Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Big Brother blues

It was not a surprise but it was deeply depressing to hear that the Logan twins had won Big Brother 2005. I felt as if it was a set-up because there was never, to my mind, a hope that the intelligent and sensitive young journalist, Tim, would be permitted to win. That would mean that Australians did not support the lowest common denominator syndrome - the demographic of youth and ignorance to which the program panders. An educated and articulate person, a person with negotiating skills, with ideas and broad interests, with good manners and a sense of consideration for others is a fly in the ointment of crassness which lubricates the ratings. Excellence has never been a winner in Australia. The country celebrates its fools and bullies, it champions its beer culture and earthy, macho values. The Logan twins were all of this - two course young males with an extraordinary ability to pick their noses. No, they did not just pick their noses, they scraped and plunged and routed their noses, flicking their findings around their environment with casual satisfaction. And we watched on television, our stomachs churning. These were the Ocker lads who were rough and ready, who knew about working weights but little else. I got the feeling, as the show evolved, that they were planted for the win and that, no matter what the profit lines of the voting calls may be, they would come out on top. And they did. I am not aware that Channel 10 has ever made public the figures involved in its phone-voting profit line - but one suspected, as they urged the viewers to keep ringing to the last neck-breaker moment, that it was only about dollars, not winners. Well, of course it was. The figures are audited, I believe. I'd love to see them. I'd love a real expose of the way in which the show manipulates the images of its housemates to rev up and control the voting.
And I'd love, for once, to see an intelligent person come out on top. But neither, I suspect, will be wishes realised.
I have to come to terms with the fact that my country, more and more, is a land of seriously dumbed down people.
The prognosis, therefore, is not good.

1 comment:

zzymurgy said...

I agree wholeheartedly.

I also supported Tim, but there was no way I would send my money into the black hole of arbitrary evictions.

Supporters of unions and lefty organisations were repeatedly hit with "vote Vesna out" and "vote Greg out" e-mails, prompting a friend of mine to note that the intelligent, sophisticated left-winger is now yet another socioeconomic group hooked on, and spending their money on, Big Bother. Very clever marketing and, if the arbitrary eviction theory is true, cleverly executed as well.

I am annoyed about this whole fad of instant celebrities. I understand and appreciate that popular names like Tim Brunero and Merlin Luck are important to the promotion and survival of grassroots political movements. (Merlin was in Adelaide last weekend for Amnesty, with great success.) But what about the hundreds of people who have been tirelessly and thanklessly working in that movement for years? Is Big Brother the new way of getting a political message to Australia's youth? Should all community campaigners apply for Big Brother next year, just to get their message out?

If so, how sad. To think once we had a free press that served this need.