Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ross and Brand: press reaction

The whole world's talking about those funny, bohemian 'alpha males'. In the words of Terence Blacker, "that is how it goes in the jungle. The young and strong urinate on those who refuse to play the game their way".

Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross' prank phone calls have snatched all front pages from Gordon Brown and the US elections. And rightly so. The scandal surrounding the hoax to Andrew Sachs made the public finally aware of how much those two idiots are being paid. This may also mean the death knell for the BBC as we know it. When a bloke's paid £18m to repeatedly shout over the radio that "he fucked your grandaughter" during a prank call to a 78-year-old man, it's no surprise that Ofcom may have decided to launch an investigation and that both the Prime Minister and David Cameron have condemned the presenters' actions as "offensive and unacceptable".

More interesting though is a quick analysis of how neurotic, as always, the British press is. The coverage of the aftermath of the Brand and Ross saga is telling. Enter the Daily Mail, of course, on one hand thundering against the alleged 'comedians' ("An apology from the BBC for those two isn't enough") while, on the other, showing some morbid fascination with Andrew Sachs' grandaughter. Just look at this headline: "Voluptua, the Satanic slut at centre of BBC scandal". They've obviously done their homework, got info on Georgina, and decided to publish a set of sleazy photos. That, of course, in the name of the Great British Empire and its moral values, what else.

You can trust the Sun to squeeze a reference to "the Muslims" even when we're talking about Russell Brand's prank. They would evn if they were talking about raspberry jam. They can't help it. Like an old nan who can't help but stick war references into whatever conversation. In her column, Anila Baig decrees that "Muslims are mocked for having a sense of humour bypass but maybe the truth is we know that not everything is a laughing matter". Enriching, isn't it?

The Telegraph is more factual and it appears the only one to highlight that Russell Brand's supposed apology to Sachs turned out to be, possibly, more offensive than the original prank. "Brand's bizarre apology" is their headline, adding that the former MTV presenter "was grinning at reporters and chanting Hare Krishna". That's only the beginning of what too much money and fame can do to you. In their editorial, the Telegraph also calls for the duo to be sacked by the BBC under no uncertain terms, "the corporation has a choice", they write. "It can treat licence fee-payers with contempt by kicking this issue into the bureaucratic long grass - or it can demonstrate a sense of decency and leadership, and sack these juvenile delinquents forthwith".

Patrick Foster in the Times insists on the financial aspect of the affair: "Jonathan Ross: £18m man likely to suffer a massive pay cut", he writes, adding that, seeing what happened to Carol Vorderman and the current ITV crisis, Jonathan Ross is unlikely to land another overinflated contract like the one he secured in 2006. Meanwhile, Adam Sherwin remarks that "Even a few years ago such a scandal involving Radio 2 would have been unimaginable" and that Brand's recent escapade is in line with the channel's obsession with capturing the "yoof" of today.

Terence Blacker in the Independent has penned the most thought-inducing comment ("When did bullying become acceptable?"), pointing out that the current endemic obsession with celebrity culture largely feeds on bullying, cruelty, humiliation and preying on the weak. "Celebrity-on-celebrity bullying is the sport of the moment", he said, "[...] On a recent BBC radio show, two alpha males of the show-business jungle, Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross, turned with giggling aggression on an older member of the celebrity pack, the 78-year-old actor Andrew Sachs". Blacker also recalls George Lamb's vicious treatment of Ray Davies on a recent BBC radio programme. "That is how it goes in the jungle. The young and strong urinate on those who refuse to play the game their way. The more distinguished the victim's past, the greater the rage and glee with which they are humiliated".


Lucy said...

The idiots have now been suspended by the bbc

Carlito's Way said...

A line needed drawing. About time. Brand wasn't new to crap like that

Anonymous said...

Brand quit!!!!Or did he? Good riddance. At least my money won't go to him anymore.Did you see how meek he was on his last Proper apology? Brat. Prick.