Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/497/2680

From The Socialist newspaper, 26 July 2007

Why do we watch Big Brother?

ANOTHER SUMMER, another eleven weeks of temper tantrums, arguments and intrigues in the Big Brother (BB) house. But this year the series began with a public apology for the way the show handled racist incidents in Celebrity Big Brother (CBB) earlier this year.

Greg Maughan

That apology was gross hypocrisy - argument and controversy are the show's lifeblood. In every series its producers deliberately select housemates who will clash with each other, such as selecting openly gay housemates and putting them alongside others with homophobic views.

The sort of people who desire fame and attention so badly that they subject themselves to the indignity of the show are often insecure and in many cases emotionally unbalanced.

But to turn a profit, TV executives exploit this, in the same way that circus owners would exploit physical deformities in 19th century so-called 'freak' shows.

And, tragically, that's all the programme is; a 'freak' show. BB producers aren't interested in being anything more, least of all a platform for political debate, as George Galloway discovered when he entered the CBB house.

Producers only select the most embarrassing or ridiculous moments to screen; for instance his leotard-clad robot dance, which did little to further the anti-war movement's cause.

Millionaire TV executives have no interest in anything other than profit and will happily take advantage of extremely vulnerable or deluded people to achieve this.

Shows such as Big Brother, it has been argued, democratise entertainment as viewers vote on evictions, winners and losers.

But these increasingly cruel shows are controlled by rich corporations and big business sponsors. So why are viewers happy to except and enjoy this cruelty?

Working people in Britain face increasingly long hours and insecure conditions. Long hours and low pay mean very little time outside of work and limited resources to do anything with that time.

Cutbacks and price increases in public sports facilities and leisure services mean that even if you've the energy to do something after work there is very little that's affordable or even there. An increase in passive media consumption, therefore, is understandable.

The fighting and bullying on show in these programmes reflect the 'dog eat dog' mentality that the capitalist system attempts to instil us with.

This is more explicitly the case on shows such as The Apprentice (criticised by commentators in the Financial Times for giving bosses a bad name!) but is true in all reality TV shows where contestants are pitted against each other, encouraging greed, ego and ruthless competition.

I am not an opponent of popular culture. Mainstream television programmes such as Coronation Street and Doctor Who have carried touching, well-written and intelligent plotlines recently.

But reality television represents a dumbing down of entertainment; TV on the cheap.

Multimillionaire TV executives should not think workers are idiots - we deserve better than reality television, the 'reality' of which seems to be the worst of human attributes under capitalism, magnified.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 26 July 2007:

New Labour ignored flood warnings

Government cuts add to flooding crisis

Floods - who pays the bill?


Postal workers' strike

Postal workers: Their fight is our fight

Critical dispute for postal workers


Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS: no more cuts, no more privatisation


Socialist Party news and analysis

Support Glasgow's social work strikers

Metronet walks away from trouble...

Airports industry expansion plans fail to take off

Brown's 'affordable housing' plan - all smoke and mirrors?


Tales from the council chambers

Tories save New Labour skins

If this is New Labour democracy...


Socialist Party Marxist analysis

The China Effect


Socialist Party reviews

Vicious bile and grovelling sweet talk

Why do we watch Big Brother?


Workplace news and analysis

Visteon workers continue fight for jobs

National Shop Stewards' Network hits the ground running

Another missed opportunity on teachers' pay


International socialist news and analysis

Erdogan's election victory reveals Turkey's faultlines

Mass protests planned at the APEC summit


Socialism 2007

Socialism 2007

Rally for Socialism

Socialist Party summer camp


 

Home   |   The Socialist 26 July 2007   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Big Brother:

triangleTommy Sheridan in Celebrity Big Brother

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

16/12/17

Haringey

Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

16/12/17

North West

Arriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

14/12/17

Waltham Forest

Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

13/12/17

London

Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

13/12/17

Fracking

Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

13/12/17

Devon

Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

13/12/17

Miners

Tory plan to hold dinner at coal mining museum defeated

13/12/17

Bradford

Bradford campaign to save children's services launched

13/12/17

South London

South London health bosses' cover-up

13/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite day of action against blacklisting

13/12/17

Brighton

Brighton victory

13/12/17

Newham

Newham anti-academies strikes

13/12/17

Tamil Solidarity

Tamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting

12/12/17

Woolwich

Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

7/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite protest against blacklisting

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle16 Dec Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

triangle16 Dec Arriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2