Are you watching Big Brother?

Why?  (are you watching BB… it’s rubbish)

I made a mistake today… but then I’m in Dublin and staying in a hotel, so I was a bit bored.

Yes, I watched 10 minutes of Big Brother.

I’m so sorry, I couldn’t help it.  It just sort of happened.  I’d been watching Gaelic Football (and, I have to say I was watching it with Gaelic commentary: it seemed to make an awful lot more sense than when I watched it in English) and just flicked over the channels when the game finished.

I looked down and when I looked up, there it was.  Big Brother.  And I didn’t turn it over.

This isn’t my first BB experience; I watched the first series eleven years ago.  But I haven’t seen one second of it since.  I seem to remember that the first series was full of characters that were vaguely normal… just ordinary people who taking part in some kind of entertaining programme dressed up as a social experiment.

As far as I can tell, this year the Housemates (as I now know they’re called) seem to be a bunch of semi retarded delinquents, chavs, eejits and numpties that would either be in the Big Brother House or prison (or, more likely, a juvenile detention centre).

Of course, this is entirely deliberate on the part of the show’s producers… throw some extreme characters together and create conflict that doesn’t really exist.  Apparently Aaron has upset everyone else in the house, except Maisie but they’re all prepared to forgive him, but he doesn’t want to be around them… and he just thinks Tom is just a complete…

You see what I mean?

The issue I have with it is that it would be much more interesting (and I’m prepared to admit it would just be interesting to me) if you put normal people in the house and created subtlety in the conflict, rather than the sledgehammer approach that has actually been taken.  Then we might learn something useful that we can integrate into our own lives.

And then I remembered the origin of the term: Big Brother.  The sinister book by George Orwell, 1984, (so named because it was written in 1948) was the favourite piece of work I ever did at school… I studied for my ‘O’ level English Literature.

Big Brother was the omnipresent being who dominated the fictional society of 1984 and was, I suspect, a construct by The Party to keep people living in fear.  The whole book was a searing indictment of the pain that society can inflict on its own members when the few dominate the many…

So, not so different from the current series showing on Channel 5.

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