Big Brother
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Author:  des2 [ Sat May 19, 2007 10:07 am ]
Post subject:  Big Brother

Who's looking forward to 'Big Brother' this summer?

Here are exceprts from the old-style TTA threads that have vanished on this subject: ... hijack.mws

I'm afraid they are only a selected record of my own posts, because it did not seem right to publish other people's posts at the time. Now it's too late.

EDIT ( 4 Nov 08 ) - to change links which lead to record of all my comments over the years.

EDIT (16 Sep 11) - to add an alternative link above

EDIT (7 June 14) - to delete a corrupted link

Author:  des2 [ Sat May 19, 2007 10:22 am ]
Post subject: 

Andy has offered me the chance to trawl through the old threads. Thanks, Andy. I may well do that once I've got 'Zencore' published.

Author:  Foxie [ Sat May 19, 2007 2:05 pm ]
Post subject: 

I saw the first British BB back in summer 2000, and thoroughly enjoyed watching it. The little intricacies, character interaction and spectacle of it was very enjoyable.

After that, it didn't seem so much to go down hill as . . . fall off a cliff. The intelligent and rounded individuals in the house were replaced by emotionally retarded, attention-seeking idiots and the house itself was handed over to someone who thinks a leader board is a good way to build team work and morale. In every subsequent show, the little I learn and see of the contestants drives me to the utter pits of despair.

And then I had a read though those posts of yours.

I'm thinking that, as I live in Wales, maybe we're being shown a different show to the one on C4. I'd hesitate to describe the contestants I've seen with any words they can't even spell - with a dictionary - let alone know the meaning of. Can people so utterly devoid of anything other than the very basic intellectual and emotional development needed to survive create the masterpiece of post-post-modern theatre you've been watching all this time?

I think you scare me, des. I'm not sure if it's because your own intellectual and emotional development is so vast it makes me feel very, very small; I'm not sure if it's because you have far too much time on your hands and space in your head for these contemplations; I'm not sure if it's because you're seriously mentally unstable and are actually hallucinating a different show to the rest of us; I'm not sure if it's because you're the only sane one here and I've been hallucinating my whole life. The one thing I'm sure of, des, is that you scare me.

Do you feel that the future of entertainment is gathering together a carefully selected group of individuals, putting them in a closed environment and prodding them with carefully controlled stimuli? Kind of like The Trueman Show, I suppose.

Author:  des2 [ Sat May 19, 2007 5:24 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thanks, Foxie!

I don't think people who've met me (not least my wife and children) think I'm scary.


Author:  Marion Arnott [ Sat May 19, 2007 5:26 pm ]
Post subject: 

Foxie wrote:
The one thing I'm sure of, des, is that you scare me.

:lol: Des is all right really, Foxy! Just keep a chair and whip to hand... :lol:
I also think BB is a masterpiece in its own way. Watch what the characters do to win popularity - see how they assume the latest fashionable no-nos to triumph over one another (animal skins, racism, snobbery etc etc) and consider what they reflect in our society - be touched by efforts which don't quite come off (I got the lump in the throat over a pair of cheap earrings one year) - laugh your head off at them sometimes - remember that they are human and for many this is the only chance they will ever have to rise above the crowd - treasure the moments of searing honesty (and they do occur) - enjoy the waiting for Godot moments- this is the theatre of the absurd...I could go on.
You'll have guessed I'm looking forward to this year's show...bring it on...

Author:  des2 [ Sun May 20, 2007 10:24 am ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Marion (even though you've not met me). :-)

Seriously, I am imposing a meaning on the antics within the BB frame:a meaning that, as well as giving meaning to the ludicrous behaviour of humanity, also gives meaning to an 'Art' perspective of this phenomenon. We can never tell; the filters are too complex. The thing, at its root, may be utter rubbish: a false mirror. Even so, that 'worry' is interesting in itself, as one explores one's own disintentioned self towards the inferred presence of many 'Proustian' selves that lurk within. At heart, I am simple-minded. Just trying to complexify things, not crucify them. A bit like reading an Elizabeth Bowen novel. Just a hobby.

Author:  Foxie [ Sun May 20, 2007 11:38 am ]
Post subject: 

The reason that I don't like Big Brother – the reason that it upsets me – isn't just the excruciating boredom or hammed up ignorance of the contestants (I can't ignore the feeling that there is something deeply, fundamentally wrong with sitting and watching someone else make a cup of tea . . . it's the same reason why I hate the Sims games).

The way I see things, the various aspects of humanity fall into two categories: those we should encourage and nurture; and those we should seek to over come. Society as a whole seems bent on encouraging those we should be working to over come right now. I mean, when a bad thing happens to someone, they get angry and look for someone to blame. Someone else to blame. They sue, they demand 'justice', they want money. And society as a whole enables them to do it. It encourages them. How many press conferences have we had where 'grieving' parents have spat bile at the police or highly educated and experienced doctors? If a person sits down and thinks about why something happened, what they could have done to stop it, what they can learn, and finds forgiveness, then they're mocked. I mean, one of the biggest jokes these days is Ned Flanders, the man who could find forgiveness and compassion for anyone.

People don't think enough and aren't willing to take personal responsibility for anything that happens in their lives. They aren't willing to look at themselves and consider that what needs to change is themselves, not the rest of the world.

