Thursday, January 18, 2007
The Big Brother Racism story reveals another terrible truth about our world - it can no longer be satirised. The simple facts of the case are so wildly implausible, so deliriously stupid, that satirists can only stand back in awe and admiration. Some very coarse individuals on a TV game show that involves being imprisoned inside a house express, in terms of laughable ignorance, a degree of racial prejudice against another inmate. Professionally outraged people become professional outraged and Gordon Brown's visit to India is turned into a ludicrous pantomime in which people burn effigies of somebody or other connected with Big Brother, newspaper headlines crow about the racism of the British and Brown himself has to keep grinding out the platitudes about what a terrible thing racism is - yadda-yadda-yadda. Meanwhile, back in the house, the contestants don't know any of this has happened. Not, it has to be said, that they would understand if they were told. This Jade Goody character in particular seems desperately thick. Anyway, here is some, if not satire, then biting comment. The Doomsday Clock kept by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has been moved two minutes closer to midnight. It is now five minutes to midnight - the end of the world. The move is a result of including climate change in the calculations. This has brought us as close to doomsday as we were in the bleakest days of the Cold War. The peaks were at two minutes in 1953 and three minutes in 1984. Still, I am sure it is very important that we take the anger of the Indians and the complaints of Shilpa's mother very seriously indeed. I mean - who knows? - the incident might result in her winning the show. That would be very exciting.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:04 am