Sunday, January 21, 2007

Game Show God

Big Brother's racism row has been a big story this week. Heard an extract from a Jade Goody interview on the radio news this morning - the difficulty is that now every 'celebrity' (?) has a publicist, it's hard to know what is geniune contrition (it sounded genuine), and what is a line that people have been told to say. It would be great if we were seeing a geniune act of repentance, and I hope so, though it would be even more significant if we saw an act of repentance from Channel 4.

Got me thinking about the deities represented by different TV shows.
Big Brother: God the sadist: a God who knows your every word, watches your every move, and puts us in a lab experiment with the rest of the human race to watch us squirm. Not a nice guy.

Weakest Link: God the judge - answer the questions wrong, and you are thrown into outer darkness. Except that this judge hasn't the confidence to pass final sentence herself, and leaves it to the contestants. Isn't this modern morality in a nutshell? Aside from racism and child abuse, we determine right and wrong by opinion polls, not by conviction and clear morality.

Deal or No Deal: Fate - if you get lucky, great, if you don't, you don't. Noel Edmonds as a puny deity (frightening thought!) benign, powerless, with warm words at your elbow but in the end your destiny is in your own hands.

Ali G/Borat: God the fool. Sacha Baron Cohen takes on a number of alter egos to satirise social values, and by playing the fool in front of others gets them to expose their own prejudices and foolishness. The weakness of the stranger somehow has power to expose people's deep secrets and sins. At least, when the show is at its best that's what happens.

This feels like an incomplete list. Time to watch more telly...

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