Thursday, October 30, 2008

Brand Resigns, Tabloids Bitter They Cannot Now Use Headline "Russell Banned"

Although, I'm sure some of them still did.

Blimey, what a maelstrom. The thing that's surprised me about this whole Brand/Ross debacle is the sheer exponential expansion of the story. The beleaguered Beeb has a nice timeline illustrating this. I always find it amusing when the BBC has to report on itself, as it seems to have to do a lot a moment. You can see the newsreaders desperately trying to emphasise their impartiality, even though they might as well say "For more on this story, let's go live to our correspondent at the scene, standing on the other side of this studio wall," and speak to them through a cup on a piece of string. And currently, all the correspondents covering this have the same "WTF?!" expression on their faces, bewildered at the necessity to give half-hourly updates on the movements of two people who have managed to provoke a level of outrage usually reserved for if not paedophiles, then comedians who make jokes about paedophiles. Chris Morris must be suffused with a warm sense of nostalgia looking at all this.

OK, so. It did go a little bit far, and the original shriek from J-Ross of "He fucked your grandaughter!" and his subsequent analysis of that fucking was, in my humble opinion, childishly unfunny, and Brand's reactions were marginally amusing...if he did indeed make up that little song on the hoof, it was quite good, kinda, sorta, maybe. And it wasn't personally offensive towards Mr Sachs, just quite unpleasant for him to hear...and arguably, the privacy of the young lady in question was probably breached. Saying that, however, her behaviour since has been by far the least dignified. I saw her on TV, being interviewed in a Sun-branded interview in the Sun offices by a Sun reporter, claiming that she didn't want the whole affair to get any more publicity. I think it's safe to say she didn't realise the irony.

What's more worrying is the public reaction, and the reaction to the reaction. Who were the people that complained? Not people who actually listened to the show. Not people who would have ever listened to Russell Brand before or who have any particular allegiance to Andrew Sachs or satanic sluts of any type. But people who were, presumably, influenced by a section of the press which is more filled with misogyny and hate than anything in the most fevered dreams of the Brand/Ross Axis of Evil. You know what? Let 'em vent their spleen. Fine, it keeps them off the streets. But they should be ranting into an empty void of indifference. I mean, Gordon Brown? Gordon Brown?! Is it really something that needs a comment from the highest power in the land? And now the BBC has sacrificed another lamb in the shape of the controller of Radio 2, and suspended J-Ross for three months, punching, one assumes, an enormous hole in their pre-Christmas scheduling. And all for the baying mob. I fear for what this means for Have I Got News For You, Mock The Week, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, The News Quiz...any other show that regularly broadcasts material that could be construed as much more offensive than this minor lapse (but helpfully is a great deal funnier).

Ah, argh, oh. I don't know what to think. My opinion has flip-flopped so much in the last few days that I'm currently rotating at approximately 33.3 rpm. I think, on balance, basically, what he said.

Note, just as it's on TV right now: PLEASE CAN EVERYONE STOP USING ONE DAY LIKE THIS BY ELBOW FOR EPIC TRAILERS (current offender - BBC drama preview) YOU ARE RENDERING IT COMPLETELY MEANINGLESS! Enough shouting. Thanks.

No comments: