I should be asleep. I woke up too early this morning and have been trying to doze off for at least some minutes. Alas my brain can't stop ticking over from one thought process to another and I feel obliged to let off some mental steam the only way I know how.
It starts like this.
It's kinda bizarre, when you think about it, how we as a society don't care all that much about what's real and what isn't. The West is so full of us undeserving, lazy, bored people, each with more wealth than Somalia that it's also full of persons who get more passionate about fictional escapades (like World of Warcraft) than real life happenings. Find the right topic; from the characters in Jane Eyre to the best way to beat Bowser; and you can keep just about anyone interested in something which ultimately makes no difference to our lives other than occupying a few more pointless minutes between cradle and grave.
It's a good thing too- because those folks carrying two X chromosomes seem to subsist largely on the puerile garbage shat out by pink-top magazine's like 'Hello'. The thing is, far from suggesting the readership of such publications are all vapid, shallow sacks of organs, I sort of understand that the point isn't to read about vital world affairs; it's to kill time and be mildly entertained. Nobody really gives a crap whether Sandy (24) from Brighton really gets off watching Oprah; chances are she's just a face they found whom they decided to staple a fictitious story to, and plaster with equally spurious labels about how true the whole thing is. What does wind me up is when this exercise in mislabelling fiction spills into other areas and ruins them in a tide of bullshit-stained print and journalistic bile.
A lot of this animosity stems from reading the (somewhat worrying) stories in Private Eye about how The Sun or OK! magazine have been forced to retract some story where they may have accidentally suggested that a much-loved CBeebies presenter occasionally shoots up on heroin or has visits from Filipino boys. Inevitably this apology gets less column inches than a piece on Posh's new knickers: and there's probably not a power on Earth that can stop them doing this again and again, until they impose the death penalty for libel (and even then, there's always the interns to take the flack). I'm convinced though, that some media can be saved from the sanity destroying overlap with this sort of publishing.
Take the X-Factor. Those among you who read the Mail probably already regard this show and its followers with the sort of disdain usually reserved for terrorists and John Prescott; and I wouldn't wholly blame you. Viewed from a 'neutral' ish standpoint the show in of itself isn't necessarily a bad idea if you can get over Louis Walsh being as attractive and likeable as a scrotum and Simon Cowell being more smug than a paedophile in a tent full of Boy Scouts. The concept isn't the let down: it's the overblown and vindictive assaults and tirades gleefully embarked on by the gossip magazines and the tabloid press. Suddenly a show about singing has gone all Jeremy Kyle: with contestants allegedly making racist or hate-fuelled comments about each other, the judges, the Queen, their hair, the Queen's hair etc etc. And so in a flurry of half-truths and headlines, the more opinionated audience is lost, and those who might enjoy the fascinating insight into public psychology offered by rich-kid Cowell instead join the ranks of sneering, jeering over-important media snobs in a campaign of hatred and derision (ironically).
So I have a suggestion. I think they should make 'reality' TV shows so utterly insanely interesting, different, unique and surreal that no tabloid or women's mag in the world could possibly benefit from reporting anything other than the truth. Why not kick I'm a Celebrity up a few notches? Let's have a show where the talentless excretion that is Piers Morgan gets put in a bear cage adjacent to Robbie Williams. Each cage has a very angry 1000lb grizzly and a karaoke machine set up to play 'Moonlight Shadow'; and each contestant must attempt to placate their angered ursine cagemates through song before they become too badly dismembered. The catch would be that the speakers would be swapped over- so Williams' adequate vocal work would be piped into Morgan's cage, and vice-versa. Here you'd win two fold from watching Morgan literally soil himself live on television, and seeing Robbie have his face mauled off.
Or resurrect Big Brother. Stuff six politicians in a house together and dose them up with an amount of LSD proportional to their spending claims over the past year. Then hurl in a few cleavers, a chainsaw, and maybe some angry hyenas for good measure. Last one surviving wins a job at Waitrose cleaning floors.
You could have a show about eating. People love food shows. Take a handful of highly annoying supermodels and force feed them each their own bodyweight in lard every two days. The aim would be to see how much weight they could put on in a month, before suffering heart failure. As a bonus, and to involve the public, there could be a phone-in vote to nominate one model every week who has to try and beat Kate Humble at being the fastest to totally devour a badger.
I think these could really pull in the ratings. Best of all, the papers will have no choice but to report on the truth. Who gives a shit if Anne Widdecombe and Gordon Brown exchanged some harsh words?? He just had his leg eaten by a hyena, she had her arms carved off, and both of them think the other is Jesus because they've had their eyeballs pumped full of acid.