Friday, January 19, 2007

Celebrity Big Brother

It's eviction night in the Celebrity Big Brother house, and I hope Jade Goody is thrown out.

But I'm glad the program was aired, because it shines a spotlight in particular on bullying, that not only goes on in the real world but the online world too.

The abusive rants of Jade Goody are very common in the comments sections of Tory sites like Guido's blog and Ian Dale's Diary, though I've not come across it on any Labour or Lib Dem blogs. There is clearly an abusive ranting sub-culture emerging on the right of Britain.

Jade Goody is one of Thatcher's children. Born in 1981, left school at 16 having learnt so little that she was under the impression that East Anglia was "abroad". And she typifies this cohort of people, hence her popularity among her peers.

Her rants against Shilpa Shetty are clearly motivated by jealousy and insecurity. Shilpa is everything that Jade is not - beautiful, talented, richer, more intelligent, better educated and with a stable family behind her.

It's possible that the Tory online ranting subculture is based on similar insecurities - how else to explain the intensity of the abuse directed at Labour? Some of it is surely bitterness at being on the losing side of the last three general elections and bitterness at the Labour economic record. Some of it though may be just plain crassness, learnt at home in Tory families.

I hope "Blair's children" - the ones born and raised during his administration - will be different from Thatcher's children. The regime of frequent testing in schools will at least expose lack of basic knowledge very early, which means teachers will be forced to correct it before the child leaves school, unlike in Jade Goody's day when they just pretended not to notice that a child was falling behind.

Teaching the children manners will be a more difficult. Manners are mainly learnt at home, and the government needs to press ahead with the Respect agenda and parenting classes. But we'll probably always have a rump of people who enjoy being abusive and take pride in it. Until it becomes unacceptable to abuse and rant at people, Thatcher's children and their values are with us for some time.


Jose said...

Thatcher's children? Blair's children? I am sure the real ones have gone through a perfect education.

Something the rest of the people are not fortunate enough to have.

It is rather ironic that in "this" democracy those who are our servers avail themselves of better chances than we do.

Political Umpire said...

I don't blame the government. I blame schools and parents for bad behaviour. I also blame the British public for Goody. They celebrated her ignorance and boorishness and are up in arms now just cause of a different manifestation of it. Be careful what you wish for.

Good post too, I and many others have had a rant about this subject. Think it's time we stopped giving C4 the attention!