unpleasant, like Jade Goody, deserve our opprobrium. But to be honest, I find anyone who even looks and sounds like them deeply unattractive.
Of course I accept that it’s only kindness that really matters. Yet only in the most fundamental way do I accede to that proposition. I don't enjoy the company of people who don’t read and whose idea of a day well spent is to swill beer and smoke cigarettes and babble inconsequentially about the Lottery. And no WAY do I want my children to be educated in schools in which the offspring of these pig people are present. Part of me wishes that they weren’t allowed to vote.
Arguably, this prejudice is every bit as indefensible as racism. Arguably it actually IS, effectively, racism. But I’ve never suffered from middle class guilt, and I think you deserve my posts to be honest.
That said, I’ve made a point of not calling these ghastly people ‘working class’. Good manners are sometimes more obvious among that group (insofar as it exists) than in any other. And indeed many of the pig people don’t work.
But this is a prejudice nonetheless, one that is far from being easily excused. The fact remains, however, that it rarely causes me a moment’s guilt.
I could get all overwrought and bothered about feeling this way. But I won't. The modern fashion for thinking that prejudice is invariably appalling or completely avoidable is a stupid one.Footnote
: I wonder if any comic commentator (other than me) will say: ‘A frightful woman with dreadful views has dominated the news this week. Hillary Clinton is running for President’
: A useful reminder
from Richard that Big Brother betrays the failings of British education policy.
Personally I blame all governments since the Labour one that introduced comprehensives. But mostly I blame that government. Are you listening, Shirley Williams? Screw you, Tony Crosland.