Wednesday 16th December
There is a line in a Leonard Cohen song, which at the time I didn’t really understand “The rich have got their channels in the bedrooms of the poor.” It was on the Album “The Future”, one of his best and, for Leonard, a slightly angry record. Well, what happens in America sure as hell will come here eventually. I hardly ever watch day-time TV, and if I do, ITV would be a last resort, but sometimes a sort of boredom comes over one and you may find yourself drifting through the channels, remote lazily pointed at the tv and your finger poised over the +channel button. And I am amazed but hardly surprised at what is on offer.
Quite a few years ago now I used to occasionally watch the Jerry Springer show where mostly stupid and poor Americans were confronted with cheating boyfriends, duplicitous husbands, sisters sleeping with their man etc, etc, etc. It was sort of fun, because after all these were dumbass Americans, and what else would you expect. Also Jerry, the host, was actually a nice man, and tended to wrap up his shows with some homily and a smile. It was all treated as some sort of a joke.
But now we have Jeremy Kyle here on ITV. At first I wanted to switch as quickly as possible to another channel, but purely in the interests of research I persevered. My God, what sad and pathetic people were on the show. The women tended to all be overweight and plastered with make-up, the men were bald and burly no-necks covered in tattoos. And it was truly awful. Lie detector tests on the suspected unfaithful, security guards holding back the belligerents etc, etc, etc. It was Jerry Springer but without the smiles, and the big question I was left with was “Why Would You Do That?” – not so much the infidelity, the lies, the cheating, the tattoos even – but why go on Television and expose your crass stupidity for the world to see. I can understand why “Celebrities” do it, but ordinary people – it is beyond me. It is actually the same for “The Apprentice”, why would you let yourself be ripped apart by these sharks? And it must come down to the pathetic horizons of most people’s lives that fame, even five minutes on Jeremy Kyle, could be the highlight of their sad little lives. So, now I understand Leonard’s lines. The rich, the TV producers etc; are exploiting the poor, especially their sexual secrets in a most appalling way, and the lambs are shoving each other out of the way to get into the slaughterhouse.