Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Time to grow up?

Jonathan Ross. Yes, heard of him. He's the guy whose Friday night programme tends to mark the moment when I go off to surf, to post to my blog, to visit Second Life. Not because I find him offensive, as a rule, but because unless he has a luminously interesting guest on his show I find him utterly boring. Not funny, not illuminating, not shocking. Dull. Pointless. Not worth the effort of keeping my eyes open. Not worth - oh, certainly not worth - the silly money he seems to be paid.

And that's the point, surely, behind his suspension over the Andrew Sachs phonecall
What problem, are you asking? Well apparently - according to Vicky Allan in the Sunday Herald - the furore (didn't know there was a furore, but there you are) over his suspension and the damning of Russell Brand shows up a deep divide in British society, between those who think comedy has to be edgy and those who think it has to observe boundaries. Or, as Allan puts it, the Youtube Generation and Daily Mail Morality. What's new? Look at it from a slightly different angle and you see a divide between those who think you can be as rude and insensitive as you like and those who realise that you have to take other people's feelings into account. Or maybe a divide between children and grown-ups?

For most of us who pay licence-fees have grown out of finding humour in the public humiliation of others. Most of us have learned where the boundaries lie and don't find amusement in crossing them. Russell Brand may be young - can't really tell with all that hair, but he seems to have a pretty face - but Ross is surely of an age when he ought to be a grown-up. And me? I'm old enough to be Victoria Meldrew. 


  1. Anonymous5:32 PM

    Dear Mrs B

    Please, please do not give currency to that alternative-to-truth word "edgy".

    During the recent (and fast-receding) brouhaha, the locution was on the lips of every rent-a-quote commentator, and of those who should have known better. It is a "nice" word - devoid of all meaning and applied when accuracy would be better.

    The "humour" of Brand and Ross was not "edgy": it was foul, cruel, abusive, vicious and filthy. Any of those adjectives could have been used; but some people prefer to use euphemism to cover their own reluctance to make judgements. Such practices should be firmly crushed.

    As for the divide between older and younger, all it shows is that many in this current younger generation are as devoid of empathy as Brand and Ross: they laugh at the victim because they are incapable, yet, of feeling the hurt. Maybe they will grow out of this; but they won't, if they are not presented with the alternative. Solipsism is not a pretty thing.

  2. Anonymous1:28 AM


    I personally think that this whole Brand/Ross/Sachs fiasco has been blown wildly out of proportion. Yes, they made a huge misjudgment in thinking that their actions were appealing, humerous and acceptable, but do you not think that it was meant as a bit of harmless fun?

    Do not think for a minute that I agree with what they did, nor did I find the broadcast funny. However, I do feel rather sorry for them because I do not believe that they intentionally 'attacked' Mr. Sachs and I do not think that there was any maliciousness intended. As you mention, I think they were trying to bring the 'shock factor' to their show. And look... it worked!

    I personally like both of them and quite enjoy JR's show on a Friday night - he's the new 'Parky', afterall, and I have to admit that I missed his show on Friday night. He is the only chat-show host that actually 'digs the dirt' these days and maybe that's why us 'youngins' are all for him.

    The fact is that this stramash should NEVER have been broadcasted, so I blame the BBC themselves for allowing this to happen. Brand and Ross did what they did and yes, it was wrong, but I am not sure that all this media attention is entirely necessary.

    And I agree... maybe it is time people did a bit of growing up and some salaries were cut. We are in financial crisis, afterall.

    (Note: Not defending - just giving a youngin's view)

  3. abf - Note that the word in question was used in the context of reporting the remarks of Vicky Allan, who herself used it. I don't know that it was in my vocabulary in that sense - I think I'd only ever use "edgy" to describe someone who was nervous, twitchy, apprehensive...

    duffy - young children think it's appealing fun to take all the CDs out of a carefully categorised set of shelves and strew them over the floor (trust me: I know this) but I would not be amused if you were to do the same the next time you come to call. 'Nuff said.