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Well, it was snowing when I came to work this morning, but it's stopped now.

My heating was dead, but an engineer-type-person is meant to be fixing it today, so hopefully there'll be warmth by the time I get home. Otherwise I'll have to spend the evening huddled in a blanket and a duvet again...shame!

What I'm finding most interesting about the Celebrity Big Brother debacle just now is the sheer level of snobbery about the whole thing. So many people (not anyone on here, particularly, I don't think) seem to think that just because the bullying and (possible) racism is on CBB, that automatically makes it unimportant and it shouldn't be on the news or in the "proper" newspapers, because only stupid people watch Big Brother and anyone that watches it or goes on it should know what they're going to get. Because apparently that's what Big Brother's about. Which says to me that these people think racism and bullying is OK as long as it's only stupid lower-class people involved.

To be fair, most of the intelligent people I know who watch Big Brother do stay quiet about it, because this sort of snobbery has been going about for a long time and it's easier just to let people assume you don't watch it than to spend all your time defending yourself for your choice of TV programme. But I'd really like to know - what on earth is so bad about BB? Why is watching it so much stupider or lazier than watching soaps, for instance? Why do you think real people are so uninteresting? Why don't people get this amount of grief for watching Worlds Wildest Police Chases 14 or You've Been Framed or any number of other brainless TV programmes?

I watch it because I'm interested in people, and I'm interested in psychology. It started off as a psychological experiment, and while it's moved away from emphasising that in its promotions, that's still essentially what it is. I'm not only interested in the people in the house, but in people's reaction to them, and how that reaction changes over time or with certain kinds of editing. I'm also interested in the media, and the promotion and editing of the show and the sibling shows are very intriguing from that point of view.


( 21 comments — Comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 18th, 2007 03:24 pm (UTC)
I know, you're one of the people who kind of inspired me to start talking about it and not keep it as my dirty little secret :D I had never really thought about WHY I watched it either, except that I find it more entertaining than most other telly. And I see a *lot* of telly.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 18th, 2007 03:28 pm (UTC)
Heh, I never even thought to compare it to Who, partially because I think this incarnation of Who doesn't attract so much snobbery, and partly because I just tend to be snobby in reverse at people who refuse to watch genre stuff!

There were lots of people on the boards to begin with defending Jade's mum and saying anyone who objected to her rudeness and aggression and stupidity was classist, but they got shot down by crowds of people pointing out that assuming that working-class people couldn't help being ignorant and rude was something of an insult :D
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 18th, 2007 03:34 pm (UTC)
Hee, indeed. But even most of the message board nutters won't say "lower class" these days :D
Jan. 18th, 2007 03:24 pm (UTC)
My problem with BB is that the whole set-up appears to be designed to bring the worst out of the contestants, frankly. Yes, it is interesting from a psychological point of view, and yes, people do volunteer for it, partly because they get paid for it, and partly because it offers the potential opportunity to become a celebrity (I understand that one of the current Celebrity BB contestants qualifies as a celebrity only because she was in the ordinary BB!). That doesn't stop me considering it "cruel and unusual".

I am not going to knock anyone who wants to watch it, but on the other hand I would not want to watch it myself. Even without the current bullying that is going on, I'm pretty sure it would make me cringe - not because real people aren't interesting, but because I don't like watching the human equivalent of rats in mazes with little electric shocks.
Jan. 18th, 2007 03:32 pm (UTC)
I think it's moving towards being designed to bring the worst out, but it hasn't always been, and hopefully this year will turn the tide again. It used to be a lot more about working together, getting through weeks of hardship together, and forming an alliance *against* Big Brother if anything, rather than pitting in-groups against each other.

There are plenty of TV shows that make me cringe and I won't watch (anything Ricky Gervais ever did, for starters) because I hate that kind of humour, so I know where you're coming from. But when it's real people I find it slightly less cringey somehow (though there have been a few times I've had to mute the TV or turn over), and though it can be uncomfortable viewing, it's less uncomfortable for me than something like Question Time which will quickly drive me insane!
Jan. 18th, 2007 04:11 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure as I don't watch it (but have been following the 'racist' allegations with interest), but wouldn't the 'working together' element directly contradict the object of Big Brother which is where one person comes out top dog? Unlike that game on an island which had groups of people working as teams (can't remember what it's called, sorry!)
Jan. 19th, 2007 10:07 am (UTC)
Well, sort of - there are conflicting interests, which is part of what makes it interesting. In the early BBs, there would be a weekly shopping task that the contestants had to gamble a proportion of their shopping budget on, and they were long/ difficult tasks where they *had* to work together to pass.

Because they're not meant to know anything about what's going on outside and they can't discuss their nominations, the fact that there will only be one winner shouldn't really pit them against each other, because there's nothing concrete to gain from it.
Jan. 18th, 2007 04:41 pm (UTC)
I watched the early BBs, back when it was more of an experiment, but it all started to get a bit 'see how Evil BB is!', which made it less interesting (for me, ymmv etc etc).

Haven't watched any of the celeb BBs, mainly because I don't know who most of them are, or care about the ones that I do know. That and I tend not to watch much telly at all these days.

Um, does that help, or add to the discussion at all? Argh. Is it hometime yet?
Jan. 19th, 2007 10:09 am (UTC)
No, I totally agree the early ones were more interesting!