Big Brother, from what I've seen in recent years, is a distilled crucible of all those things. The blind egotism that is the greatest curse of our age magnified, and broadcast across the whole nation. Glorified. It's not just the round-up shows any more – there's live coverage, analysis, interactive . . . you can't turn on S4C without seeing BB during the season. You can't glance the newspaper headlines without reading about it. The very behavior we should be encouraging people to work to over come is being fed to them. The whole nation is being encouraged to indulge in a vice which is destroying our society and our world. They're being told that it's not a vice, but a virtue. They're being told that they have a right to expect it.

No matter what angle I view BB from, I can't help but think that it's a joke and I'm the butt of it. If I enjoy it, I'm being laughed at for being a simpleton. If I detest it, then I'm being laughed at for being an over-intellectual snob who doesn't know what fun is. If I ignore it, then I'm being laughed at for not recognising the social importance is has and refusing to learn the lessons it has to teach us.

Mind you, no matter what angle I look at it at, it clearly has a value. I haven't waxed so pretentious in a long time, nor had to put my thoughts into a tangible form. Debate is never a bad thing.

Author:  des2 [ Sun May 20, 2007 3:37 pm ]
Post subject: 

It's the old question about art and entertainment: is it a mirror or is it the cause of what appears in the mirror.

I have great sympathy for some of the things you say, Foxie. I don't think you are an exception, Foxie. Most people on these threads - when they have commented on BB at all - have been rather derogatory and you have articulated their views brilliantly.

A schoolteacher whom I know very well tells me BB is a bad influence on the children she teaches. They copy its behaviour, I'm told.

I am more of the exception by being interested in it as a phenomenon and intellectualising it. A lot of entertainment and art is not nececssarily good for society in a measurable way, and many people claim much entertainlment (TV, Computer etc) is bad for society.

As well as the 'intellectual', Tennessee-Williams-type-theatrical, Warholesque way of looking at BB, I am also interested in the people as people, and their motives, and secret signs of behaviour that give them away (much as Marion describes above).

I was brought up in a very working-class / soap opera environment in the fifties and sixties. I'm not sure that's relevant. But I am brainstorming a bit in answer to your post, Foxie.

I enjoy reading and writing Horror fiction, as well as literary and SF literature. Is Horror art good for society and for the demeanour of humanity? It would be a long debate of brainstorming to make a case for Horror art. But people do.

Again, Foxie, I'm sure most people on these Boards would say they agree more with you, than with me, about BB.

But, unlike many who watch it and who do not admit to watching it, I do watch it and admit it, too!

Author:  Foxie [ Tue May 22, 2007 8:29 am ]
Post subject: 

I can’t climb too high on my ‘anti-reality T.V.’ horse, much as I’d like to. I’ve enjoyed all three series of The Apprentice, and have even been known to watch an episode of Castaway over dinner. I’m not proud of it, not by any means. I feel exploited by it, to be honest. The values of The Apprentice are so far from mine it’d be hard to see them on a clear day with a telescope. I find the character interaction in the show, though, fascinating. Seeing Sir Alan on Jonathan Ross the other night, he made a very good point: these are very competent, very successful people but they’re being taken out of their comfort zone, and in struggling to cope they’re exposing their flaws. I find it interesting that it always seems to be the quiet ones who get their heads down and get the work done that win, not the ones who step up to the mark and fight their corner with tooth and claw. My partner and I sit down and discuss the social dynamics, character development and coping strategies during and after each episode. It’s an interesting, bite-sized nibblet of social studies. It sounds like I enjoy it the same way you enjoy BB.

The reason, I think, that I can’t enjoy BB is that, unlike The Apprentice, the people in BB are just mediocre, at best. Where as the contestants under Sir Alan are intelligent, resourceful people working towards clearly defined goals (set and judged by Sir Alan), those in BB are emotionally maladjusted attention seekers bouncing around and performing to the News of the World reading public. And, as I said before, our society is glorifying that sort of behaviour.

Personally, I’m waiting for ‘Poet Idol’. The title is kind of self-explanatory, really. Get a group of intelligent, articulate, skilled artist-philosophers, and pit them against each other in a battle to articulate the human condition, the inhuman condition and the expanse of the cosmos. Now, that’s entertainment!

Author:  David Barnett [ Tue May 22, 2007 12:45 pm ]
Post subject: 

Only if they have a shag as well.

Author:  Foxie [ Tue May 22, 2007 12:58 pm ]
Post subject: 

Well, naturally, but only if they do it in an artistic, pre-Raphaelite kind of way.

Author:  NeilW [ Tue May 22, 2007 3:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Scary

Des: At heart, I am simple-minded

I was going to say, Des, I do find you a wee bit scary. But no-one who mixes his metaphors so exquisitely can be all bad, can he?



Author:  Marion Arnott [ Tue May 22, 2007 5:56 pm ]
Post subject: 

David Barnett wrote:
Only if they have a shag as well.

:D :shock: :D

Author:  GaryC [ Wed May 23, 2007 6:15 am ]
Post subject: 

Once again, cormorants are discriminated against.

Yours sincerely,
The Seabird Equality Front

Author:  des2 [ Thu May 24, 2007 1:33 pm ]
Post subject: 

I enjoy 'The Apprentce', too, Foxie.
But it seems more civilised in a too smooth-edged, staged sort of way.

Neil, people who 'brainstorm' a lot in discussions can have the actual brainstorming rub off on him or her! But I reckon all of us who bounce things around on the internet like this (with smileys etc. etc) would seem a 'wee bit scary' to our earlier selves! :-)

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