The media must be gutted now that Britain’s Got Talent is over. It’s gutter press gold. Even Gordon Brown has muscled in for some scraps. Just like last year, when he sent extremely widely known personal letters to all X-factor contestants, now he has made a statement congratulating the public on their decision to vote for Diversity and earmarking it as a harbinger of doom for the BNP. It’s a statement so obviously meant to assure the public that “Hey, I’m just like you guys!” that you can practically see his disingenuous smile looming out of the words on the page, like a horrifying magic eye.
Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if they erect a commemorative Britain’s Got Talent plaque on Fleet Street, or create a bank holiday to mark the ending of the show. It’s so rich in people to venerate, mock and taunt, it’s the literal equivalent of throwing fistfuls of filet mignon into the mouths of hungry wolves.
The danger with creating such a media feeding frenzy though – as any ex Big Brother housemate will tell you – is that the rising bloodlust can only be driven so far, before the frenzied wolves turn on the feeder. Susan Boyle is this year’s meat feeder; ridiculed and revered in equal measure – built up to hero status and now driven to check-in at The Priory.
This is the general pattern in which the media treat all pseudo celebs. But never before have we seen the sharp rise from obscurity and subsequent descent into oblivion happen in such a short space of time. Susan Boyle’s story of destruction at the hands of the media is so clear cut and absolute that it could be considered a parable, which, if I were Secretary of Education, would be circulated throughout primary schools to highlight the dangers of the press, fame, fortune and Simon Cowell.
By now, most of us know Boyle’s life story better than that of our own parents; she is a dumpy 48 year old woman, who lives alone with her cat in a small Scottish town and, just to make her seem even more pathetic and parochial . . . she has never been kissed. Boyle was sneered at by Cowell et al, when she first appeared on stage, only to silence them as it became apparent that it was possible for this unattractive, lonely woman, from a small Scottish town to have a nice voice. Much Amanda Holden gaping and Cowell/Morgan wide eyed smiling supplication later, she leaves the stage to rapturous applause and is then subjected to an avalanche of world wide media pontification, which has possibly damaged her irrevocably.
For me, the shock was not that a woman of Susan’s appearance could possess a nice singing voice, but the fact that half the world found that it was shocking. I’m amazed by such a profound level of attention, generated from nothing more than the simple incredulity that this woman is ugly and can sing. It beggars belief!
More unbelievable though are Gordon Brown’s ill advised interjections into these matters. He may think that his little speeches help engage him with the public, but it just strengthens my opinion that he is as stupid as they are. Any sane voter would want to elect the Prime Minister – the person who will run the country – on the basis of talent for the role, which should definitively eliminate all but a handful of people with the bounty of skills that make them apt for the job and, therefore, those people will be more than an average man. By commenting on a show where a panel of millionaires critically appraise the ludicrous displays of the country’s underclass and project it for the amusement of the rest of us, Brown shows himself to be both a fool and, more importantly, devoid of the acumen required for leadership.
It’s a recession, everything is fucked. The US has Barack Obama – a forthright, commanding President – and Britain too needs a decisive leader. A leader who, through courage in his convictions, can forge a road in one direction and stay with it – however that road may turn out. Brown, by governing to the meandering whims of the media and trends of the masses, is no better than a Britain’s Got Talent hopeful standing in front of us and hoping we’ll like him. Cracks are appearing in his performance though and when it does all break down he will find himself at the mercy of the media wolves, wondering where it all went wrong, just like any other pseudo celebrity.