This is the first Celeb BB I've watched since, I think, the first one (or whatever one had Vanessa Feltz going mad...). I don't usually find them that interesting, but I like some of the celebs this time. I kept watching early on because Ken Russell was in, and by the time he left I'd got interested in Dirk Benedict and Jermaine Jackson, mostly.
Jan. 18th, 2007 05:49 pm (UTC)
I don't watch it because it is boring (to me, obviously). Simple as that really, and the whole idea of it, at least nowadays, annoys the hell out of me. It is trying to get people to either fight or have sex or be really miserable about everything, which just doesn't read entertainment for me I'm afraid.

Also yes, watching normal people on TV is boring, I find. It is why I've never watched soaps either, and read SF and fantasy. If I wanted to watch normal people I could look out the window, and the ones out there would be far more realistic too :p
Jan. 19th, 2007 10:10 am (UTC)
See, that's perfectly valid reasoning to me :D
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 19th, 2007 10:11 am (UTC)
Yeah, I'm a bit worried that C4 and Endemol are rubbing their hands in glee over the whole thing :S But the alternative is not to complain about the racism and bullying, so...I dunno. They have now agreed that all the profits from tonight's vote will go to charity, which I'm glad about.
Jan. 18th, 2007 10:03 pm (UTC)
BB started as a parody of a psychology experiment - somewhere between the prisoner experiment and a gameshow.

Further if its an experiment in any ology the ology your looking for is probably sociology.
Jan. 19th, 2007 10:12 am (UTC)
Hmmm, yes, there is sociology involved, but there's psychology too :) Lots of stuff I studied in my degree is played out on there.
Jan. 19th, 2007 12:43 pm (UTC)
Ditto. However lots of stuff we studied in our degree is played out in front of our very eyes everyday. BB is still a parody of a psychology experiment - although after some digging I have decided its not Zimbardo's classis work its parodying but in fact the Roberts Cave experiment. But parodying it still is.
Jan. 19th, 2007 01:40 am (UTC)
I can't stand this snobbery of looking down on people for liking BB. I was the world's biggest BB fan until I found out some unpleasant truths about it in the wake of BB7; but that's C4's and Endemol's fault, not the viewers'. I'm an avid people watcher myself - I still love I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here - and would still be a BB enthusiast now if only the show were fairly run.

Because of my disillusioned romanticism, I've not watched any of Celeb BB5, but I can't say I'm sorry to be missing it. That three people have walked doesn't sound like a recommendation; I'm totally against Jade and family being on there (you shouldn't qualify for Celeb BB if you owe your fame to BB, and how are her family celebs at all?); and it sounds pretty clear to me that there's some pretty nasty bullying going on (just as there was in Celeb BB4 towards Jodie - what a shame that got dismissed just because the public perception of her is not generally favourable).

But there is absolutely nothing wrong with following BB for the reasons you cite. That you take an interest in the editing (are you on the lookout for possible manipulation by the makers?) is very interesting, and the only real way to follow the show.
Jan. 19th, 2007 10:16 am (UTC)
Oh, C4 and Endemol are a nightmare, and I do frequently consider boycotting BB as a protest. The editing and "storylining" is awful and dishonest, and the stuff with Nikki last year was a disgrace. And the current minor controversy, vaguely connected to the major one, is that Davina, Dermot and Russell share an agent with Jade, Chantelle, Pete, Nikki, Cleo...and Matthew Wright, who was defending Jade on his programme this morning.

Yeah, I tend to watch the show but also read the forums, because then you find out about what happened on the live feed, and you can see fairly easily who's being edited favourably. It's been really interesting this last week - it's gone from Jade getting great edits (all the dodgy stuff she was saying being completely cut out) to her basically being thrown to the wolves.
Jan. 19th, 2007 10:16 am (UTC)
Big Brother
Not snobbery to not watch BB - and soaps are utter sh!te! I've tried watching BB loads of times, but the people they get in are despicable. Jade? Fat moron. Nicki? Please, the girl needed to be taken outside and shot. I think the only intelligent person ever to have been in the house (apart from Germaine Greer) was Jon Tickle! How many times can you watch people argue over the shopping / "fall in love with their soul mate" / strip down to their underwear? I don't watch it because every time I try to I turn on the TV and am faced with an imbecile, whose views aren't worth airing nationally, making some sort of petty complaint whilst living in a luxury world. Now there's racial bullying cos a bunch of thick, lower order chicks don't like a pampered, spoilt princess. When Sam was completely isolated in an earlier BB cos no-one liked her, it wasn't racism, it was girls being girls - now there is an Asian who isn't liked so it must be racism... As if British society hadn't been dumbed down enough, we get show after show of BB proving although we are dumb, we aren't quite dumb enough to get on TV yet!
Jan. 19th, 2007 10:40 am (UTC)
Re: Big Brother
I didn't say it was snobbery not to watch BB - I said it was snobbery to assume everyone who does is a moron.

You know an awful lot about it for someone who doesn't watch it, I must say :) I'll assume you haven't watched this series, because I think there's fairly obvious racism, now.
Jan. 19th, 2007 03:41 pm (UTC)
Not sure there have been any truly racist comments. The most obvious I heard was that she had been called "a Paki ----" but I later saw this allegation withdrawn (ie the person supposedly saying it turned out not to have said it). I don't think the rest of the comments have been that I have read and I certainly don't think our gvt or the Indian gvt should be gettign involved in a sh!tty little TV problem. If India want to do something constructive they can stop building nuclear weapons and discriminating against untouchables and if Labour want to do something constructive - well, there's the Health Service, Education, and yes, immigration too!
Jan. 19th, 2007 04:04 pm (UTC)
And our government could be doing something about the homeless underclass and not renewing *our* nuclear weapons.
( 21 comments — Comment )


bad wolf
Notes from extinction

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